The Pipe Masters will be Travis’ last hoorah.
“I’m almost definitely not going to requalify [for the WCT] at the end of this year and I felt like it’s time for a change,” Travis told the ASP. “As much as I love doing it, I’m not ready to go back on the Qualification Series (QS) and I needed some time at home, in one spot, to be with my wife more. It just feels like it’s time for a change. I feel like I’m surfing good enough to do the QS and requalify, but I’ve done that over and over and this is something different.”
This answers a question that has been swimming around Zag’s head for the past few weeks. With Travis sitting twelve spots below the cut-off at 32nd on the Dream Tour, requalification looks unlikely. So we started wondering whether he was going to call it a day after 10 solid years on the CT, or if he’d keep earning points and dollars on the QS – because his surfing hasn’t dropped a gear.
It’s his motivation, however, that is no longer there.
“It’s been up in the air for the last two years. I’ve been talking about it with my wife, especially, and my family.” Travis continued. “It started coming to me when I did win and I wasn’t that stoked and when I did lose I wasn’t that bummed. That’s when you know that something’s not right. You should be a bit bummed – at least for a day or two and then you get over it. But I wasn’t even getting bummed when I lost. I was like, ‘Oh, whatever, I’ll play golf.’ When that started happening, we were having discussions.”
Travis has always been a tenacious competitor. Volcom Fiji Pro 2013.
His competitive fire is what helped Travis make such an impression on tour, and with that doused the Durban local feels that someone else should be filling his spot on tour instead.
“A huge moment for me was when I watched another competitor make the Semifinals in Portugal, in a Prime. And when I saw his reaction, he started crying in the water, for making the Semis. And I thought, ‘You know what. It’s guys like that who should be on Tour, not a guy like me. Not a guy like me who’s been doing it forever who isn’t stoked to make heats anymore.’ That was another turning point for me.”
Shakas! Thanks for the good times…
It’s going to be a bummer not seeing Travis rising to the challenge and throwing spanners in the workings of a world title race, like he did so often during his decade on tour. But at least we’ll have these memories*:
2002 – Travis wins the ISA World Games Open Mens title, and team Gold.
2005 – Travis defeats Kelly Slater at the Nova Shin Festival in Brazil, which gave Andy Irons a shot at taking the title race to Pipe. AI wasn’t able to capitilize and Kelly still clinched the title in Brazil, but for a moment there…
2011 – Travis charges to the semi-finals of the Billabong Pro Tahiti
2012 – Travis beats rankings leader Joel Parkinson at the O’Neill Coldwater Classic in Santa Cruz and claims third place. This ensured the title would be decided at Pipe.
2014 – Travis beats Gabriel Medina in front of his home crowd at the Billabong Rio Pro.
* We’ve got a bucketload more; like watching Travis shred the Dairy bowl as a grommet, and countless blitzing performances at firing New Pier.