You know those songs that everyone’s forgotten about, songs like “She’s the Girl All the Bad Boys Want’ or ‘Stacey’s Mom’s Got it Going On’ or ‘All the Small Things’ by Blink 182? Those songs you secretly used to listen to when you were a teenie bopper. When your face was riddled with acne and you used to marsh around in your room hoping nobody would catch you in your sin. Well, those are the songs that blare away in PE. Loud and proud baby. Unashamed! But as high-school musical proceeded on the beach, Led Zeppelin took centre stage out the back, with the girls playing dirty timeless rock n’ roll in the lineup! They went ham, big turns, all grit. Pop music in the ears, rock n’ roll for the eyes. Here’s who we took a shining to on day one of competition.
All images: The ‘Hawkman’ Ian Thurtell
In heat 1 of round 2, we were introduced to Isabelle Nichols. And what an introduction it was! As you may or may not know, the Pipeline is a tricky old boy. Dealing with Pipeline is like trying to figure out the Joker from Batman. What’s he going to do? Why is he going to do it? Truth is, nobody knows the Joker’s motives, he’s a law unto himself. Isabelle dealt with the Joker just fine, like a man in a bat suit and a dope ass car. The second wave of the heat and Isabelle laid down the law. Excellent surfing. Showing the lip no mercy. The judges dropped her an 8.33. Like an ignorant kook, I was like, “WHO IS THIS?”, as Gigs the commentator began to educate us; beat Steph Gilmore and Paige Hareb at the opening event of the WSL season as a wildcard and made two QS 6000 finals. Boom. Here’s a name to watch out for: Isabelle Nicols.
Cool, calm and collected, Bianca barely broke a sweat in her round 2 heat. On the beach, she looked focused, and in the water that focus didn’t break. A handful of waves came through and Bianca found herself the best one. Allowing the riff-raff to float underneath her to be taken by her competitors. Her surfing refined and professional, her timing perfect. The judges quickly awarded her a 7.00. As the other girls panicked around her, finding small waves and dropping small scores, Bianca waited for the good ones. As the heat drew to a close, another flurry of waves came through and Bianca again chose the best one. And again she displayed perfect timing, professional surfing, with the judges awarding her a 7.17 and the heat win. If only we could all make things look so simple, easy and uncomplicated.
Holly Wawn wasn’t one of the highest scoring surfers of the event, in fact, she didn’t even win her heat (she came second), but her style highly impressed us. Last year Holly Wawn made it all the way to the semifinals, this year she’s looking to go one better. Holly surfs solid and smooth hints of Wade Carmichael… and we dig it. Holly surfed a smart heat, never looking too perturbed. She dropped a 6.50 in her opening ride and backed it up with a 5.00 which saw her comfortably through to the next round. We’re excited to see what Holly Brings to the table as she commences through the draw.
Zoe Steyn’s heat started with a flurry of waves, every surfer procuring a piece of the pie. Sara Wakita enjoyed three massive down carves and a chunky closeout bash for a 7.50, Anali Gomez of Peru; two huge backhand blasts for a 9.00 and Minor Kawai dropped a respectable 6.33. Zoe? Zoe put up a measly 2.67. She looked out of sorts; her timing, off, like a Diesel engine that needed heating. A couple more small scores and Zoe Steyn found herself in dire straights. But like an old diesel engine, all you need do is wait for that thing to heat up and you can ride on forever. As Zoe sat out the back in a land of combination, hope waning, the Pipeline offered her a neatly wrapped early Christmas pressie. And Zoe went top to bottom on the thing. Deep bottom turns to powerful off-the-tops. It was a backhand surfing frenzy. Llewellyn (her coach) went berserk on the beach. But Zoe still needed a score. Into the last minute and Zoe stroked into her final opportunity, into the lip twice, two critical off-the-lips, the hooter sounded and Zoe through to the next round!
An excellent display of raw determination from Zoe Steyn. More than halfway through the heat with nothing to show for it and ending the heat with two solid scores. Like a diesel engine that never gives up.
The happy-go-lucky Ceara Knight. Perpetually stoked. Ceara has gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years, picking up a shiny new sticker for the nose of her board and becoming one of the best female surfers in the country. Heat 2 of round 2 and guess what! You guessed it; the waves were tricky! Either they were breaking far out the back, or even further out the back. The girls were like Hansel and Gretel lost in the woods sans pebbles to recover their path. But Ceara Knight and her coach Llewellyn had their goofy footer eyes on the lefts, which were standing up like the queen’s soldiers. And their strategy paid off. In a land of flat waves, Ceara found herself a bowly left and canned that thing like racer whips a racehorse (sorry horse lovers)! The judges awarded her a respectable 5.67 she backed her mid five with a 4.00 and found herself the heat win.