22 March, 2017 22 March, 2017

The Chairman’s Report – Snapper

The Chairman, (he watches the WSL from the comfort of his armchair), Glen Drysdale, gives us the scoop on some noteworthy moments from the Quiksilver Pro on the Gold Coast…

Owen Wright embraces his little family – his girlfriend Kita Alexander and their son, Vali.

Jordy makes a statement, the return of The King and Redemption for The Avatar.

Don’t be fooled by the numbers. Jordy Smith’s 9th place at the 2017 Quicksilver Pro carries more credence than its numerical value. His round 5 loss to Kelly Slater showed that he’s more than up to the task of grinding out wins in unfavourable conditions instead of waiting for pet events (Bells, J Bay and Trestles) better suited to his 6’3” frame.

That loss to Slater was a bare knuckle scrap in conditions that restricts free flowing performance, it could have gone either way. In rugby they call it ‘winning ugly’, in surfing it’s called ‘losing in the onshore’. There was a spark, sharpness and urgency to his surfing that has more of a predatory ‘hungry for the title’ look to it than the ‘I’m just here to have fun’ vibe.
Jordy Smith, will contest for the World Title this year. You can bet on that just as much as the All Blacks running in 4 tries against the Springboks in the last 20 minutes.

A new, energetic Jordy Smith making the most of the small conditions.

“I’m too old to be in the club every night, I know that.” – Kelly Slater on whether he’s too old for the tour.
There’s no denying the longevity and dominance of his career, but even more startling is Slater’s ability to not only keep up with athletes 20 years his junior, but beat them at their own game.
He almost proved this again after losing to Gabriel Medina in the Quarter Finals with a lot of people calling the overscoring of Medina’s 9.17 a result of the overbearing influence of the Brazilian Storm affecting the judges’ ability to remain unbiased. Then there was the ‘interference’ on Slater’s opening wave
Slater will no doubt park this type of drama and focus on getting another ‘keeper result’ at Margaret River before heading to Bells where he will be confident of making a final.
The 45 year old body is certainly up to it with his Snapper performance looking razor sharp and there’s a very good chance that his mind is in even better condition.

The ageless, King Kelly.

Blood, sweat and tears. Over used and clichéd as it is, there seems no more fitting way to describe Owen Wright’s remarkable victory over Matt Wilkinson at the 2017 Quiksilver Pro.

After a brutal 2015 wipeout at Pipeline left him with severe concussion and bleeding on the brain, few expected Wright to return to competitive surfing, let alone win the opening event of the 2017 season. There wasn’t a dry eye on the beach, as the one they call ‘The Avatar’ was chaired up the beach by siblings Tyler and Mikey.

To witness the courage, conviction and resolute belief it took to not only get back into the water, but to win an event at the highest level, Owen Wright hasn’t just defied the odds, he’s combed them. If anyone deserves to be on top of the world (and the rankings) it’s him.

As for the sweat… well you’re always going to do plenty of that on the Goldie in March. Margaret River starts in a week, and then Bells soon after. Hot damn it’s good to be back!

Owen Wright looking better than ever after a tremendous obstacle.

It was a surprise to see Julian Wilson fall in the early rounds of competition.

Amongst the days of small swell and onshore, there were some golden days with line ups like this one.

Sebastian Ziets on one of the better days.

Matty Wilko finished second to Owen Wright.


  1. Wade
    22 March, 2017 at 1:09 pm · Reply

    Glen this is epic, well done & stoked to see it on the Zag site, you have kept us well entertained in the club house with these reports, well done mate thats epic!

  2. Byron
    22 March, 2017 at 1:32 pm · Reply

    Loving your work Chairman.Looking forward to you prying open the proverbial can of worms on the circus that is the WSL and giving it to us straight shotgun style-double barrelled!

  3. Mark
    22 March, 2017 at 1:41 pm · Reply

    Once again some insightful insight into the machine we call the world surf league… some considered it to be falling apart after the departure of Samsung and the broadcast sponsor but the only thing falling apart were the dreams of those competing against Owen Wright… he really looked on song in every heat, tack sharp surfing and flow with oodles of style… how he wraps that 6’3″ frame around some of those turns is amazing to watch… if Mark Richards was the wounded gull… beware the wounded albatross! Great piece meneer da chair…. please zag give this wordsmith a platform to voice his thoughts !

  4. Andrew
    22 March, 2017 at 2:24 pm · Reply

    Great report Gleno!! Going to be an interesting year for sure. Is Jordy finally going to make a legitimate run for that no1 jersey??Man I hope so! Keep the reports coming, great insight.

  5. Stu
    23 March, 2017 at 12:17 am · Reply

    GO the Bowser, great read there mate!

  6. Andrzej Kowalski
    23 March, 2017 at 4:14 am · Reply

    Where’s your journalistic integrity Drysdale? You are just telling your Saffa buddies what the want to hear. “predatory ‘hungry for the title’ …rubbish. How can you honestly think Jordy is a title contender. View from Oz, is that he was lucky to scape past Zeke Lau. Most were calling Zeke was ripped off. Problem is, Jordy is good backhand tube rider, just not a great backhand tube rider.
    He can’t beat Gabe or John John in left-hand tubes. He won’t beat Owen or Wilko in left hand tubes either. In fact, he can’t beat Mick or Joel or Kelly in those kind of waves, as well. Jordy will win one of his pet events this year. Either Trestles or J-Bay, but he won’t make the top five.

  7. Alex
    23 March, 2017 at 2:33 pm · Reply

    Nicely done; really appreciate this. As someone who always misses the competition live it’s great to have a concise wrap of the proceedings. And, as a Durban lad, I live in hope that a year will come when Jordy lights up the tour. Much in the same way I live in hope that a year in which The Sharks win Super Rugby will come along. Haha. I strongly suggest Jordy swap Taylor Swift for Slayer in terms of his musical predelicitions to get his adrenaline pumping at a more Kelly-conquering rate. Interesting how there’s always one surfer the judges perpetually overscore. Seems like this year it’s Medina’s turn to get the rub of the green…

  8. Trevor
    23 March, 2017 at 9:05 pm · Reply

    Perceptive insights from a trained eye Glen… enjoyed learning a bit about Owen’s injury fight back – inspiring stuff.
    I do believe Kelly and Jordy are both particularly hungry this year and with Owen back and the other top contenders,
    it should be a neck and neck title race.

  9. Momo
    23 March, 2017 at 11:04 pm · Reply

    Great read Glen! Keep it coming Mr Chairman! Owen’s story and path is awe inspiring! His 10 at the box in 2015 was amazingly sik and required big walnuts. Owen vs JJF at 8ft box, what a match up if this happens. After Italo’s air judges must start watching gymnastics and platform diving to quantify the moves.

    Glen, you gotta do a live stint at Jbay for Zag, will be kiff!

  10. Warwick Heny
    24 March, 2017 at 12:33 pm · Reply

    Hey Glen – like yor commentary ! I missed most of the live action but caught up yesterday. Does anyone else think Jordy was really unlucky to lose to Kelly in Rd 5 ? In the onshore mess ? They both ripped for those conditions, though I thought Jordy was a little underscored. I am sure Jordy will do well this year, and I for one can’t wait for the next event.

  11. Warwick Heny
    24 March, 2017 at 12:34 pm · Reply

    Hey Glen – like your commentary ! I missed most of the live action but caught up yesterday. Does anyone else think Jordy was really unlucky to lose to Kelly in Rd 5 ? In the onshore mess ? They both ripped for those conditions, though I thought Jordy was a little underscored. I am sure Jordy will do well this year, and I for one can’t wait for the next event.

  12. Glen Drysdale
    24 March, 2017 at 3:00 pm · Reply

    Thanks everybody for the feedback , it’s greatly appreciated!

  13. Glen Drysdale
    24 March, 2017 at 3:19 pm · Reply

    It’s great to be able to share insights and opinions on a subject we’re all passionate about.

    Competitive surfing will always be subjective in how its interpreted. Can a ride be ‘boxed’ into a numerical value when it comes to the many layers of how you strip it down?

    But therein lies the magic. More often than not, a performance is incomputable. No matter what number the panel throw back , you’ll have come up with your own, and damn em to hell if they disagree.

    One ride , that in my opinion, was undeniably a 10 was Italo’s 9.77 in Rd3. How do you not give a prfect score for 13 searing back hand turns and 2 tubes one 1 wave?!

    Looking forward to Margaret River!

  14. Jon
    10 April, 2017 at 9:40 pm · Reply

    Glen. This is magic. I always love reading your chairman reports.
    Stoked to see Owen back in the water and pushing hard after such an intense injury.
    Please keep the reports coming!!!

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