GREAT MOMENTS IN SURFING
If pro surfers had any doubts that they had the best job in the world they were put to rest in Mexico in 2006. Rip Curl’s innovative WCT Search concept had already taken the tour to Reunion Island in 2005, but at a sand-bottom, right hand point in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico they really struck gold.
The set-up at Barra De La Cruz always had the potential to produce world-class waves but the tour’s arrival just happened to coincide with a perfect confluence of sand, wind and swell. Cue a triple barrel tea party with the world’s best gringos spending most of their time in the green room.
The pro surfing fraternity are sometimes reluctant to call perfection, lest they perform a crime against the credo of cool and seem too enthusiastic. However, at this event there was no shortage of superlatives tossed around. “These are the best waves I’ve ever surfed,” suggested Taj Burrow. “It’s a better wave than Snapper in my opinion,” commented Kelly Slater authoritatively. However, perhaps the best summation came from eventual event winner Andy Irons.
“What I saw over the last week was just mind-blowing,” stated Andy. “It was like Teahupoo on the top, into like first groin Kirra back in the day.”
Ironically (no pun intended) after an event defined by the tube, Irons lofted to victory with a giant, frontside slob grab. It was pure, punk-rock Andy Irons – demanding our attention with a ball-tearing riff when most were playing a classic tune. Meanwhile, in terms of waves at least, the event is remembered as arguably the best in ASP history.
Although there hasn’t been a Rip Curl Search contest since the 2011 San Francisco event (remember when Kelly was prematurely awarded with the world title), Rip Curl HQ suggest that the concept is far from dead and buried and may make a return to the WCT in the future. Let’s hope so, as there is little doubt that an annual mystery event adds another exciting dimension to the world tour.