2011 eleven

A Year to Re­mem­ber

New Zealand Surfing - - FRONT PAGE -

In years gone by, kiwi surfers that have bat­tled

the world tour have done so as in­di­vid­u­als. While they grav­i­tated to­ward and de­vel­oped great trav­el­ling com­pan­ions from other coun­tries, at times they were sim­ply go­ing it alone, fly­ing solo. Ratso did in the 80’s and Maz, while he had a few bro’s fol­low him to cer­tain events in the 90’s, mainly hit the road alone. Two years back Jay Quinn had rein­vented him­self for an­other World Tour crack, at the same time fel­low Kiwi’s Richard Christie and Billy Stair­mand were also hav­ing a dab­ble. One day, while throw­ing the rugby ball around on the beach at some event, they came to the con­clu­sion, why travel and stay sep­a­rately at all these events then spend all day hang­ing out with each other, when if they trav­elled as one, stayed as one, they could cut costs, have more fun, feed off each oth­ers en­ergy, and sup­port each other when times were tough. It was then that the ‘Suit­case Surfers’ were born. Three kiwi surfers all with the one ob­jec­tive to qual­ify for the World Tour. Ever since that mo­ment when it was de­cided three would be­come one, they have pushed each other, and gen­er­ated the best re­sults ever gained as a group of Ki­wis on the qual­i­fy­ing tour. With two fi­nal and four semi fi­nal plac­ing’s amongst them dur­ing 2011, they have once again had a year to re­mem­ber, with Jay and Ric com­ing very close to qual­i­fy­ing for the World Tour proper. Jay be­came a hus­band and then a dad miss­ing the fi­nal two events for the year in Hawaii to be present at the birth of his first son, still fin­ish­ing the year with a cred­itable po­si­tion of 41. Ric fin­ished 43rd and Billy 79th. Three ki­wis in the top 100 surfers in the world. Let’s hope with the form that their good mate is show­ing, Bobby Hansen will get the op­por­tu­nity to be rep­re­sent along­side them in 2012.

As ki­wis we were trans­fixed with this, four numbers all joined to­gether that spelled re­demp­tion and a chance to once again climb to the top of sport­ing supremacy. The All Blacks proved them­selves the leg­ends we all backed them to be and held aloft the Webb El­lis tro­phy; smiles and tears flowed through the length of the coun­try and over­seas amongst our ex­pats. Ear­lier in the year the coun­try was in mourn­ing af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing earthquake ripped through Christchurch, we all felt the loss and pain for those af­fected. But for one small mo­ment, when Sir Richie Mc­caw hoisted the tro­phy into the heav­ens, the coun­try came to­gether and 2011 will be writ­ten into the his­tory books. In other sport­ing suc­cess the War­riors marched into the grand fi­nal, the Break­ers won the Aus­tralian Bas­ket­ball League, our row­ers dom­i­nated as usual and many more Kiwi sport­ing suc­cesses went down, keep­ing our proud sport­ing na­tion up on the sum­mit. Our surfers rep­re­sented col­lec­tively at a level never seen be­fore with all our world tour surfers com­ing out with ca­reer best per­for­mances and a world ti­tle to boot. Iron­i­cally our great­est surfer ever, Maz Quinn, reached the mile­stone of be­ing sup­ported by his spon­sor for 20 years, while his fel­low team mem­ber and the worlds great­est surfer, Kelly Slater, won his 11th World Ti­tle. Our surf pumped for the start of the year with the best cy­clone sea­son in liv­ing mem­ory bring­ing in swells for months on end; new breaks were dis­cov­ered and surfed. At the same time many of our iconic surf breaks re­ceived govern­ment pro­tec­tion, to pre­serve them as we know them, for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions. All this and many more ses­sions, suc­cesses and come­backs. We fea­ture and high­light a few from the best of ‘Twenty Eleven’.

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