A Year to Remember
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’.