Or maybe I’m just getting a little excited. Sure, their duals haven’t decided World Titles (yet), but take a look at their exchanges in recent times.
The six-time World Champion Brazilian drew first blood last year at the Arica Chilean Challenge, beating Winny in the final with some suicidal rolls off El Gringo’s deadly end section. But the Aussie got his revenge in May of this year at the same event, taking the win over Tamega in the dying seconds of the final, courtesy of a big invert, a spin in the pocket and a close-out roll. Winny then rubbed salt into GT’s wounds and pipped him again in the final in Brazil a few weeks later. The Fever looked unbeatable.
The battle in Brazil.
Fast forward to last week and Winny’s still on top after making the semi-finals in Mexico but his lead in the rankings doesn’t look as commanding as it did a few months ago. And guess who’s now sitting in second? Yes, Tamega hit back in the land of Coronas and sombreros, and beat his new nemesis/arch-rival/mortal enemy in an engaging semi-final. And while he didn’t go on to win the event it gave him a healthy boost in the rankings and set up a mouth-watering finish to the title race.
Winny at Arica. Photo // IBA/Spex
We checked in with Dave Winchester to see if there’d been any fireworks in the water, post heat fisticuffs, or heated verbal stoushes – anything to give us a juicy gossip mag-style scoop. Turns out there has been none of that stuff, just tons of respect.
“Over the years GT would have beaten me way more times,” Winny said.
“I first felt the wrath of him when I was 19 and probably didn't beat him until I was about 24 or something. But in the last four years or so it would be pretty damn close, I may just have him I reckon.”
Tamega in Mex. Photo // IBA/Ray Collins
But surely there have been some tense moments in the water, I asked, prodding Winny for some juice.
“He is stone cold, which I don't mind. We are out there to win and I don't really want to chat with him out there. It's different with really close mates, we always ask each other what the last wave was like. Heats with him are good, just different and serious.”
I then asked Winny about his game face, and his tactics in heats against Tamega.
“Personally I don't change too much I just want to beat everyone, except you have to stay on your game for those last five seconds, he’s always one to find that wave then and he never gives up.”
My goal of getting some scandal for my story slipping, I asked the blonde-locked Australian about his dealings with GT out of the water, in the hope there’d been some nasty UFC-style bouts or arm-wrestles in the competitors area post-heat.
“I don't see too much of him around the contests, every now and then we bump into each other. It's not that we try to avoid each other, we’re just on different time schedules. GT is a legend and I get on with him like a house on fire. I love seeing him because he is such a funny guy and has a great sense of humour. Last year we stayed with him in Reunion Island and loved his company making us laugh all the time. He is good times.”
Huh. Not the scoop I was after, but interesting insight nonetheless. I sent an email to Tamega to get his responses too, but he hasn’t replied as yet. Perhaps he’s at home sticking pins in a Winny-shaped voodoo doll or throwing darts at a board shaped like the Aussie superstar? Or not.
Either way the fight for the World Title is heating up, and we’re itching to see the next heat in which the two powerhouses face off.
Who do you think will bring home the title?