The decider is upon us!
Above: Some recent Mystics action (from the Riptide 200 Hours period). Luke O’Connor on a fun one. Photo: Murray Mackenzie
Yes, friends, the fourth and final event of the inaugural ABA Aussie Tour gets underway on the South Coast, NSW tomorrow and we’re damn excited. Why, you ask? Well, the first three events have set us up for a delectable showdown, and the forecast for Mystics looks contestable too. Oh yeah, and we’ll have crowned an Aussie Champ come Sunday afternoon.
BIGWIGS: The Mystics Pro is pretty stacked with big names, after a lean couple of comps in the tour’s middle two comps (Knights and Mandurah), which means we’re really set for a show. Wrap your mits around this list – Dave Winchester, Sam Bennett, Cade Sharp, Michael Novy, Chase O’Leary, Davis Blackwell, Lewy Finnegan, George Humphreys, Dallas Singer, Matt Young, Jones Russell, Charlie Holt and James Nymeyer. That’s just some of the cream on the competitors’ list provided by the ABA, while Ben Player (recovering from a burst eardrum) and Tom Rigby (on location for a filming project) were both maybes. Pick a winner out that bunch, would ya?
DARK HORSES: Look, it really could be anyone, but if left-hand wedge experience counts for anything you’d have to put Newcastle’s James Nymeyer (and I suppose the big dog John Cruickshank) up there. Dallas too, but with his World Tour experience, etc. he’s hardly a “dark horse”. Then there’s of course the guys who live nearby, of which Mooty Young is probably one of the picks.
STARS ON THE RISE: Another South Coaster, who Riptide have liked the looks of for a fair while now, is Ivan Pulic, who didn’t quite fit the bigwigs category (yet), but surfs like one. We’d love to see him come out and take some big scalps. Other guys in that mould who are on the brink include the Gold Coast/North Coast NSW’s Elliot Butler and Elliot Williams. Then you’ve got Kauai’s supergrom Tanner McDaniel and Kingscliff’s answer Jarrah Hamlin who could both do damage (fingers crossed we get them in a heat together!?).
REVELATIONS: With the aforementioned lean round in the middle, where we didn’t see a huge amount of the sport’s biggest names on the competitors list, it’s meant other guys have stepped up to the plate – many of them young fellas who’ve really impressed with their comp surfing. Justin Vassallo (currently 5th on tour, NSW), Josh Keenan (6th, QLD), Jake Metcalfe (7th, WA) and Dane Woods (9th, NSW) may not be household names, but they’ve surfed themselves into the Top 10 of the world’s foremost domestic tour and that’s nothing to sneeze at. They could all potentially finish at the pointy end of the Mystics Pro.
THE FORECAST: We got a quick word from South Coast editor/writer/photographer/bodyboarder extraordinaire Russ Quinn on what the wedgy beachbreak might be doing this weekend and he had this to say, “Hey brother, I haven’t seen it today, but looking at the charts it will be clean with WSW winds all day and a small SSE swell, so maybe 2-3ft. Both days.” Moot Young similarly said, “It’ll only be small, but will be offshore and clean for both days, no bigger than 2-3ft. Still contestable tho for guys like Cramsie & Jake”.,You heard it here folks. A small-ish swell might play into the hands of Cramsie among the contenders, but stranger things have happened! Stay tuned to the ABA Tour Facebook page for updates throughout the event and of course riptidemag.com.au for all the wash-up from the event and the 2014 Aussie Champ crowning.