It was really cool to arrive home to Stradbroke Island in Australia and find my family and friends had organised a party for me after winning in Brazil.
It was a great buzz and drove home the good feeling around securing my third WCT contest win and moving to No. 2 in the ratings behind Kelly ahead of Hawaii.
I’m a believer in celebrating your victories but you can never stop moving.
So my mind has also been fully focussed on the Pipe Masters and the Vans Triple Crown where I am defending both titles.
It’s given me a real focus for Hawaii.
Basically, Parko and/or Taj need to win at Pipe to overtake me in finishing second on the WCT for 2008. I’ll be stoked if I can hold the position as it will complete a solid season where I will have moved from No. 5 to 2 – providing real confidence for a shot at the world title in 2009.
We’re all dropping equal ninths in terms of our best results counting, so it’s going to be hard for people to make up points with just one event remaining.
But it’s a bonus to also have the Triple Crown to aim for as well as Pipe.
I was stoked to take out last year’s Triple Crown.
The respect the Hawaiians alone hold for the Crown makes you proud to have won it.
I guess it’s because the three events are often held in such diverse conditions at different North Shore breaks and it’s a real challenge to prove consistent across all of them.
The opening event is at Haleiwa which I reckon is an awesome wave. It gets huge (and a bit scary) there but it’s still a real high performance wave even when it’s big.
The contest at Sunset is different. When Sunset is on, it’s a full ocean wave with its own unique feeling to it. Longer boards are required and conquering Sunset is a feat in itself.
Then you finish off with the Wimbledon of surfing, the Pipe Masters.
It’s the premier event in the premier wave. To have your name on that trophy is just so awesome.
But I’m greedy….I want to see it there twice!
The Pipe Masters also has the best trophy in surfing. You get a handcrafted special board made by Gerry Lopez. I’ve had it on display in the Mt Woodgee shop window in Coolangatta for the past 10 months and it certainly draws attention.
For obvious reasons, Hawaii is also the ultimate proving ground for your equipment.
I’m taking over 10 boards. With the five I left over there from last year, I’ll have 15 in my quiver all up. The lengths range from 6′2 to 7′6 and the reality is you could surf your shortest board and longest one on the same day – the swell can rise that quickly, often within hours.
My boards went insane there last year so having the best of last year’s batch and a few new ones as well has me amped.
It really helps that my shaper from Mt Woodgee Wayne Mckewen has spent so many seasons in Hawaii himself. Wayne is so onto what is needed there and knows exactly what I need to surf well in those kinds of waves.
I’ve tried a few Hawaiian shapers’ boards in the past but Wayne’s just felt better – and that gives me plenty of confidence.
My wife Tarryn and I will be staying in a nice little studio at Sunset with a nice family we know who have two young boys who surf. We stayed there last year and I am really looking forward to getting back, seeing them and surfing some big hollow waves.