The morning is calm and slightly grey, while a subtle electricity flows through the air. Camera in hand, a salty mist touches my skin as people gather to watch their aquatic heroes splice and carve the perfectly formed waves in front of them. Today is finals day of the 2017 Hurley and Swatch Pro. Today we watch brilliance come to life in the sea before us.
Those following the WSL events know that the world title race is close, ruthless and ever-changing. Certain events can determine a surfer’s fate and switch the trajectory of their year. The Hurley and Swatch Pro can do, and did, just that, for so many. This year did not disappoint as giants were taken down and new faces were crowned king and queen. Filipe Toledo and Silvana Lima won the Hurley Pro and Swatch Pro, respectively, and could not have done it with any more style, strength and passion.
While every event ends with those coming away victorious, I am always impressed in surfing because of the respect in both success and defeat. Each wave is shown gratitude, not only for the ocean but also for each other, as priority is set and surfers are given the chance to show off their natural and practiced abilities to the crowds and their peers. After rounds are won and lost, hugs and handshakes are shared in the ocean as a sign of respect. Yes, there have been broken boards and anger released behind the scenes, but the sport of surfing is much bigger than an individual winning or losing a heat or an event. The sport is about loving the fluidity in motion that is sliding down the face of a wave and getting lost in the moment.
So, as I watch my favorite surfers effortlessly get lost in the wave, I am left with an impression unique to any other sport. Sitting with my camera in hand, the sun now shining on my face, I feel a connection to the moment. Watching the best of the best glide along the wave further evokes my love for the sport and allows me to share in the lifestyle that is surfing.
- Hurley Pro: 1) Filipe Toledo 2) Jordy Smith
- Swatch Pro: 1) Silvana Lima 2) Keely Andrew