10 months ago my wife Jemma and I Welcomed our new little friend to the
world. A beautiful girl named Zara Rose Hall. Besides less sleep My life
hasn’t changed too much since,It is still awesomely fun and I still enjoy
traveling and competing as much as ever. The only difference is I feel I now
have a responsibility to give my daughter an awesome life too.
One week out from leaving for An event i would usually be sifting through
boards to make the perfect quiver for the coming event. Instead of thinking
what board would work best on the clean walls of lowers, I was googling all
the ins and outs of Disney land. What rides to go on first,when’s the best
time to go and whats overrated. The parenting manual says that Disney land
is the pinnacle of awesome for a kid. And there is no fine print saying they
have to be at age to remember it. We took Zara to an aquarium in portugal
when she was 2 months old and we thought she loved it. She probably couldn’t
see 3 inches in front of her at that age. We were just new parents excited
to show our daughter everything. Well nothing has changed! We are well aware
of the fact that she won’t remember a thing about Disney land at the age of
ten months but we still going To take her there and buy her Minnie mouse
ears and believe she is having the best day of her life.
We had 8 days in the states before i flew out for brazil and The plan was to
wait until I had a day off from the contest or until I lost in the comp then
hit Disney land like full blown tourist. Packed lunch and all! My flight to
brazil was the morning after the last Day of the waiting period Which Lead
Jemma to ask ‘what if You make it to the last day?’. Maybe she was more
positive than I was or she was just really worried about missing disney
land. my answer was just ‘well if I’m still going on Saturday arvo we can
buy Disney land’. I should have either been more confident in myself or
done some research on what disneyland is worth before sayings stupid things
Arriving in lax is always exciting just because it’s America. Everything is
bigger,louder,faster. Bigger cars,meals,roads,boobs. Louder
machines,people,outfits. And life in general is just faster in the USA. I
feel like I am just keeping up with the pace when I spend a week in the
american fast life.
3 hours of queuing for customs, immagtation , car hire and Starbucks later
we hit the 50 lane hyway of the 405 heading for San Clemente with a
jetlagged child in the back.San Clemente is the coolest town I have been to
in america. I’m not sure if it’s because the Gudauskas boys live there or if
it’s because I have only really ever been to Huntington. Either way I
honestly love San Clemente and the local surf community feel. Great
restaurants and cool people. There are little side streets that I didn’t
know existed until this year that are filled with perfectly maintained
gardens and beautiful holiday houses and units. Cazador lane was where we
found a cool little unit for rent for the week for my little family and my
best mate Adrian Buchan. Ace and I have been surfing and traveling together
for years and have grown to be a perfect little team when it comes to
contests. The past couple of years I have worked with him at some events
it’s shown that simply two heads is better than one. This year at the gold
coast wct Ace took down some tough names and we really put it down to good
preparation and heat strategy mixed with confidence in your ability.So this
week we were basically coaching each other through round after round. We had
a few tactics that were faultless and we both grew more confident each day.
As the draw got harder the team got stronger.
It’s Friday morning and we are back on the poison oak lined track down to
lowers. 4 boards, 2 wetsuits,1 wife,and pram filled with 1 baby and
everything you need for a day at the beach with a tiny human. By now I was
getting jealous of Zara kicked back in her mountain buggy while my legs were
burning and pits sweating going up and down the track each day. As we cross
the railway tracks and see the ocean Ace and I go straight to work talking
tactics and assessing conditions while Jemma did her job of entertaining
Zara so we could focus. Tuesday – Friday we had the same routine so we all
knew our roles that would make the team work at its peak. We were like a
well oiled machine going through the paces each day. We made our way back up
the trestles track Friday afternoon still contenders for a railway spike.
For me its a small goal to be still in the event on the last day because you
have surfed a few heats,found your groove and can see the finish line. Your
in your routine,you know whats working so the final day for is all about
staying focused and finishing the job. Ace and I were on the opposite sides
of the draw and were both dreaming of that final together like you pictured
as grommets. We had coached each other through heats all week but today was
every man for them self due to lack of time between heats.
Jeremy Flores was surfing so sharp all week so beating him in the first heat
of the day was just the confidence builder I needed. Post heat I wondered
down the beach to chill for half hour with jemma and zara and watch Ace take
down Patty Gudang in a close one. Pat was ripping all event so it was sad to
see him lose although I was forced to root for my team mate. The dream final
was looking so close but Disneyland was getting further away.
I’m pretty sure no one in world would have picked me to beat Jon Jon in the
semi and I don’t blame them. He’s a super freak and trestles is a wave that
allows super freaks to do things that no one can fathom. I had become so
confident in my plan through the whole event that I strangely felt
had a good chance. A slow start to the heat and The fact he fell off his
first 3 waves helped my strategy perfectly. He eventually pulled off one of
his insane airs and it became a scrap for a second score. He found the 2.9
he was after and I was sitting there out the back with 2 mins remaining
knowing I needed a small score to keep the dream alive. My little Irish
grandad always says to me when I’m heading away for an event ‘ I will send
you a wave’ , then waves his hand. Good old Irish humor! So as I always do
when I need a wave I ask grandad to send me that wave. A little bump popped
up and gave me my chance to make my first final in a prime event. To add to
the pressure ace was in the lineup right next to me when I paddled into the
wave because he was in the next heat. I knew if I got through it would give
him extra incentive to win his semi. The little left stoop up just enough to
let me get a few little turns in and just get the score I needed. Thanks
grandad but Sorry Zara but no Disney land this trip.
All I wished for now was for ace to combo Gabriel to make our team
officially unbeatable for the week. Unfortunately Gabriel is another super
freak and did 10 airs on his first wave and got 10 to put a dent in our
hopes. He then backed it up with a 9.8 to crush the dream all together. I
didn’t know if I was more disappointed that gabe beat ace or the fact I had
to try and beat that kind of surfing in the final. I personally thought he
got 2 tens in that semi. A I knew gabe would post big scores in the final as
he did every heat so my only shot was to be on A+ waves and surf them at my
best. Unfortunately the final didn’t go to plan at all. Except the part of
him getting big scores. I couldn’t find any good rights and he tore the
lefts to pieces. Gabriel was the best surfer all week by far and truly
deserved the win so congratulations to him. He showed he is not only
naturally talented, he is determined and smart in his approach to heats.
Signs of a world title contender!
As we did our last walk up the trestles track for 2012 ace and I agreed it
was a bloody good week for the team. Only one person beat us this week and
the surfing he was doing deserved to win.
We earn’t ourselves a night at the Roosevelt hotel in hollywood to sip
coronas and cocktails while Zara was being babysat.
Luckily Zara won’t remember me saying I would buy her Disneyland if I made
it to the last day because I checked and it’s worth 54 billion dollars. My
silver railway spike is awesome but not that awesome! Maybe Gabriel and his
gold spike can buy it for us.