ASP’s photo-journalist Kirstin Scholtz may be living her ultimate dream, but a job’s a job, and even the most amazing happenings in the most amazing locations can be blunted by familiarity. But then again, every now and then, something truly amazing happens. Kirstin signs in from Fitzroy Beach in Taranaki, New Zealand, on Friday April 16, 2010:
Today something quite astounding happened on Fitzroy Beach in Taranaki, New Zealand. Yes there was a surf event; yes there was a winner crowned but if like me you’ve been to a fair few of these surfboard-riding competitions, you would know that there was something far more significant about today’s proceedings than simply the sponsors handing the winner a cheque for US$15 000.
Firstly the ocean looked nothing like this when the first heat hit the water at 9.15am. Imagine gale force winds so strong that the beach resembled a raging river of black sea sand, kids being lifted off their feet by their own hand painted signs that turned into enormous sails and surfers lost at sea in what looked more like a blender at full throttle than a beach break lineup.
Then suddenly the wind stopped. Little by little it began to switch and conditions became cleaner and cleaner the closer we got to the final. By the time the two finalists Carissa Moore and Sally Fitzgibbons were standing before a traditional Haka performance by the local board riders club, Fitzroy beach looked a like a page out of glossy surf magazine as 4ft A left and right-handers reeled along the sandbar. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Despite some early controversy from local surfers who were against having a Women’s World Tour event in the town, there was an energy around this event that really was quite special. With ‘Dream Girls Are in Town’ posters all over the city, hundreds of spectators braving the wind, rain and icy temperatures to watch the girls in action each day and the local press plastering stories on front and back pages every day this week, you couldn’t have scripted a better end to this inaugural event.
The final showcased some of the best women’s surfing I’ve seen on tour, Carissa throwing down a pair of near perfect scores to take her second ever ASP World Tour victory over Sally. Standing on stage above a sea of starry eyed groms, and what seemed to be the entire population of New Plymouth, Carissa donated her entire winners cheque of US$15 000 to the Waitara Bar Board riders club!
BOOM! Just 17-years-old, with so much talent and an unprecedented generosity of spirit, today Carissa Moore made me proud to be part of women’s professional surfing…