|ESPN.com: Surfing||[Print without images]|
Who is the fastest surfer on tour? That's easy. It's Mick Fanning. Well, they don't call him White Lightning for nothing, right? It looks like we're going to find out who actually reaches top speeds at this year's Quiksilver Gold Coast Pro presented by Land Rover.
Stopwatches are for gym class and radar guns are for MLB pitchers. And you'd have a hell of a time getting a timing gate to stay still in the line-up. This year, Quik is going to outfit surfers with a GPS device to determine who really is the fastest.
|When Mick Fanning can't get enough speed, he just ditches the board and legs it out.|
So, how's this thing going to work? Do you mount it on your board and have a woman with a British accent tell you when to accelerate and when to cut back? Do you have to hold a tracking device in your teeth?
Actually, you wear it in your rash guard. But that doesn't sound very conducive to surfing a heat.
"I was so surprised; I couldn't even feel it in my rashie," said Bede Durbidge, who tested the tiny device, which weighs less than 3 ounces, "It's going to be exciting to see who the fastest surfer on tour is."
Using a GPS device powered by VX Sports, the surfers will be "clocked" and the data gets relayed back to a computer. The surfers don't have to wear the device. It's totally optional.
"Bede (Durbidge) was clocked at 29.2 kph while doing a massive front side air," said Nigel Muscroft, Quiksilver and Roxy Events Manager, "The speeds at Snapper or Kirra should well exceed 35 kph."
I'm sure this will become something else for the surfers to compete over. For us Yanks, Durbidge hit about 18 mph. And it wouldn't be surprising if it also led to some good-natured debate over the metric system vs. the very stubborn standard measure. Most Americans have no idea how fast 30 kph is, until they rent a car in another country and get all jazzed when they hit 140 on the highway.
The highest speeds will be calculated and likely analyzed to death. But at the end of the event, the speed demon of the Quik Pro and the Roxy Pro will be awarded an extra $2,500.
|Mick's buddy Parko ain't no slowpoke either.|
"It's going to be great for the spectators to add that excitement factor," added Durbidge, "It'll blow people out how much work surfer's are doing in their heat and how fast their going through their bottom and top turns and in the air. It's going to be great for surfing."
I only wonder if the fellas at Surf Nano Products have heard the news yet.