Conner and I started our WSL campaign this year in Australia for the two 6,000 events. Both the events were held in pretty much standard WQS conditions… a shitty beach break. After losing out in the second round of both events, Conner stormed through our rental house saying he was going to quit doing contest. I knew Conner wasn’t having the best time groveling at the events, but I never really thought I would hear him say that he was going to quit. Ryan and I were shocked, and basically told him to get his head out of his ass, get fired up, and take his very deserving spot on tour.
I guess our pep talk worked because Conner started slowly chipping away at his dream. Throughout the year he had a couple of 5ths and 9ths. Then, Conner got a 3rd at a 6,000 event in brazil which really made qualifying in striking range. At the last event of the Brazil leg, Conner met with Keanu Asing in the round before the quarters. We kinda figured if he beat Keanu, he would be sitting within the top 10 headed to Hawaii in a somewhat comfortable situation. HE LOST.
I remember being really bummed for him just after his heat, and then a funny idea popped into my head and I whipped out my phone and sent him a text saying, “I know you wanted to make that heat and get in that top 10, but you know what, you don’t want to qualify in Brazil while you are by yourself… You want to qualify at the last event (Sunset) in front of all your friends and family to make it extra special.”
Then Haleiwa came along and he had an unlucky heat in the round of 32… SHIT. Even after that loss though, deep down I always knew it was going to come down to Sunset.
Starting the event Conner needed a 25th place to crack into the top ten, but due to the other surfers behind him nipping at his heals we pretty much figured he had to at least be in the quarter finals to solidify his position.
Every single heat he surfed wasn’t necessarily pretty, but he got them done with confidence. Right before his quarterfinal heat (which was the heat he had to make to be on tour) we were walking down and I looked at him and asked, “Hey remember when you wanted to quit earlier this year? It’s pretty funny how that works huh… seeing that now you’re about to qualify and make all your dreams come true.”
Conner looked at me almost caught off guard, and then looked at me, smiled, and then said, “Haha ya… I guess that worked out didn’t it.”
He then paddled out, kicked ass, and fulfilled his dream that he had since being about 11 years old. The whole event I was lucky enough to be his board caddy and watch the whole experience unfold in the front row. After his heat we laughed and smiled a lot, cried a little, and then got ready to celebrate.
Congratulations Conner… Everybody is really proud of you, but I get to claim that I’m the most proud !!!
Oh ya… and I’ll see you on that tour in a few years.