Champ launches exhibition as Cooly prepares for world’s best
Gold Coast World Surfing Legend Wayne 'Rabbit' Bartholomew will launch the Cooly Surfing Collection Exhibition at The Strand Shopping Centre, Coolangatta, Wednesday at 11am.
The one-month free surf art exhibition invoking the flavour of Cool-in-Gatta theme will run over March and April as surfing fans from all over the world hit Coolangatta for the Corona Open Gold Coast from March 26 to April 5.
The exhibition will feature Rabbit's world title trophies alongside club trophies from the Snapper Surfriders, and cover three generations of the Cooly kids featuring photographs and memorabilia of the surf capital of the world.
His sons, Jaggar and Keo, are very much part of the next generation of Cooly kids who surf on a daily basis with the local clubs Snapper Surfriders, Kirra Surfriders, and DBah boardriders.
And that's not counting all the other pros who have made Coolangatta their surfing base and the many recreational surfers that generate a healthy surfing economy.
The first World Tour event of the year, the Corona Pro will kick off on March 26.
There is a 11-day waiting period and the swell forecast is a bit too early to call, but the biggest worry for Snapper Rocks is the lack of sand on the takeoff after the TC Uesi on the second week of February swept away the sand.
Fortunately, Rabbit Bartholomew is on the Tweed Bypass Sand pumping committee and believes there is enough time for sand to be pumped back to the takeoff area behind the famous Snapper Rocks.
"I'm reasonably confident that the sand will be back in place in time for the World Tour opener," the 1978 World Champion said. He has been called in by World Surf League to help monitor the situation.
Bartholomew and the contest director and president of the Snapper Surfriders Club, Jay Phillips, will be making sure all options are on the table to make the best call for the World Tour competitors.
Everyone will be counting on Rabbit's famous Midas' touch and his direct hotline to wave-god Huey to produce sand and surf.
The other worry is of course the COVID-19 especially for international surfers travelling to Australia.
The World Surf League has had countless meetings to monitor the virus implications on a daily basis and are being prepared for whatever situation could develop.
Already World Qualifying events in Japan and Indonesia have been cancelled and Olympic surfing in Japan looks set to go ahead according to the IOC.
Surfline swell forecast website quoted Mick Fanning as saying: "I think you've got to be cautious, but you're never going to stop surfers trying to get waves."
"I actually just travelled home from Europe through Singapore the other day and the airports are all over it. Felt pretty safe."
Sally Fitzgibbons who will be competing at Snapper Rocks and is set to join Stephanie Gilmore to represent Australia at the July Olympics said on Surfline: "Coronavirus is the first serious virus since the Rio Olympics [zika], I think, and of concern to all frequent travellers around the world."
"At this stage, with the tour being in Australia where there have been minimal cases, we will be able to monitor the first few months and get a better idea of how it is going to impact the rest of the year.
"All I can do is keep training and concentrate on my job at hand."