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Feb 08, 2019
The queue surprised everyone, it was long and it was early.
While the sun still shone with full summer force, it snaked around the corner, through the back half of the venue and out the other side. It didn't take long for every square metre of the Park House's giant outdoor space to fill with bodies.The crowd was a balanced mix, everyone from groms, to dads, to mums, to Mick Fanning. People fondled blacked out surfboards boards, they gawked and raised their phones. A much-welcomed mist fell gently onto sweaty skin, while ice cold Balters were dispersed courtesy of Mr Fanning.
After a few sound-related mishaps, Ronnie Blakey was on stage with mic in hand and 1200 heads facing his direction. Ron explained the concept, dropped a handful of funnies and introduced the shapers before a button was pushed and Stab In The Dark with Mick Fanning was underway.
When the film had wrapped, the finalist shapers were summoned to the stage, being winner, Britt Merrick of Channel Islands (his interview, here) and Axel Lorentz of Pukas. Mick took the microphone, declaring his affection for Britt's submission, and reiterating his unexpected appreciation for the Pukas runner-up. He was candid and admirably unguarded, perhaps well lubricated.
A brief champagne shower ensued before Rip Curl revealed Mick's fresh decade-long contract.More cheering, more handshakes, more Balter.
Thursday opened with hazy eyes and sore craniums.