Words: David âCrappyâ Campbell
As the weekend winds down the US Open machine is geting warmed up. The gears are oiled and there is fuel in the tank, but will the wheels come flying off this year and mayhem break out? We shall see. A slight rain today that is very uncommon for this time of the year. An Omen? Could be, although we donât really do omens around here. The waves seem a bit smaller; head-high sets with long walls and some racy sections.
Dodging the spitting raindrops with me is the recent trials winner for the Lowers WCT Hurley Pro event, Mitch Crews. He is here surfing in the Open as well and flying pretty high from his trials victory over the local kid, Ian Crane.
Surfing Life: So Mitch how are you doing? Congrats on scoring the wildcard to Lowers, anyone you donât want to draw?
Mitch Crews: Iâm not too worried about who I draw. Being the wildcard obviously I am going to draw someone gnarly, but dude I am just pumped that I get to put a rashie on and get to surf Lowers. Not really too fussed about that (who I draw), because Iâm just going to try and do the best I can. I have at least 60 minutes out at Lowers, with one or two guys, and am really pumped about performing on the world stage.
SL: Anyone that you want to draw up against?
MC: Itâd be cool to get Joel or Mick... you know, because we surf all the time back home together at Dâbah. Iâve surfed against Joel in Snapper Boardridersâ heats, and had some fun little practice heats against Mick.
SL: What you think of the show here in Huntington Beach, for the US Open?
MC: Its pretty crazy, real funny, kinda in a world of its own. Thereâs no other event like it in the world. Sometimes all the people overwhelm me, theyâre nuts, crazy, but good on them. Its good to see that people are down here attending a surfing event, even though they might not be watching or have a clue. Itâs just cool that they are down there and appreciating the event.
SL: There is a surf stadium!
MC: Yeah, there is a surf stadium. The event makes surfing evolve and get bigger. Itâs good for the brands advertising, and with Vans sponsoring the event this year itâs epic for them.
SL: Could you see yourself, later down the road, entering the surf stadium like how pro wrestlers do with an intro song and all that?
MC: Everyone gets introduced like a boxing ring (laughs).
SL: What about the babes?
MC: Yeah, I mean, California for an Australian, a young Australian, they seem to, ummm, really enjoy the accent for some strange reason but um yeah, I mean, huh... its crazy. (The modern professional surfer is quite circumspect about their nocturnal conquests, to the modern vicarious creepâs detriment â Ed)
SL: You know anything about the riots in 86?
MC: I did hear something about that, it was well before my time. That would have been pretty crazy, and if that was to happen in this day and age, it would be nuts with all the guns and everything.
SL: Tell me about the trials event?
MC: The trials were really good. Obviously, I didn't have high expectations, I woke up at 5am and I kinda just rocked up. I reckon I consider myself pretty good friends with everyone that was in the event, so it was really cool and pretty chilled, plus we got to surf with a new format.
SL: What was the new format?
MC: We surfed two heats at the beginning, so we got to surf twice, out of those two heats, they take your 3 highest scores and then they rank you from one to eight. Then the top eight go into the man-on-man heats, which are the start of the quarters. So that was really cool, and everyone was ripping, Ian Crane was surfing incredible. Yeah, it was really cool. I didn't think too much of it, I kinda just did what I did and ended up winning.
SL: I think, thatâs what you need to do, and with that kind of attitude you will be doing quite well in the future. Do you like this new format better?
MC: Nah... I mean, itâs cool and fun to try something different, but I am just so used to the basic heat format, so I think id like to stick to that. It was a fun change though.
SL: How did you feel after the win?
MC: Ian was surfing mental the whole event, I thought he was going to win, but luckily I got some waves in the end, and so I won. I was pumped, out the back, when I heard the horn, and realised I had won and that I was in the comp (the Hurley Pro, Lowers). Epic.
SL: You didn't realise that now you were going have to spend your Sunday talking to me. This is big. So what are your plans for the next week?
MC: Iâm just going to post up and hopefully get a big result here. Iâm at 24th in the ratings now so hopefully I can stay up in that 32 and qualify for the âCT next year. So thatâs my main goal
SL: How important is this comp?
MC: Itâs really important to me. There are five prime events left, and this one is probably the one I have a really good chance at getting a good result at. So if I can get a result here Iâll be over the moon.
SL: Alright, Mitch, thanks so much for taking the time for this interview and hope to see you around more. Looking forward to watching you at the US Open this week.
MC: No worries you have a good day, thank you.
After talking to Mitch I was quite impressed with his entire demeanour. The kidâs going places and the machine that is The US Open has not engulfed Mitch. Yet. What a clear head, itâs difficult out here for a clear head, I will tell you that. Glad its not fucking sunny today. Hopefully he gets the good result at the Open and more important that we get to see him on tour next year!
Tomorrow the menâs draw begins and what a fiery line up it is. Itâs a big day for a lot of folks and hopefully we will see some heartbreaking and intense battles. Until then, shaka bra.