With the beginning of spring just around the corner, it seems everything in the surf universe is starting to heat up.
If you’ve been surfing recently, the warming Gulf of Mexico has likely been a very pleasant surprise. On Friday, the beach water temperature was hovering just over 70 degrees at the Pleasure Pier in Galveston, a far cry from the 45 degrees recorded there just a few short weeks ago.
And with the refreshing water comes the strong onshore flow that always brings us rideable waves along the Upper Texas Coast in the spring. After the less-than-ideal winter we’ve had in terms of waves and cold water, the change is welcome.
Here’s an update on other developments taking place in the surf, both locally and around the globe:
KRYGER, HOPKINS DOMINATE TGSA GALVESTON OPEN
Isabelle Kryger, the 12-year-old surfing phenom and one of the ripping Kryger triplets, swept the four female categories at last weekend’s Texas Gulf Surfing Association competition held at the 51st Street jetty in Galveston.
She captured first place in menehune girls, girls, junior women and the women’s divisions. Meanwhile, her brother, Connor, won the menehune boys division and dad, Matt Kryger, took second in the senior men’s division and first in the open standup paddleboard division.
Galveston local and longtime shredder Kris Hopkins won what are arguably the two most competitive divisions in the TGSA open shortboard and open longboard and also netted first in the master’s division, edging out his dad, Brett Hopkins. The senior Hopkins also took the win in senior longboard.
For complete results from the Galveston Open, see Page B4.
The next event on the TGSA schedule is set for March 31 in Port Aransas.
TEXAS SURF PARKS SET
FOR SPRING OPENINGS
NLand Surf Park in Austin, which closed last November for seasonal maintenance and repairs, is set to reopen March 10. For a park schedule, pricing and reservations, visit www.nlandsurfpark.com.
Meanwhile, BSR Surf Resort announced on its Facebook page this week that construction is continuing at its Waco location and that the wave park still plans to open this spring. No word on an exact date but stay tuned. You can learn more online at www.bsrcablepark.com/bsr-surf-ranch.
WORLD SURF LEAGUE SET
TO RESUME; FANNING TO RETIRE
Finally, on the global surf front, the World Surf League will start its World Championship Tour (WCT) on March 11 with the first stop on its 11-event schedule, the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in Australia.
Bigger news at the start of the season is the announcement this week that three-time world champ Mick Fanning plans to retire after the second event on this year’s schedule, the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach, which starts March 28.
Fanning, the Australian powerhouse who has spent more than 17 years on the world tour, is perhaps best known globally for fighting off a great white shark while surfing in the final of the world tour event at Jeffreys Bay in South Africa in 2015. That incident, which was captured on the WSL’s live feed for all the world to see, catapulted Fanning into the spotlight for months afterward.
For surf fans, Fanning is likely to be best remembered, however, for his relentless dedication to fitness and preparation that made him a fierce competitor year after year.
“I wasn’t the most talented surfer compared to other people,” Fanning told the WSL on how he’d like to best be remembered. “But I knew what I had to do to get myself to a performance level to compete against the best people in the world. Maybe that’s it, that I’ve always given it my all.”
Cheers on a great career, Mick!