Here comes Johnny
By TOM WOODS
I HAD heard a lot about Woolgoolga surfer John Craig, but it wasn't until this week that I actually sampled his exceptional surfing ability in quality waves.
His positing and timing blew me away.
I photographed him on three separate occasions this week and nearly every wave he took turned into a deep tube ride.
John Craig is a surfer with loads of natural talent.
There are awesome surfers around who have worked hard to be as good as they are and then there are the gifted, who also work hard but look smooth, flowing and can read a wave perfectly.
Guys like Kelly Slater and Shaun Cansdell are good examples, John comes from a similar mould.
His talent was evident at a young age.
By the time he was 16 he was backed by Billabong and was competing on the Pro Junior circuit with the likes of Dean Morrison and Mick Fanning.
Unlike these guys John turned his back on competing and just went surfing.
He moved around living in the prime surf spots on the Gold coast and Wollongong's Sandon Point.
Not long ago he returned to his Woolgoolga home to get among the empty waves and give himself a solid base to begin his comeback into professional surfing.
John is currently chasing a major sponsor but has already got some great support from many local companies such as Madness surfboards, Tango Juice bar, XS surf shop and Mullet hair.
Green stuff wax gives his boards plenty of traction and Sharkey tattoos at Bryon looks after his body art.
He is currently on the long flight to cold old England to compete in a 4 star WQS event.
Not exactly an ideal surf destination but plenty of competition points on offer for the successful few.
Following that, John's schedule over the coming months reads like a presenter from the Getaway program.
Before the end of the year he will be trekking to Portugal, Spain, The Canary Islands and then Hawaii in November.
By the year's end he's hoping to give himself a strong seeding so he can bypass the trial rounds and be able to compete in the six star events in the 2007 WQS season.
John's love of surfing, sense of humour and experience will no doubt see him enjoy the rise to professional surfing.
It was an all-Australian final in South Africa last week when Mick Fanning defeated Taj Burrow at Jefferys Bay.
The WCT event was held in average to good conditions but from the quarters through to the final proved to be all nailing biting contests.
Barely a point separated the winners from the losers in both semis and the final.
Taj Burrows finals' appearance lifted him to second position on the world ranking ahead of Andy Irons who bowed out in the early rounds and Mick Fanning moved himself inside the top ten, Kelly Slater remains in the number one position after finishing equal third in this event.
Well what a week of waves we have just had.
The swell has been on a constant flow. We have had south swells; north swells and a combo swell earlier in the week providing plenty of winter magic.
Wave heights are predicted to drop off over the weekend and give some tired paddling arms a rest, but another swell is looking likely from Tuesday onwards.
Please contact Tom on 66 564650 or through the website www.stimages.com.au with any surf related content.