Who’s Now/Who’s Next: Ten Surfers To Watch In 2011

Mitch Crews. Photo: O'Brien

Mitch Crews. Photo: O'Brien

Not Just Cruising: Mitch Crews

At the 2010 U.S. Open, Pat O’Connell asked me, “Have you seen this kid Mitch Crews surf? He’s so f—king gnarly.”

I replied, “Not yet. Is he a Mexican guy?” I was met with a puzzled look. I thought his name was Mitch “Cruz.” I thought he was from Mexico—he’s not, he’s from the Gold Coast of Australia. After seeing just a few waves that day, I knew he needed to be on this year’s Now/Next list.

mitch-portrait

More than just cruising for Mitch.

A few months later we invited Mitch down to the TransWorld offices to meet him for a quick morning surf, shoot some photos, and just shoot the shit with him. When you set up these awkward “pro surfer/magazine guy” meetings, you never know what you’re gonna get. Sometimes the surfer is stuck up and super butt-hurt that they have to waste their precious time doing “work” with some magazine dude they don’t even know. Other times the surfer turns out to be gracious, down to Earth, and basically an instabro—that’s what Mitch Crews turned out to be. The second we met up with him, he was all smiles, jokes. I immediately thought, “Wow, this kid is really nice, he must not be that good at surfing.” Then we paddled out and he put on a ridiculous shred clinic, despite the two-foot, swampy surf.

Mitch grew up in a hidden little corner of the Gold Coast called Currumbin, just a few minutes from surf central, Coolangatta. He’s blazing a path to greatness using an interesting mix of formulas: part Dion Agius (video parts, airs photos), and part Mick Fanning (training, contest winning, focus). “Mate,” Mitch said with a huge grin, “I’m having the time of my life. I just spent a month in Bali with my best mates, I’ve been living in Newport Beach for two months, and I’m going to live in Hawaii for two months next.”

His genuine stoke for the position he’s in is refreshing in a time when a lot of top prospects are spoiled brats. Cool guy or not, it’s never easy to say if a guy can make the transition from winning pro juniors to winning WCTs . Mitch has a shot, he’s a stocky power surfer with a deep bag of tricks and a good head on his shoulders, what we can’t say is what his future holds—that’s up to him.—Chris Coté


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