No, not the rookies.
Not Dantas, not Asing, Ferreira, Banting or Christie, as such. While they are to varying degrees, kind of exciting prospects, they are unlikely to represent a keep-you-awake-at-night, once in a generational, paradigm shift of a rookie intake.
Rather, the new meat of note manifests simply as different dudes being in the Quarters.
Up until probably last year, it had felt a bit like Kelly Joel Mick Taj plus token others had assembled for the Quarters ever since shortly after Tom Blake first put a fin on the surfboard.
Nothing wrong with that, they were the best surfers after all, but it had started to have the plodding, through-the-motions air of a middle aged Englishman making love to his wife of twenty years. Reliable, dutiful, dependable… but getting a bit… samey.
I ask you this: What do Medina, John John, Julian Wilson, Kolohe, Nat Young, Toledo, even stalwart heavyweights Jordy and Michel have in common? None of them saw Four Weddings And A Funeral at the the cinema when it first came out. That’s because they are all under 30.
New(er) meat in the Quarters is the role play and it is the leather. It might even be the horsehair buttplug and the hiding in the wardrobe, strangling yourself and knocking one out watching the pizza delivery guy get busy with the missus.
It’s the spark this relationship needs, baby.
And is surely getting!