What I'm seeing after Europe is a trend of the Usual Suspects. You look at the top five guys, and Julian's the only real new face up there. Kai Otton, too -- he's number 7. But all told, it's the usual suspects.

The top surfers at the moment are really hard to beat. The guys underneath need to work out how to do that. Mick, Kelly, Joel -- it feels like they've been on top forever. And they have, 'cause they know how to play the game at a high level. The rest of the crew needs to work that out. For me, there's the top five to the top 10, and then the rest are really floundering -- there are holes in their strategy and they don't play a tight enough game against the big boys. Kelly, Joel, Mick et al have just got it so dialed in. They paddle out and you watch it rise to the next level.

So I'm just going to call it the year of the Usual Suspects -- and I think next year is not looking any different.

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