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Question: Who is the ugliest world champ?

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

John John is knocking at the door of greatness! A perfect moment to pause and ask...

So I’m looking at John John Florence here, your Jeep Leaderboard Leader, and wondering who is the ugliest surf champ in history? Like ever? And I’m not saying it IS John John but I’m also not saying it IS NOT (because he’s not a world champion yet but also, when the sun is shining a particular way he is………..ok).

Right?

We’ve had Kelly forever and he is a certified male model. Andy Irons was as handsome as Adonis. Mick Fanning is Adolf Hitler’s dream man and Joel Parkinson is too (if he dyed his remaining hairs blonde).

Gabi Medina, no matter what your racist heart says, is traditionally handsome and Adriano de Souza, while pug-like, is… ummmmm… serviceable? The Little Plumber? Looks aren’t his high water mark but also not his total undoing.

C.J. Hobgood is an all-American.

Sunny Garcia may be most handsome ever (except for Kelly Slater).

Derek Ho is basically carved from granite.

Tom Carroll is two feel tall but good looking, as evidenced by his brother Nick.

Shaun Tomson even puts Kelly to shame.

Barton Lynch? Is he the last ugly world champ (besides kind of Adriano)?

Mark Richards? Yeah. He was a surf star but ugly.

But the ugliest? Let’s wait for this season to end!

Quik Pro: Crybaby Gabi and JJF into Semis!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

Little Keanu Asing and Kolohe Andino too!

Day Five got an early start. First glance showed fun looking, but slightly gooey, peaks. One of those slightly frustrating sessions where you have a little wall, a bit of speed, but no lip to hit.

Fish territory. Maybe even, gasp, a longboard!

I’m checking the rule book, can’t find a rule banning longboards on the ‘CT. Won’t win your heat, obviously. But it’d be punk as fuck to paddle out into shit conditions as a protest.

Not that bad today. I’m just sayin’.

Beach scene was amusing. Culture appropriating Belgians wrapped in Hawaiian flags littering the beach.

I don’t care for Belgians. Terrible people. Barely slightly better than Italians in my ranking of terrible races.

Back in 2008 I had some Belgian kid at a hostel in Argentina go off on me about my country’s history of oppression. Fair enough, dork, but I’m trying to get up inside this Israeli broad. Neither the time nor place for this discussion.

And let’s not forget the fucking Congo.

Surf looked pretty good in the first heat. Solid back and forth between Stu and Keanu. Maybe his small size gave him the edge, maybe he’s just surfing a hair better than usual. Maybe it’s just the je ne sais quoi that makes me really like him for no reason I can pinpoint. But Keanu kept it interesting for me. It was hardly a firing heat, but I enjoyed watching. Very pleased to see Keanu get the win.

ADS/JJF took place in head high mush burgers. Looked like a “good” day at El Porto. My heart dropped into my stomach. De Souza would surely win. This is his territory.

But double-John surfed safe. Flowed his cuttys together, didn’t try to do anything the wave wouldn’t let him. Things got tense in the dying moments, Adriano grabbed one with three minutes left and surfed it as well as you could, all the way to the beach. Needed a 6.64. Only got a 6.37.

Very close. I expected him to get it. Like the Hendo/Bisping fight last night, doing better doesn’t always equal winning.

De Souza scrambled back into the lineup. John John played tactics, sat on the Brazilian’s face until the buzzer sounded.

Wilson/Ibelli was a tight heat. Both men surfed good, but there wasn’t a lot to be done. Battle of the cutback to top turn combo.

I got bored. Used the half hour to invent a fun game I can play with the wife. I call it Does My Finger Smell Like a Hot Dog?

“Hey, real quick, do you think my finger smells like a hot dog?”

“What? Have you been eating hot dogs?”

“No.”

“Then why would your finger smell like one?”

“I don’t know. I’m not saying my finger smells like a hot dog. I’m asking you to smell my finger and tell me if it smells like a hot dog.”

“I don’t want to do that.”

“C’mon, be a pal. Help me out. Smell my finger.”

“No.”

“Don’t be a dick. Just give it a quick sniff.”

“Get your fucking finger out of my face.”

“I don’t know why you’re making this so difficult. Just give it a quick sniff. It’s not a big deal.”

“Why are you doing this to me?”

“Because I need to know if my finger smells like a hot dog.”

“Just smell it yourself.”

“I can’t. It doesn’t work that way.”

“Why?”

“It’s complicated. I don’t have time to explain. You’re my wife, I need your help. Just smell my damn finger already.”

“No! Seriously, fucking stop!”

“I’ll stop when I have answers! Now tell me, does my finger smell like a hot dog?”

“Fuck… fine… it smells like cigarettes.”

“And my balls too, yeah?”

ADS sounded so sad when he talked to Rosie! I feel bad for the guy.

Julian took the win with a pair of near identical frontside reverses. 7.87 for the first seemed really high.

The second sealed the deal. Took flight at the buzzer. Tossed the worst Arsenio Hall Claim ever. Hop hop hop to the the inside, mini float to dry sand docking maneuver. Needed a 5.97. Got the 6.0. I’m okay with that.

But the claim was lame and Pottz agrees.

Not a big a fan of the claim halfway through it. Finish the wave first, maybe, then do it.

Fuckin’ preach, brother.

Seabass/Andino was another tedious affair. Both guys doing the best they could with what they had. But there wasn’t enough to work with.

In my mind Seabass got hosed. Paddled into one at the midway point, surfed it to the beach, kicked the fins through the lip on his backhand five feet from the beach. Judges gave him a 3.27, didn’t seem to consider the last one a make. But it was. He was on his feet, would’ve kept going easily had the beach not got in his way. I say 4.5. I say he won.

But I’m not up in arms about it.

Time for the ladies to paddle out. Men’s event on hold. I went to bed. Sorry, it’s sexist, but I know I’m not gonna be engaged in these conditions.

Woke up to see the quarters ran sometime during the middle of my night. Stoked at first, it must have got good with the tide change. Not the case, only a hair on the right side of competition worthy.

Asing’s surfing very well this event. Knocked out Banting in the first heat of the quarters. Used his tinyness to do well. Banting threw his hands over his head with every turn, hoped to god an end of heat single maneuver standard rev would get him what he needed. Exited with his best result of the year.

Toldeo/JJF again! Such a shame the draw put these two against each other in the quarters. Without a doubt the best two surfers this event.

But them’s the breaks, and there can be only one. 

John John opened up with cutback to slash. Tossed a fin kicker at the end. 6.67. Filipe followed on a better wave but bobbled early and couldn’t quite get his balance back. Good opportunity to take the lead early, those small mistakes earned him a 6.

I really do love Keanu Asing. Really wish he hadn’t thrown god into the mix while he was chatting with Mel post heat. Such a turn off.

What do y’all think about John’s 7.73? It won the heat for him and I like that. But… I mean… I think you could make an argument that Filipe’s 5.07 with under a minute left was more technically sound. Whip quick rotation on a smaller wave. Not as gnarly, but maybe more difficult?

Tough heat to call. Asing and John John are going head to head in the first heat of the Semifinal. Tough draw for Keanu. But if the surf doesn’t get any bigger I think he has a real chance.

Medina/Wilson was essentially half a heat. Ocean went dead at the midpoint, the boys basically bobbed around like a pair of potatoes from that point on.

But the beginning was a back and forth slugfest. Wilson looked on form, Medina was gonna have a tough heat. Then Gabby grabbed a lined up left with a little over twenty one minutes left. Took to the sky, rotated, landed on top of the lip and stuck it. Wiggled a hot dog finger claim at the sky, grabbed Julian by the pussy and showed him who’s boss.

Crybaby Gabi for President!

Medina used his next wave to put Julian to sleep. Started off with a little bonk to set his line, bottom turned straight into another, smaller, backside spin to flats. 6.9, and there was nothing Julian could do. Mother Nature made the call, refused to offer the Australian anything he could use.

Last up were Otton and Brother.

Kolohe immediately linked into one of the better waves of the day. Big frontside gouge, beautiful flowing cutback, solid snap, dead ball bonk on the end. 7.67. Otton was fucked. Very unlikely he’d get a similar opportunity.

Otton sat on a 1.33 single score for roughly twenty minutes while Andino caught everything he could. Kolohe found a 5.03 with nine and a half left, wrapped up the win before Otton could respond.

Kai didn’t lay down. Picked up a 4.03 and a 5.03 as the heat wound down. But he didn’t really have a chance. Bump and lulls and mush. Andino got the best wave early, surfed it right, and had his shit stitched up from the get go.

Finals day is all that’s left. Exciting potential for a Florence/Medina battle royale to end the event.

But first they’ve gotta make it through the semis. JJ’s facing an on point Keanu. Ditto Medina with Andino. Normally I’d say the results are a fait accompli, but this time I’m not so sure.

There’s a decent chance the underdogs will win, we’ll all bitch and moan, and Asing will take his first event ever in tiny onshore garbage. Because that’s just how life works.

Don’t forget to watch the Presidential debate today! I’m expecting a clusterfuck to end all clusterfucks. Rape allegations and pussy grabber accusations for everyone!

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE SEMIFINAL MATCH-UPS:
SF 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. John John Florence (HAW)
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.04 def. Matt Banting (AUS) 12.67
QF 2: John John Florence (HAW) def. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA)15.07 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.13
QF 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.70 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 9.93

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.00 def. Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 10.53
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) 10.64 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.37
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.87 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.84
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.50 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.70

John vs. Gabi the new Kelly vs. Andy!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Ladies and gentlemen.... we have a rivalry!

And what a day of professional surfing! What a truly fabulous day! There will be a pointed recap here and soon coming Straight outta Kauai but in the meantime can we just be happy that a true rivalry seems to be bubbling again? Something we haven’t seen since Kelly Slater vs Andy Irons?

Feel the joy!

In this corner, weighing in at 170 lbs with ankles as thick as tree stumps… John John Florence!

And in this corner, weighing in at 140 with skin so impossibly hairless… Gabriel “Gabi” Mediiiiiiinnnnnaaa!

The two men are locked in at 1,2 at the top of the Jeep Leaderboard and I don’t know how they feel about each other but I hope hate flows through their veins. This is what our professional surfing needs. This right here.

A rivalry!

And I hope the two of them rise to the occasion. I hope they subtly dig at each other. I hope they burn in their hearts when seeing each other. I hope their camps try to sabotaj each others’ with every chance they get.

I hope, also, they take the word “rivalry” seriously. Andy Irons did, admitting to hating Kelly Slater. Oh not personally, probably, maybe, but his competitive fire cooked so hot that it colored everything. Everything!

That is what we need. That right there.

Da pashun!

A paixão!

The two men will surf soon in their respective semi-final heats. John against Keanu, Gabi against Kolohe and then hopefully against each other. With burn in their hearts. Hopefully!

Texas Pool: “God gave me a beach!”

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Come taste divine fruits on opening day at Austin's new Wavegarden… 

Did you hear? Yesterday was opening day at NLand surf park, North America’s first Wavegarden, and only the second of its kind in the world.

The pool, which is twenty minutes drive from downtown Austin, promises “steep performance waves” for ninety dollars an hour, “Playful whitewater waves” at sixty an hour or you can ride alongside pals on “Party waves”, also at sixty dollars an hour.

The prices figure about the same as Surf Snowdonia, Wavegarden’s first commercial pool in north Wales (35-to-45 pounds an hour for “advanced surfers”) although the water in Austin is a bath-like 80 degrees fahrenheit (26 celsius) and ain’t no need for wetsuits when the air’s hitting 87 or 30 degrees. A thoroughly pleasant equation.

A sharp-eyed BeachGrit reader, Mr Bill Kemble, was curious to see how many videos were made by happy pool users after opening day.

Woke up this am, hoping to see the glory of NLand’s opening day ripping across YouTube. But only one (ONE!) video popped up. 

My observations:
– the quality of the “surf” looks like crap, no better than the gulf (which is only a few hours south of Austin)
– I see more lifegaurds on soft-tops out there than customers
–  a beautiful TX quote at 5:51 “God gave me a beach” followed by a few tears.”
Freed from the strictures of professional production and PR spin, the video gives a punter’s view of proceedings, complete with a breathy Jesus-y commentary.
“You know, I’m ready to surf too. I’m so ready. I’m going to. I’m going to do it, just like I started walking. I’m gonna surf.”
Watch here.

 

Quik Pro: Watch Filipe’s Divine Ten!

Rory Parker

by Rory Parker

Oh it really is something… 

For the first time in over a month my house is empty. No guests, no dog sitting. Just peace and quiet.

Still managed to get upset. Bordering on full-blown rage explosion. So I self medicated with beer and pills and fell face first into blissful emptiness while the ladies event ran.

Woke up to a storm of hyperbole.

“Heat of the Year?” asks the WSL.

Was it? Better take a look.

Busy day in baguette land, yesterday. A shitload of heats ran. High scores abound. Too much to go through point by point. I don’t feel like typing three thousand words. You don’t feel like reading them.

Instead we’ll begin by skipping ahead. Heat two of round four. John John and Filipe and Stu Kennedy. It’s what everyone’s talking about!

Stu’s been having a very good year. Bede Durbidge’s bad luck has only spelled good things for the young man. Playing spoiler against the top dogs. A semifinal finish on the Gold Coast, quarters at Trestles. Currently sitting above the cutoff at nineteenth, he has every right to be proud of himself.

But he had nothing against the on fire pair of blonde headed local boy and skinny South American camelid. Who would?

Was it the heat of the year? I guess, 2016 hasn’t been the best year for pro surfing. But if you put it up against true magic heats it falls a little flat.

John John started things off with a nice little tube ride. Of course he found it, that’s what he does. I’ve seen the kid get a four second barrel at one foot Ehukai. He’s a sorcerer when it comes to finding cover.

7.33 for that one. 7.67 for a grab rail left green room shortly after. Solid lead, great position. Given the fact that it’s been hard for the boys to find gems all event you’d’ expect that to be an easy win. When he dropped the low score with a 9.07 slash to frontside grab rev to flats.

I feel sorry for John John’s joints. Better start stocking up on Glucosamine. Which I don’t think really works. But I once read that Danny Way swears by it. Way’s got the most fucked up knees on Earth, I figure he must know a thing or two. Placebo effect or not.

But you’ve gotta hand it to Filipe, he doesn’t roll over. Stu Kennedy was looking like a baby bunny caught between two ravenous pitbulls, but the Llama found a great backside pit, whacked it on the way out, dug his way out of the combo situation.

John John answered back with a very good backside reverse followed by two more backside taps. Judges gave him a 9.4. Don’t get me wrong, it was a very good wave. But it once again demonstrated the problem with repeated high scores. John John can do better. Much better. Only leaving .6 for improvement puts the other competitors in a bad spot.

Filipe’s heat winner being a case in point. So high, so long. Lofted that full rotation into the breeze, stomped it perfectly. Skaters’d call it bolts.

Filipe couldn’t resist the urge to claim it. Hands of his head. Yippee! Totally totally totally understandable. If I landed something like that I’d follow up by exposing myself to the entire beach, burning the board, then never surf again. All downhill from there.

But he landed in the perfect spot, perfectly centered, and there was another section coming his way. Filipe remembered to drop his arms and hit it at the last moment, but in a perfect world he’d’ve bent his knees and used the section for another soaring trip above the lip.

And if he’d done it? No where to go.

I’m not saying it was the wrong score. It was not. But they need to find a way to deal with situations like this, should they rear their ugly heads. A ten needs to be surfed perfectly. Quitting before the wave is done is not perfect.

I favor docking points for claims. They’re out of control. Justified or not, premature celebration is a bad habit in sports. If I were his coach, or father, or whatever, I’d read him the riot act, even though he won. It ain’t over ’til the hooter sounds. Shouldn’t stop trying for even a second, no matter how pleased you are with your performance.

Dialing it back to round three…

It was nice to see Asing beat Buchan. I like the little Hawaiian. Seems like a nice guy. Always an underdog, can’t help but rooting for him. Fun way to say it, I’m aware of the differing definitions.

Surfing’s Rodney Dangerfield did his usual thing, sent Connor Coffin packing.

Filipe’s third round heat showed he’s on point to win this fucker. Huge alley oop for an 8.6, top to bottom combo number for a 7.33. Cathel was surfing well, hardly handed Toledo the win. But there’s only a few guys who can touch Filipe when he’s on his game.

Igarashi is out in round three. Saw that coming. Poor kid.

Freestone flailed. Kolohe paired an overscored 8 with a nice boost frontside rotation to take the win easily.

Wilko’s out. And his early season dreams of a title are more or less dead. Very common curse. The dude’s who come out firing in the early events rarely manage to maintain that momentum through the course of the year.

Perrow called the day at the end of round four. Cited tide change as the reason. Off ’til tomorrow. Hopefully more fun surf on tap.

Not so stoked to see John John’s facing ADS in round five. The former is the better surfer, the latter the better competitor. Might be a great match up. Might be a tactical battle the blonde kind can’t overcome. I sure hope that’s not the case. We all want Florence to take the title this year. If for no reason other than that it’ll be fun to watch the Brazilian internet contingent lose their collective mind.

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.50 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.40
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 14.50 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 12.80
Heat 3: Matt Banting (AUS) 9.16 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 8.80
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.93 def. Davey Cathels (AUS) 14.53
Heat 5: Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 11.06 def. Nat Young (USA) 10.76
Heat 6: John John Florence (HAW) 16.80 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.50
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.34 vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.90
Heat 8: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 12.23 vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 10.90
Heat 9: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.93 vs. Jack Freestone (AUS) 8.83
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.43 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.93
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.67 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.66
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.60 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.43

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Matt Banting (AUS) 14.43, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.76, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.53
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 18.50, John John Florence (HAW) 18.47, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 12.03
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.17, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 9.13, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.74
Heat 4: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.50, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.30, Julian Wilson (AUS) 2.33

QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) vs. Stuart Kennedy (AUS)
Heat 2: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 3: Caio Ibelli (BRA) vs. Julian Wilson (AUS)
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)