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WSL: Quik Pro Round One Analysis!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

Who needs Heat Analyzers when you've got plain old text!

#It’sOn… and I’m fucking ecstatic! As much as we poke and prod, the WSL is our lifeline. It gives us something to care about in surfing beyond our own tepid sessions. Plus, Snapper has a solid forecast for once, so I’ve got four straight days of entertainment.

For those of you missed it, here’s a day two/round one recap.

Steph/Malia/Lakey

Lakey started off with a dream wave and surfed it pretty damn well. She took it easy on the first half of the ride, but once she found her groove it was a full display of power and commitment, with at least six legit turns and a little toob to boot. The judges gave it nearly a nine.

Steph followed with a vastly inferior wave in which she looked like twice the surfer of Lakey. Mid-seven. Malia did the same. Flat seven. The upright posture of Steph and Malia enables crisper, more aesthetically appealing turns than those of Hunchy Peterson.

With twenty seconds remaining, Lakey used her priority to block Steph and proceeded to half-heartedly surf the wave whilst continually checking over her shoulder. That’s because behind Lakey, Steph locked into a double-up that would produce a Leemore-esque mini-tube, which resulted in a six-point-ride and a buzzer-beater heat win.

I’m already hooked.

Michel/Conner/Jadson

Michel puts more pressure on his board than anyone I’ve seen. His half-hearted cutty rebounds produce more spray than bathing elephant. This is great when he’s on, but Michel falls off his board more than… maybe… anyone on Tour?

Ron Dawg made an interesting point that Jadson’s front foot resides not in the center of the board, but slightly toward his heelside rail. This technique enables harder bottom turns but detracts from turning power off the top, as it’s difficult to transition the weight back onto the toeside rail through turns. He surfed very badly.

Conner is injured. He’s trying to surf through a bruised knee-cap (thanks to Pipe about a month ago), but it’s clearly affecting his flow. He looks tender, and surfing in that state is never good for recovery. I’d let it heal all the way if I were him, but I know it’s hard to sit on the sidelines when your job is on the line.

The gals coulda won this heat.

Wilko/Stu/Ian

Wilko’s ability to the shift his weight to the front foot is incredible. Of course it comes at the expense of looking like a duck with diaper rash, but fuck it – that backside whip is worth any editorial lashing! Matt’s elastic display reminded me of how he won this event in 2016. He’s a threat.

Ian made a lot of rookie mistakes, most of them related to wave choice. He had a few decent turns, but most of his waves were small and flat. He also felt the need to do 800 cutbacks on each of them, resulting in a slew of threes and fours. This ain’t the QS, boy!

Stu is also carrying an injury, though you couldn’t tell from his surfing. That’s not to say he was surfing well, because he wasn’t, but he didn’t appear wounded. He’s back on the Sci-Fi, so we’ll see what kinda magic he can produce in round two.

Kolohe/Kanoa/Jack

Kolohe came out of the gates straight into an air rev. It only got him a four, but that level of confidence is telling. Overall his surfing appeared stronger and dirtied-up a bit, which bodes well for his season.

Unlike Kolohe, Jack went limp-dick on a big section on his first wave. Just made me want to shake him! He then picked off a local-knowledge double-up and tagged it a few times for the best wave of the heat, but altogether an uninspiring seven. Needed a low-four to take the win but came up short with a wave in the dying minutes. More blah from a superstar talent.

Kanoa flopped. Chalk it up to bad luck or round one jitters, either way he’ll have to fight through round two to maintain his undefeated record.

Gabby/Wiggoly/Zeke

God, Gabby is good. Like… so fucking good. His first wave included a no-hand backside pit and two of the best turns of the day. Only a seven-five, but one hell of a warning shot for the top 34. Wave number two was a fuck-off rodeo attempt. No make but… did I mention I love Gab? Post heat update: Gabby strained his MCL, likely due to an awkward fall on the aforementioned rodeo. Oh and he’s still riding super-wide surfboards.

Wiggs, when he connects, has the most impressive backside turn I’ve seen. It’s a combination of power, timing, and air-tight technique that creates more splash than post-Chipotle deuce. He didn’t make any in this heat, so he was no competition for the superfreak that is Medina.

Zeke picked waves that looked good out the back but had nothing to offer down the line. This is not uncommon at a tricky wave like Snapper, but it’s another classic rookie mistake.

Jordy/Miggy/Nat

Nat looks feisty as hell. Probably because he’s not actually on tour this year, and therefore needs to make a big impression at Snapper if he wants more wildcard opportunities this season. He could be the Seabass of 2017!

I picked Miggy for my Fantasy team because he’s got a loopy backhand and has performed well here historically. He had one moment of brilliance today, but failed to back it up.

Jordy surfed safe. That’s a luxury he can often afford in right-hand points, thanks to his effortless power and flow, but he dialed it back a little too far today. Lucky for Jordy, his competitors couldn’t put two scores together.

John/Connor/Mikey

John dissected his heat like a man with a plan. Like a man with Ross Williams’ plan. This is great for heat wins, bad for entertainment. In my eyes, John shouldn’t be able to get 8.5s for surfing at 60%. His half-laybacks already bore me senseless, but he is clearly on level above.

I will now completely switch roles in saying that Mikey Wright is so damn talented, but has no sense of competitive strategy. He does amazing maneuvers, but falls way too often and misuses priority to a point of disbelief. We need a middle ground between Mike and John!

Connor: I said it once and I’ll say it again – CT-lite.

Kelly/Mick/Jeremy (Hot damn that’s pretty on paper!)

Slater’s board looks fun! It’s fast, smooth, and allows for unbroken transitions between maneuvers. That said, he didn’t make many “major maneuvers”, so his scores were modest at best. I still loved his unforced surfing.

Jeremy was the underdog in this heavy-weight bout, but the man has got a mean right hook! He had the heat won until the last minute, and this should give him confidence moving into round two.

If you ain’t got Mick on your Fantasy team, you’re a damn fool. He’s only 5.5 mil thanks to his abbreviated 2016 season and is the easy favorite at the first two events. He picked some bad waves today, but now that he’s greased his gears, expect nothing but perfect surfing from here on out.

Julian/Caio/Leo

Mr. Wilson recently came out with a show-stopping video segment you can see here. This video has led people to believe that Julian has a good chance at winning the world title, but more currently, Snapper! I think this is stupid because Julian’s wide stance/round surfing is not conducive to Snapper’s tight transitions. But then he won with flying colors today, so what do I know?

I once called Caio the human version of Sid from Ice Age, but to say that is to attack my own ego. You see, Caio is my CT doppleganger, both in terms of facial structure and surfing style. So I say Caio is great, the best! Also very handsome.

Leo looks ready. No rookie jitters, no kiddie turns. He got unlucky with waves today but I see him making a few rounds at this event.

Joel/Italo/Joan

Lest we forget how fucking great Joel surfs. After a five-year world title hangover, Joel just might be back! His opening nine brought on the best kind of nostalgia, and I hope to feel more of it in the coming days.

Connor O’Leary famously declared Joan Duru’s backhand as the best in the world. I was all… nawwwww… but then boom! Duru drops two eight-pointers and I still say naww but only with two W’s!

Oh how I adore the little pipe bomb that is Italo Ferreria. He didn’t amaze today but soon… soon.

Fil/Ace/Fede

Hey Pete and Ronnie, it’s pronounced FEDErico, kinda like Fetty Wap, not FREDerico, like Mr. Flintstone. Anyhow, I think this guy just showed the world what he’s made of (meat and potatoes).

Ace surfed like Ace. He puts his board in technical positions but, to me, is very boring. I’m unenthused by his surfing unless it’s in big left tubes.

I don’t know how much more Fil could have done out there, other than picking bigger waves. Technique-wise Filipe was as noble as ever, he was merely outshined by a Portuguese powerhouse.

ADS/Kerr/Bede

Is it bad that I’m always surprised when ADS surfs well? Somehow I’ve internalized that he’s not a good surfer, and time and time again he proves me wrong. His nine was a thing of beauty. Well, it was still a little ugly, but probably the best surfed wave of the day.

Bede’s ripping too! The big bloke with the broken bum has still got game, it appears. As you know Bede is not my cup of tea but good surfing is good surfing!

Kerrzy is the most animated of this trio, but his wave choice made him an afterthought. Still some impressive turns though. The CT is so hard!

Seabass/Owen/Ewing

Ethan dropped a nine on his first-ever CT wave (with a fall), so I guess I’ll just go fuck myself. Perhaps he is ready after all…

How beautiful is Owen’s backside flow? It’s a blend of the Wilko Whip and Miggy’s style and tempo. I’m so happy to have this guy back on Tour, but I’m curious to see what he does in the heartier waves on the schedule.

Seabass is a great surfer but he always looks slightly off-balance. I dunno, maybe it’s the extra thumb.

WSL: The cruelty of wildcards!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Mikey Wright gets tortured by Ross Williams (John John)!

We’re back! Can you believe it? Can you believe it has been almost three months since we last watched professional surfing (at the highest level)? Almost three months! If the Geneva Convention had been written more recently this would be considered torture and totally outlawed.

But are you watching John John Florence shame Mikey Wright on the Gold Coast right now? Shame! An even worse torture!

I never really considered the plight of the wildcard before because usually, when I consider him, he is on Hawaii and mocking his masters but every where else in this world he is getting publicly shamed in the worst way ever.

Mikey Wright!

vs.

John John Florence!

Shame on you for watching, sicko.

But look at Mick Fanning’s haircut! What the motherfucking hell is that?

Hollister crushes workers’ rights!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

Don't think a job at the Ranch is gonna gift you waves… 

The private ownership of beaches is a helluva vexed issue. You know how your beach looks. There’s a road, a carpark, a cafe or maybe five, houses, crowds. Every major coastal town in the west, from San Clemente to Hossegor to Narrabeen is filled to the gills.

And then you have the Hollister Ranch in Santa Babs County. Fourteen-and-a-half thousand acres of unmolested Californian coastline. It’s hard not to drop your jaw at secluded beaches where whales roam in the sparkling Pacific, the grassy hills, the sage scrub, mountains, valleys.

It’s gorgeous! 

And there are waves too! Real good waves, in summer and winter swells.

Of course, the downside is unless you own a piece of land (The Ranch has been cut into 136 “parcels” of 100 acres each) or y’got a boat (the state constitution grants “the public the right to use the beach up to the mean high tide line”) you ain’t getting a piece of its surf.

And don’t think doing a little labouring at a farm’s going to open the door.

According to Ranch Rules as determined by The Hollister Ranch Owner’s Association, “Day Workers have no guest privileges and no right to use the Beach Recreation Common Area.

Go for a surf and your master will be slugged $250.

Ride your moto down to the beach faster than fifteen miles an hour, forget to slow down to five miles an hour for a pet dog crossing the road, got for a surf, and it’s seven-fifty.

In other words, own a farm and you’re welcome. If you don’t, you’re not.

It isn’t cheap to buy, but  part-ownership is a thing at the Ranch. A one-twelfth slice sold last June for half a mill. A one-third interest in a little guest house with views, a little under three mill. 

But it works, right? The Ranch is a rare hunk where the environment reigns supreme. Where man and dirt live in harmony. It’s everything the Supa Bank ain’t.

Which do you prefer?

This?

Gold Coast crowds

Getting real close to your surf brothers on the GC!

Or

Hollister Ranch

The Ranch’s gilded cage?

(Read the complete rule book here.) 

Watch: A History of Full Roters!

Derek Rielly

by Derek Rielly

How Kalani Robb, Dane Reynolds and Filipe Toledo redefined space… 

The big full-spin huck. Who did it first? Who did it consistently?

Who has it so perfected he can turn four-point waves into instant tens?

Last week, we released part one of our Girl Goes Into Orbit series.

The premise is simple, if ambitious. BeachGrit takes the Santa Babs tour surfer Lakey Peterson into Mexico and, with coaching by Filipe Toledo and Brett Simpson, attempts to coax her into a full-rotation air.

Yeah, ambitious.

“I fell trying ’em for two years before I landed one,” says John John Florence in a video message to Lakey. “But I’m sure you’ll get it first try.”

Before we land in Mex, howevs, allow us a little side detour into the history of the manoeuvre called, variously, the full-roter (a coin termed by the filmmaker Kai Neville) or, by skate and snow jocks, the 540.

Me? If you want to forget the skate and snow influence for a moment (and remember, these are both surf-derivative sports), how about we call it what it really is, a 450. Since the lip is hit parallel it’s 90 plus 360, which equals 450.

Sexy? Not so much.

In this episode, which is anchored by the American Chris Coté who edited Transworld Surf back when it owned surfing above the air, Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino and Kai Neville talk you through a history, a brief history, of the full-rotation air.

Watch!

 

Official: Ross is John John’s coach!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

The super team is ready for action!

The rumor first broken on Surf Splendor, surfing’s best podcast (not about Cori Schumacher), a few days ago is now official. Ross Williams is leaving the booth for an exciting new career as John John Florence’s coach!

He spoke in length about his decision on the World Surf League morning show. Ronnie wore sensible black jeans and a black button-up. Peter Mel threw sartorial caution to the wind by pairing black shorts with black shoes/socks. And Ross? He looked the “coach” part with a breathable polo.

But oooo-ee… I do not envy the man. If John John is unable to snag his second title all eyez will be on Ross. Don’t you think? Angry abuse raining down from the peanut gallery.

Or maybe is there no pressure? Is John John so far ahead of the field that title no. 2 is a fait accompli?

Ross makes it sound like there is no pressure. Just two neighbors, traveling the world, learning, having some fun. But oooo-ee… coaching a professional surfer would be a nerve racking game. Nerve wracking too.

Do you think every surfer on tour will soon have a coach? Is it a necessity now?

More importantly, do you think Peter Mel will continue to wear black shorts with black shoes/socks or will he, at some point, transition to black shorts with sport sandals/white socks?

More on this story as it develops.