Gabriel Medina Rip Curl Pro
Instead of gasping and whimpering like a baby after his terrible first half of the year (three second-lasts and a last), Gabriel has regained control of his senses. In the last three events he has placed third, second and first. He's looking enough like a conquerer to win in Portugal and Pipe and, therefore, be the architect of the one of the great title defences. | Photo: WSL

No more tears: Gabriel’s World Title Gift!

Defending world champion crashes fist into toothless campaign…

There are, if we’re to be realistic, three surfers who will win the Moche Rip Curl Pro. In order, they are Kolohe Andino (read about premonition, here), Filipe Toledo and Gabriel Medina.

Kolohe staggered his opponents Jadson Andre (who appeared blowsy and quarrelsome in their round two heat) and Bede Durbidge who couldn’t speak for choking in round three.

Of the two here still in the world title race, Gabriel is the only surfer who can put on the Pipe Masters jerkin and make a game of it and therefore win, and defend, his world title.

Filipe has the problem of involuntary tears in biggish reef lefts (read Filipe Toledo’s Brave Act of Cowardice here) although, in round three against Mason Ho, he looked very much like the best surfer in the world. The crack of his board hitting lips sounded like splintered glass. He flung straight and hard, contemptuous. Filipe wasn’t just going to slink past Mason. He saw what happened to Julian Wilson in round two and  played it impatient and rough.

But, Gabriel. He has the mocking look of a conquerer. Occasionally a baby blubbering on the ground, his terrible first half of the year (three second-lasts and a last) has been redeemed by his last three events: three, two, one.

Let’s do a little maths.

If Gabriel wins in Portugal, he’ll drop a 25th (remember, in the confusing world title calculations only the best nine results of the 11 events are counted) and zoom into first place 250 points clear of Mick Fanning, 800 ahead of Adriano. Place second and he’s a fingernail behind Mick and Adriano in third place.

Filipe, of course, is throbbing and growing every second. Whatever happens he drops a 25th, too. If he wins he moves into second, only 200 points behind Mick.

You wanted a Pipe showdown? It’s coming.

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 2 Results:
Heat 8: C.J Hobgood (USA) 12.43 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 6.17
Heat 9: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.00 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 7.70
Heat 10: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.90 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.43
Heat 11: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.43 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.47
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.17 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.83

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.70 def. Mason Ho (HAW) 2.76
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.06 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.43
Heat 3: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.54 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 8.06
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) 16.67 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.17
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.00 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.60
Heat 6: Frederico Morais (PRT) 16.03 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.40
Heat 7: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 14.36 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 11.80
Heat 8: Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.43 def. John John Florence (HAW) 13.16
Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.26 def. C.J Hobgood (USA) 12.47
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.17 def. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.84
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.17 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.10
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.67 def. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.87

Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 19.00, Kolohe Andino (USA) 18.00, Brett Simpson (USA) 17.57
Heat 2: Frederico Morais (PRT) 14.96, Nat Young (USA) 14.50, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.43

Remaining Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 3: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT), Keanu Asing (HAW), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Gabriel Medina (BRA)


Shocker: Surfline gets it wrong!

Grand, if sexually explicit, surf forecasting site says, "Only two can win world title..." even though four can!

Sometimes, I go to the beach and Surfline, a grand yet notoriously kinky website, says it is 3-4 ft. but it is really 0-1 ft. Sometimes, the world title race is wide open but Surfline says it has come down to only two people. Embarrassing? Why yes, thank you!

This whole business unfolded a bit earlier in the day when Surfline tweeted about how there were only two people left in contention for the crown. Adriano d. Souza and Owen Wright. Surfing‘s Jimmicane, a gentleman and math scholar, took to the airwaves to correct the mistake, writing, “Contrary to what Surfline is reporting, the World Title Race is wide open. Owen, Julian, Gabriel and Filipe all still in the hunt.”

Surfline sniped back from its high but sexually perverse perch, “Not according to the WSL.”

Oops!

Remember when the WSL (then ASP) said that Kelly Slater had won the title but hadn’t? Well this year’s version has both Surfline and professional surfing’s governing body ruling out two extra surfers. Racist? Possibly, though narrow-minded xenophobia is generally a trait of rival site The Inertia. Geriatric? It seems more likely. Did you know having sexual fantasies about making love to older people is called “gerontophilia?”

Here are, thanks to Jimmy Wilson, the proper scenarios:

With two events remaining — Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal and Billabong Pipeline Masters — here are the 2015 WSL Men’s World Title scenarios.

-Seven surfers are in mathematical contention to win the 2015 World Title going into Portugal.
-Kelly is an extreme long-shot. He would have to win Portugal and Pipe, while also hoping Mick and Adriano don’t place higher than 13th in either event.
-If Mick wins Portugal, Adriano needs to finish 9th or better to send the World Title race to Pipe. Everyone else will be hopeless.
-If Mick gets 2nd in Portugal, Owen will need a 3rd or higher to stay in contention for Pipe. Julian, Gabriel and Filipe will need a 2nd or better.
-If Mick gets 3rd in Portugal, Owen will need a 5th or higher to stay in contention. Julian, Gabriel and Filipe will need a 3rd or better.
-If Mick gets 5th in Portugal, Owen will need a 9th or higher to stay in contention. Julian, Gabriel and Filipe will need a 5th or better.
-If Mick gets 9th in Portugal, Owen, Julian, Gabriel and Filipe will need a 9th or better to stay in contention.

-If Adriano wins in Portugal, Owen will need to finish 2nd to stay in contention at Pipe. Julian, Gabriel and Filipe would be eliminated.
-If Adriano gets 2nd in Portugal, Owen, Julian and Filipe will need a 3rd or higher to stay in contention. Gabriel will need a 2nd or 1st.
-If Adriano gets 3rd in Portugal, Owen, Julian and Filipe will need a 5th or higher to stay in contention. Gabriel will need a 3rd or better.
-If Adriano gets 5th in Portugal, Owen, Julian and Filipe will need a 9th or higher to stay in contention. Gabriel will need a 5th or better.
-If Adriano gets 9th in Portugal, Owen will still be in contention for Pipe. Julian, Gabriel and Filipe will need a 9th or better to stay alive for Pipe.

Read more here!


Kolohe Andino Portugal
Kolohe Andino was… enchanting! He was everything you expected him not to be! | Photo: WSL

Abyss: Day Three, Rip Curl Pro, Portugal

Fanning, Slater, Adriano buried. Meanwhile, Kolohe Andino continues to soar!

Ricardinho Toledo is certainly packing on the pounds, huh? I’ve been watching the guy inflate all season, at this rate they’ll be able to roll him down the beach by next year.

His kid took out Mason Ho with a surplus of points.

I’m so sick of hearing the talking heads try to convince us the waves are good. Sure, by El Porto standards.  But I want to see the best surf well, not suffer through some tedious wave catching contests.

Why did Slater have one of those shitty plastic skateboards in his locker? Which, I noticed, are made from particle board. Way to cut corners, WSL!

The Portuguese Wave Series is an interesting idea. Like the Triple Crown, only the wave suck and no one cares who wins.

Slater’s performance is pretty much guaranteeing we’ll see him on tour next year. I don’t believe the most competitive man on Earth is willing to retire on a low note.

Whichever judge gave Nat Young a 9.5 for three lackluster backside turns needs to have his fucking eyes examined.

It’s ironic that ADS got knocked out by a wildcard with even worse style. Not, like, O. Henry level, more like rain on your wedding day.

JJ should’ve won his heat, but I like Keanu Asing, so I’m not too upset about it.

I certainly hope no one picked their Fantasy team based on my recommendations. Everyone but Flores is out by round three. Oof.

Speaking of Flores, Frenchy’s on a tear, huh?  Don’t really know how that last wave was a 9.43, but whatever.

 
Meanwhile, Kolohe Andino continues to soar, and as predicted (here).

 


Mason Ho
…serving up a little whipped cream to the world title race. And Strider's hair? Menopausal lesbian cut? | Photo: Julian Wilson

Replay: Mason Ho’s Portugal Interview!

Who else does post-heat interviews like Mason Ho? He vibrates like little dog!

I only made it a few minutes into ADS v Pires before turning off the webcast and heading to bed. Only nine-ish, Hawaiian time, but I had a long session earlier in the day, my body is still recovering from my last surgery, and I was pretty wiped.

I’d’ve soldiered on if it had looked worth the effort, but with waves resembling a fun day at the Newport River Jetties, pretty good for normal humans, not so awesome for competitive rippery, sleep seemed the better option.

I woke up this morning, dutifully headed to the WSL site to check the heat analyzer. Looks like I made the right call. Pretty uninspiring stuff. Even JJF, owner of the highest heat total of the day, failed to excite.

Mr Mason was my highlight.

His surfing was good, barely restrained, you could see him holding back.  Quivering with excitement, dying to go balls to the wall, but dialing it down a few notches, from his natural eleven to a heat winning 7.  Which is what it takes to take it.

Mason’s body language reminded me of my french bulldog, Mr Debs, when he knows we’re going for a walk but I make him sit at the front door and wait for me to get my shit together. Muscles tensed, eyes wide, chock full of excitement. Shaking so fast he’s vibrating. Mason’s his human equivalent, not in physical build, just all around adorability. Which I’m pretty sure is a real word.

He’s the perfect polar opposite of Dane.

Reynolds is so obviously over the comp scene, not that I blame him. Like a lot of people who dedicate their youth to a single pursuit he’s moved on. There’s more to life.

But Mason’s so obviously stoked to be there. You can even see it in his surfing, riding that fine line between amped and out of control. And you can taste it in his post heat interviews. They’re always gold, last night was no exception.

That little grin, the body language that says he doesn’t want to gush but just can’t help it. I’m opposed on principal to giving multiple wildcards to the same person, but our little Ho is making me rethink that position.

One thing I wonder about, and I feel a little bad for asking, do you think Strider cruises into his hair stylist, sits down and says, “Give me the menopausal lesbian”?

(Video should autoplay at the interview, but if it doesn’t, head to 1:59:00)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlafMZolOIk&feature=youtu.be&t=7135

 


Owen Wright
"This is the first time I've surfed conditions like this in years," said Owen Wright after losing to contest alternate Caio Ibelli. "I'm devastated to go out in conditions like that. There's no hiding from it."

Owen: “A crucial heat and it’s one foot!”

World title hopefuls tumble like dice at the Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal…

Supertubos is my favorite wave in Europe and I’ve gotten the best barrels of my life there. I live in Portugal. I know how good it gets. I love the joint.

Now get this stop off the fucking tour.

Or make it mobile.

As the second-last event on tour, the implications of this stop are obvious. Last year, Gabriel Medina and Kelly Slater were eliminated in consecutive round three heats by Brett Simpson and Aritz Aranburu. The waves sucked and the world title was on the line.

This year, the victims are Owen Wright and Julian Wilson, numbers three and four in the title race. Both are almost certainly eliminated from contention after consecutive round two losses, both served up by contest alternates in barely QS-worthy waves.

Owen summed it up in his post-heat interview when asked about the world title implications of the loss, saying he “hadn’t surfed waves like that in years… that’s the part I’m pretty spewin’ about. Apart from my performance, I felt like I did ok, but yeah, the world title part I’m devastated about that. To go out in conditions like this, you know, this is not what we surf all year. This is a one off. It’s a crucial heat for me, and you know, its one foot. There’s no hiding from that. I’m pissed off about it.”

Julian mustered a similar, yet more concise response: “It’s hard. You work so hard all year to get in the title race and it comes down to those conditions. It’s a tough pill to swallow for sure.”

At this time of year, Supertubos can be real fickle, mostly  due to the shiftiness of the wind. There can easily be a week straight of south wind (as was seen the two previous years) or west wind (which will make its debut during next week’s run of swell), in which case it’s shit for Supertubos.

However, I’m sure everyone remembers all the dreamy GoPro barrel footage from last year’s comp. Just in case you forgot, it’s the same footage being looped throughout this year’s broadcast. Yes, that was in the Peniche area, and yes, it was firing like that exactly during the contest window.

What makes it even more ironic is that the stretch of coast at which it was filmed happens to lay directly in front of where the majority of the competitors stay while in Peniche and is no more than ten minutes from Supertubos. The same thing happened two years ago as well.

What makes Peniche (and Portugal as a whole) such a good place to go surfing is that there are beaches angled in every direction, all of which get swell. To put that it into perspective, during these last two shitty days of competition, there were spots within 30-minute drive that were firing (or at least much better than Supertubos).

Even now,  they are claiming that there are waves on the way. However, it’s obvious the wind is going to be straight onshore. I guess big junk is better than little junk, right?

I got a little advice for the WSL. Mobilise and use the bounty of easily accessible waves in the region or take this event off tour.

Either that, or just come straight out and say that wave quality is simply not the top priority for WSL. Given how important this event is to both the local economy and the thriving Portuguese surf scene in general, I can guarantee permits are not the issue.

Sack up or pack up.

And now the highlights!

Round two results:
Heat 1: A. de Souza, 12.43, T. Pires 6.17
Heat 2: C. Ibelli 13.33, O. Wright 12.37
Heat 3: M. Ho 13.93, J. Wilson 13.06
Heat 4: I. Ferreira 11.50, T. Hermes 9.74
Heat 5: J. Flores 12.76, A. Aranburu 12.00
Heat 6: R. Christie 10.73, W. Dantas 8.70
Heat 7: J. Florence 16.20, G. Hall 8.70
Upcoming:
Heat 8: K. Otton, C. Hobgood
Heat 9: J. Parkinson, A. Melling
Heat 10: A. Buchan, S. Zietz
Heat 11: J. Andre, K. Andino
Heat 12: M. Pupo, M. Bourez