And discovered the best heat of the year! Can you guess?
Had enough of retrospective 2015 write-ups? I haven’t!
Over the New Year period, I decided to flag the festivities, my family and friends and spent five solid days devouring every WSL heat from last year to find the very best heat of the season.
I came to a few conclusions about 2015 worth sharing first…
Round two will not be remembered favourably in the annals of surf history. There is little worse than watching the swell window being sucked up by a loser from the first round battling another loser. For a more than likely chance that the better of the two losers will lose again in the next round.
Airs are overscored. No matter how good a turn the old-school can do a single air can oust them from the contest. Mostly, this works. The recklessness of youth raising the middle finger to the tour’s harvest year surfers. Other times it doesn’t sit well. A desperate gesture to the judging panel forcing their hands to scribble down an excellent score. Progression is an important part of the criteria but so is combining major manoeuvres. A revamped criteria? Jordy hitting form? Something or someone is missing and the bar is to low.
For all the WSL commentary teams faults, they’re doing their best to hold onto their jobs. They all remember how quickly Brodie Carr was shown the back door when he had his calculator’s decimal point settings wrong. These guys will understandably ride the gravy train for as long as possible. So until the powers that be let them speak their minds or a regular, live, entertaining pirate broadcast pops up, I’m going to give them bit of leeway and just enjoy the subtle digs they dish out on occasion.
The J-Bay final should’ve happened. Not making Mick and Julian paddle straight back out took from us, and them, the most exciting final in surfing’s history.
Adrenalin and fear mixed with RedBull would have sent the boys’ endorphins levels to unprecedented levels. The line in the sand moment of credibility that the WSL so desperately needs. A melting pot of progression, emotion and raw animal proformance surfing. Six 10-point rides would have been surfed. Who would’ve dared fall off?
Julian would have won on a countback and continued his run to his maiden world title. Parko, Slater and Taj would have joined CJ and Freddy on the golf course. The Brazilian New World Order would have to wait. Safety be damned. I demand entertainment and John Lydon’s famous quote “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” was ringing true.
There’s no hidden agenda. Unfortunately for a few of our more edgy commentators, there is no conspiracy to push certain surfers though heats. When only six guys are responsible for the outcome of two surfers and the expectations of hundreds of thousands rest of these results, some questionable decisions will arise.
The tour needs more world-class reef breaks on the schedule. It’s painfully obvious in such a subjective sport that to decide a winner we need perfect reeling waves that offer surfers an even platform. Shifty, random peak locations that specialise in semi close-outs or slow waves (Margarets, Bells) are not doing the sport any favours.
Adriano deserved his title. He won the Pipe Masters, too.
Right! And the best heat of 2015?
Without any further delay, 2015’s best heat was full of buckets of spray, six of the same turns on the same wave and incomplete aerial attempts. It was devoid of progression but it had me on the edge of my seat, fists clenched screaming at the monitor.
The commentary team mentioned “wrap-around cutbacks” more than once and Pottz spoke of of one wave as “maybe a little bit repetitive” Claims were thrown about like a quarter-final in the Brazilian national championships.
It was one of those heats where watching it later on the heat analyzer would have been a massive injustice to the waves surfed in between the four scoring waves.
But there was no doubt those shifty French tides turned to “ON” for the Quicksilver Pro round three clash of our tour veterans Ace Buchan and Bede Durbidge!
The previous heat was a slow, low-scoring affair bar Italo manhanding a wave for a 8.33 so expectations were low for our blue-collar battlers. Both had stellar first round wins. Bede was on my Fantasy surf team so I was rooting for him.
Ace’s first wave was a blistering 9.23 and with his second a fine, fine seven-point ride. Ace was on a tear, going well beyond vert, spray to the heavens, gaining speed from every turn. It was the best I had ever seen him surf.
Bede looked cumbersome and slow on his first wave. The day was looking like Ace’s.
Durbidge then muscled a scorching right to for a 9.20! Then another for 9.17! Ace was left chasing a 9.14. A set approached. He caught it! A 8.17 for Ace and he was out!
If my “play by play” was grating, watch here!