An act so polished you can see your reflection in it.
Finals day at J-Bay was a pleasant surprise.
I was expecting garbage. Because that’s just the way life goes. Usually.
Glorious surprise! It was super rippable. So much fun to watch. Enough going on that the surfers could get going on. Some slow moments but nothing terrible.
And dolphins too!
The day started off okay. Kerr/Slater saw smallish, semi lined up surf. Not very exciting. Kerr took the win. Kelly didn’t sound very concerned during his interview.
Medina/Wilson failed to wow as well. Medina started the day off with a good one, earned an 8.33, but couldn’t back it up. Julian found two mid range scores, added them together, had point four enough to squeak through.
Then it started warming up. Bigger, better. Wet dream waves. Easy as pie to shine for a world class surfer. Toledo surfed well but Fanning put him down with ease. Mick’s just got his deal down too pat. White heat lightning speed snaps and whacks and down the line floaters. An act so polished you can see your reflection in it.
Toledo tried his best, surfed well, but couldn’t match Fanning.
The thing with Mick… he obviously surfs for points, but he does it so damn well. Ridiculously well. Kung fu master who puts his body in the right spot every single time. And it can get boring to watch. But sometimes, like today, you remember it’s something special you’ve stopped appreciating because you’ve been seeing it for so long.
John John was killing it, laying down gut wrenching laybacks, stringing together smooth little arcs into the inside. One super projected frontside rev to the flats. Very exciting.
Kerr looked like he was having trouble warming up. Just a touch off. Still good, but not good enough to beat the kid. He looked his age, basically.
JJF sent home the vet, made his second final of the year, and kicked Wilko’s title campaign squarely in the nuts.
So many claims today. And the guys were paying for them. That extra couple seconds headed to shore puts them in some shallow shallow shallow water. A few amusing moments as they flounder into deeper water.
From his first wave of the semi it was obvious Fanning was sending Wilson home. Picking better waves, surfing in fast forward. Dropped an 8.1 on his first wave, a 9 on his next. Then just sat there while Wilson caught wave after wave and tried to catch up.
He didn’t and Mick does amazingly well for someone who wasn’t going to do the tour this year.
Tried and true high speed perfection versus next gen innovative style. Warms my icy heart, fills my ears with birdsong.
But, sweet jumping jimminy Christ, can they work on the filler? The cookies and milk break between semi and final was so boring!
I wonder how much effort Strider and Mel and Blakey and Turpel and Pottz put into their commentator duties between events? Do you think they plan out little bits, fill a notebook with talking points? That’s what I would do. It seems like they just show up and do it to it. Which seems like it’d be the harder way. Just free flowing all day long is a crazy challenge.
They’ve got paper and pen in front of them, but it might just be there so they have something to do with their hands.
After what felt like forever the heat finally got started. Fanning found one on the inside in the first minute. Crazy racetrack at the beginning into bread and butter. But it’s good bread and butter. Like, a crispy warm baguette and some freshly churned deliciousness.
Florence made it look like shit. Hand drag slash, flowing reverse, then two point scorers to seal it up. Ross mentions once again that “it’s a smaller wave,” but is it? The kid from Hawaii is a foot taller. Maybe it’s a crazy optical illusion!
8.5 slaps the taste of winning out of Mick’s mouth for a moment. Then he wraps his lips back around it and takes a deep suckle. Cracks an overhead set into a 9.93. Which is high. Low nine, sure. Mid-nine, maybe. Oh-seven from perfect? I won’t by that banana.
After along lull John John finally gets his second wave. Hangs up his first turn, ends it with a toward shore heave. Not the 8.61 he needs.
Next set sees both guys get a good one. Mick does the high speed down the line flow thing. JJF opts for a big turn to slide check to close out rev. JJ gets the score he needs but Fanning’s wave get’s him a bump so it doesn’t matter.
Fanning wins JBay in fun head high surf.
I’d’ve given the heat to Florence. But it was a close thing.