John John your champ! (probably)
We’re on again! Day three, remnants of round two, all of round three, Rip Curl Pro Portugal.
Strider’s raving about the surf. Sooooo good. It’s been firing here for days! Turpel got the tube of his life at this particular bank yesterday!
We’ll see. Hyperbolic hype is the name of the game. It’s gotta be better than yesterday.
But if it’s really been so much better here than at Supertubos… what the fuck.
Still, let’s not start on a negative note. It could be worse, whatever the case. I’ve a new appreciation for bad. I sat through an entire episode of Flip’n Sk8s, the worst fucking thing anyone has ever done in the history of the world.
Worse than In God’s Hands. Worse than Surf School.
Worse than Surf House.
Worse than the vicious ingrown hair (I hope!) at the base of my dick that I’ve been dealing with since I went a little overboard with the manscaping last week.
Buchan/Banting got the day started in some surf with potential. Once again it looks like a day that’ll hardly go down in history. But it’s contestable. Enough energy to hold hope the tide turns things on as the day progresses.
Even so, the first heat of the day didn’t hold much appeal. Buchan kicked things off with a mid-six on an okay right. Banting right behind him, surfed one to the inside closeout and tossed a solid reverse for a 6.93. Matt looks like last event’s results have given him a bit more confidence. He’s still doing that annoying thing where he throws his back hand over his head with every turn, but he’s surfing better than expected. Hire a style coach, or something. Iron that shit out, I could become a fan.
Beyond that first exchange pretty much nothing happened for the rest of the heat. Shitty waves, low scores, until the last minute or so. Ace went backside and did a few not-very-good whacks. Banting got a better one. ‘QS turned to the inside, did another reverse, won by a bit more than half a point.
Seabass/Alejo up next. Not much better than the last. Only two moments worth mentioning.
Seabass snagged a gorgeous right mid-heat, unleashed a carve to crack to layback bash combo. He surfs so good when he’s surfing good!
The next came when Strider interviewed Ace Buchan, who I’d forgotten is the Surfers’ Rep. Ol’ Raspberry started off with a nothing statement.
We got started out here on the right and we’ve been looking at the left, so for you, in your mind, you had to make a transition.
No idea what to make of that. I swear, if I didn’t know any better I’d sometimes think Mr Wasilewski had never surfer a day in his life.
Ace wasn’t feeling the empty chatter game. Unleashed some honest opinion. (edited slightly for clarity)
Yeah, for sure, the right’s definitely better. It’s a little bit high for the left at the moment. But, to be honest, it’s pretty frustrating. You know, we’ve come here to move to a left hand bank and it’s been pumping for three days and we’ve been sitting at Supertubes watching closeouts. It’s meant to be the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves, and this is meant to be a mobile event. To be frank it’s come, this move’s come two days too late.
You could call Ace a sore loser, but it’s hard when the talking heads have been spouting lines in total, if more corporate-friendly, agreement.
Seabass beat Alejo. Yay for him. We both live on Kauai, which is enough to make me a fan. I’ll admit, though, I don’t really like seeing him in the water on breaks between stops. Especially if I feel like I’m surfing well. Nothing kills that I’m-ripping feeling faster than watching someone with actual skill.
Bourez and Freestone up next. Surfed well, got the blood pumping a bit. Freestone opened up the heat with a single maneuver alley oop for a 5.67. Bourez was next on an overhead left. First turn was great. Super late, super hard, air drop to the flats. Poked it vertical a couple times, then did his weird arched-back extendo-snap on the shoulder. 6.83.
Freestone took the next. Backside floater, bonk, crack, crack. Pretty good. 7.6 good? I don’t really think so, but that’s what they gave him.
Bourez proceeded to sit out most of the heat. Let Jack have the line up. Freestone paddled around, caught a couple waves, didn’t improve on his score.
With a hair under six seconds left Bourez found the wave of the heat, then bashed it to death. Gave an “I’m happy I’m winning now” hand clap claim at the end. Freestone couldn’t find an answer. Caught a gooey left as the clock wound down. Took his fifth second round exit of the year.
Surf started picking up for Cathels and Ibelli. Overhead, open shoulders. Enough power to really drive hard off the bottom and up through the lip.
Ibelli made the most of it. Caught a pair of sevens, one high, one low. Aimed his nose at the pocket, pushed hard, earned the win.
What’s with all the pros forcing out babies these days? Ace has one on the way, Bourez is playing Llama and ditching the preggo wife at home. Gross. Kids are the worst.
This was the point I fell asleep. Damn time difference! But I need my rest. Get very cranky when I’m tired.
Now I’m sucking down coffee, playing catch up. So many heats to go. Good thing I have my new AeroPress! Got it as a gift, at first I wasn’t too stoked. Makes one cup of coffee at a time? What the fuck? How am I gonna suck down my daily pot’s worth? That’ll take forever.
Turns out it makes more than one cup at a time, and it’s damn tasty. Worth the effort. Strong and black and getting me absolutely wired to start my day. Hooray.
Stu Kennedy got an easy draw against Dusty Payne. The kid from Hawaii came out of the gates strong, then forgot how to surf. Finished with a blown-opportunity back-up score of 1.23.
Kennedy’s had a magic year, considering he kinda lucked his way onto the tour. I’m almost seeing shades of Machado. Kennedy surfs so fast, light on his feet. No real power but plenty of style. Unless this is a one-off year I can see a lengthy career in his future.
Next up were Coffin and Young. Conner dispatched Nat without much of a hassle. Solid power surfing, good wave selection. Nothing mind blowing.
Final heat of round two, Asing/Igarashi, was a fairly mundane affair. Igarashi was surfing better than he usually does. More commitment, more power. Asing didn’t really come through.
I ate dinner at Kenji Burger last night, my new favorite restaurant in Kapaa. Damn tasty stuff. They were playing surf clips, lengthy Asing freesurf part came on. Fuck, he rips. Wish he could do the same in a heat.
While I love Keanu I’m damn glad I knew better than to put him on my fantasy team. Failed to back up France. Put Kanoa into round three, where he’ll be facing ADS. I don’t need to be psychic to know that’s as far as he’s going.
Banting and Kolohe got round three started in a boring fashion. Both just surfing to make it through. Nothing challenging, not worth watching. Kolohe won.
Wiggly and Parko got more engaging. Both guys in form, pushing things. Joel found a sick one. Long backside tube, came out and milked it to death. 9.33. Typical Parko steez.
Wiggles was ripping, but he couldn’t find the same waves Parko did. Threw a few admirable hacks, didn’t play it safe. Just couldn’t help the fact that Parkinson was the wave magnet.
Fuck… this is running long. Let’s hit fast forward.
Wilson/Andre was a tight one. Julian won by .07. I disagree. Wilson’s final wave, a 6.47, was overscored.
ADS beat Igarashi. Yep. Of course. Kanoa picks up his ninth thirteenth place result of the year.
Bourez easily beat Ibelli. Worth watching is his 9.7 with six and a half left. I don’t see it. But it’s so far beyond the score I’d drop I can only assume it looked different from the beach.
The next two heats were what we’ve been waiting for. JJF against the wild card Frederico Morais, then Medina and Flores.
Beyond his family and friends, no one cares how Morais does. We’re in a title race, let’s go John John.
Florence did the thing where he sits and waits for a good one. It’s a tactic that’s cost him some heats. But not today.
His first wave, with about fifteen minutes left, was a safe and sound, top to bottom flow, backside whack crack smack. Five turns, each more critical than the last. Mr Florence can do better, but he’s looking to win, not wow. Judges rewarded him with an 8.5, which he promptly backed up with a 6.67 he could’ve sleepwalked through.
Better’d the back-up on his next wave, 7.77. Left Morais needing a 9.9 to get through. Basically combo’ed, only 3 and a half minutes left.
John John’s through to round four. Up next are Medina and Flores. Number two in the world because of WSL corruption!
Normally I’d call this a walkthrough for the Brazilian. Flores doesn’t do well with tactics, melts down, beats himself. But when Flores is on he is fucking on!
Medina came out swinging. Deep, if short, barrel followed by a layback foam slash/reo thing. Looked cool, put him in the lead with a 7.17. Flores on the next three waves. His first two solid, but slightly off rhythm and off balance. Combined they put him in the lead, but they weren’t enough to confidently beat Medina. He’d need to do better.
Number three was better. Three hard backhand smacks, ended it with a long floater. The whitewash rebound nearly caught him, but he rode it out and solidified his lead with an even eight.
The nerves got to Medina. Fell on his next three waves. Redeemed himself a bit with a 6.77, then pulled into a worthless closeout.
An opportunity came through, solid left that might’ve given him the lead. Gabby consistently manages to find scores come crunch time. But Flores wasn’t having it. Used priority to stuff the Brazilian, cracked his way into a 7.07, extended his lead.
Six minutes left, Medina got a decent wave and surfed it very well. Fins out hit, grab rail spin-slide, nothing cutback, ended with a beautiful layback gouge. Probably not enough, but you never really know where the score’s gonna go.
Unfortunately for Gabe, it was only a 7. Flores picked up the next one using priority, linked his way into an even bigger lead. 7.7
With two and a half minute left Medina needed a 7.91. But it wasn’t there. He found a nice tube to blob turn combo. Threw his hands up, begging for the score. But it was nowhere near enough, no matter how hard he tried to sell the lie.
Medina’s out in round three! No title for you!
Honestly, I don’t even care about the rest. John John’s gonna win the title! I just know it.
Seabass knocked out Kerr.
Pupo beat Slater in a convincing fashion.
Coffin killed the Llama. Wonder if he regrets trading the birth of his kid for a third round exit?
Stu Kennedy squeaked by Italo.
Jordy smashed Otton to bits.
That’s it for the day. Hasta mañana.