The meditative nature of yachting! It's beautiful!
Briefly, brave little Hawaiian Keanu Asing is the toast of Hossegor and of world surfing. And let’s sing and do little dances on the spot and praise Jesus and so forth because there is nothing more edifying than watching a man defy the longest odds in sporting history.
But, if we zoom out, we must concede that there is one surfer, above all, who matters. And that is, of course, and obviously, John John Florence. His seven-part web series Twelve, made by Bill Ballard, and peerless I believe in its ability to strike a narrative, continues its excellent form in episode four.
We sail with John John along the Hawaiian coast, cut to a narration by John on the meditative nature of yachting, and of surfing, of their essential, and complimentary, simplicity.
“Surfing and sailing, it’s doesn’t seem like there’s any limits. You’re trying to learn about a natural force that’s never the same. It’s going to scare you at times and it’s going to be the most beautiful things at times. But. The most exciting thing about the ocean is you don’t know what’s coming. It’s all being an artist in your own way and being creative in your own lines.”
Finals day of the Quik Pro! Carissa Moore won the battle, but Tyler Wright won the war! Champion of the world! Campeon del mundo! I don’t speak any other languages.
Good for her. I can’t properly express how much I love the lady and the power she’s brought to the women’s tour. It’s always kind of a bummer when the title doesn’t come down to Pipe, but the ladies don’t compete at Pipe, so that was a stupid thing to write.
Plenty of excitement on the men’s side too. Finals day saw fun looking surf. A little disappointing, we’re all hoping for sandy brown dredgers. But it was competition worthy. Shoulder-high to a grown man, glassy, the type of surf that’d have you salivating at your local. It’d be jammed packed to the gills crowded, and you’d probably leave the water angry, but in those few blissful moments before you paddled out you’d be on top of the world.
Keanu Asing has been on fire the entire event. Surfing smart, surfing well. Doing what it takes to win these days. Doing it flawlessly.
His semi-final heat against the tour leader was busy busy busy. Twenty waves between the two surfers, split down the middle.
The conditions handed Asing a pretty hefty advantage. His diminutive size meant that, while Florence was surfing slightly weak shoulder high lefts, Keanu was going top to bottom on overhead walls.
Asing grabbed the lead early, Double-J snatched it back with a double tap to kick slide reverse. A paddle battle for priority ensued. Florence won it, grabbed the first wave of the set, left Asing out the back to pick up the better one.
Florence grabbed the lead, but he wasn’t surfing as well as he could. Asing was surfing the best he ever has, within the confines of a heat. I’ve never seen him freesurf.
I’m writing it off to the the size advantage Asing enjoyed, but they looked like they were surfing on different days.
Keanu drove the first nail in JJF’s coffin at the midway point. Grabbed one outside, put everything he could into each turn, hopped across the flat section and smacked the oncoming lip pretty hard. 8.67. Backed it up immediately with an 8.1 on his next. Put John John in a hole he couldn’t dig himself out of.
Florence didn’t lay down, gave it his best. Found an 8.4 with roughly three and a half minutes left. Solid backhand smacks, a cool little lip clicker backside ollie 180 halfway through. But the judges aren’t really rewarding that level of kinda-aerial surfing these days. Nor should they.
Florence needed an 8.38 as the heat wound down. Twenty seconds left and a likely number rolled through, but Asing played smart, used his priority, and surfed it to the beach. Extended his lead, and grabbed the second best result of his career so far.
Sucks for John John, but still… third place is pretty solid. He retained the tour lead going into Portugal. With only two events left, and one of them being Pipe, you know Florence can taste the trophy.
Up next was Kolohe/Medina. Another busy heat, another twenty waves ridden.
Asing dropped a classic quote during his interview with Mel.
My body’s little. Running up the sand and stuff, it’s hard.
The swell delivered a nice pulse early on, both surfers put it to use. Kolohe with two solid turns and a fall on the end lip climb/floater thing. Medina tore the bag out of the following for an 6.33. Andino got the better score, a 7.33, which was confusing. But totally inconsequential as Medina’s next wave put them both to shame.
It was an impressive display of tactical confidence. Medina dropped out mid paddle battle, spun around on a crumbly left, left Kolohe to grab priority.
Two okay speed taps, the second off balance. It lined up, he pumped hard and boosted a big lofty alley oop. Stomped it perfectly. Then he did something I loved. He didn’t claim shit. He kept surfing! Tossed three nice little maneuvers onto the end. Put a stamp on it. Took the lead. 8.83.
The pulse disappeared and the next twenty-odd minutes saw the pair do their best with what the ocean offered. Which wasn’t a hell of a lot. Kolohe put in work, caught another seven waves, but couldn’t find anything the judges loved.
Holding priority with two minutes left, Andino took off on a bigger wave that looked to hold the potential for the score he needed. But he chose poorly, it fattened up like a freshman college girl, ending with Medina out the back holding priority as the clock wound down.
Twenty seconds left, Medina grabbed an inside puppy that stood up for him, top to bottom combo’ed it all the way. Finished with a go straight, “I’ve won” chop hop. Nine point zero. I wonder, if he’d fallen on that, would the judges have deducted points? Mysteries abound.
Kolohe caught one more wave, but Medina’d put him in a combo with his last, and that was all she wrote.
I’m not good with numbers, but this puts Kolohe, theoretically, in the title race, yeah? I mean, he’d pretty much have to win the next two events, but…
The men went on pause while Carissa and Wright paddled out for the final. As I’ve mentioned, Moore won it. By a wide margin. But that didn’t really matter because second place put Tyler Wright far enough in front of the pack to clinch her first title.
Asing and Medina. Tough draw for the Hawaiian, no way I’d bet on him. But you can’t script this shit! Right? Right!?!?
The surf dropped, neither surfer delivered anything magic. Asing continued to stay low and make it look like it was six feet rather than two.
Medina seemed rattled. Wasn’t surfing his best. Delivered a career highlight fuck-up with 1:38 left.
It was a small, closeout right. Not a good wave, but you never know with Medina. Two pumps and a backflip could be dropped, if he gets lucky.
So Asing played tactics, paddled in from the shoulder with priority to hold Medina off. Gabriel kicked out, clipping Asing with the nose of his board as he went.
Honestly, it looked like he barely touched Keanu. The Hawaiian could’ve probably made the drop no problem.
But this is sport. I’m not calling it a dive. Asing drew a foul. Masterful. Always delicious to see Gabby on the wrong side of a tactical blunder.
Interference! Though, unless I’m mistaken, it didn’t really matter. Asing had the scores he needed to win regardless. No asterisk needed. He used his talent, not tactics.
And that’s how Keanu Asing won a fucking world tour event. I didn’t see it coming. Did you? Yes? You’re lying.
Asing moves up to 21st, above the cutoff. I sincerely hope he maintains his momentum. I love the little guy.
Watch highlights here!
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE FINAL RESULTS:
1- Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.94
2- Gabriel Medina (BRA) 7.00
QUIKSILVER PRO FRANCE SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Keanu Asing (HAW) 16.94 def. John John Florence (HAW) 16.07
SF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.83 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.03
WSL Women’s Top 5 (after Roxy Pro France):
1. Tyler Wright (AUS) 67,700
2. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 59,400
3. Carissa Moore (HAW) 54,400
4. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 48,400
5. Johanne Defay (FRA) 43,650
WSL Men’s Top 5 (after Quiksilver Pro France):
1. John John Florence (HAW) 48,150
2. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 45,450
3. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 38,250
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,700
5. Kolohe Andino (USA) 32,150
For one day! After winning Quiksilver Pro France! And smashing both John John and Gabi!
Did you have your money on the Little Frangipani to win the Quiksilver Pro France? Did you have him on your Fantasy Team chewing through Kelly Slater here, John John Florence there? Did you think he would decapitate ex-World Champ Gabriel “Gabi” Medina in the final? That he would stamp Gabi’s passport and send him to Comboland?
Is your spirit soaring right now? Do you feel that what you learned in preschool just might be true? That you can accomplish any goal you set your mind to? That even if you want to be President of the United States of America you could?
Do you feel the Oval Office is, as of a few minutes ago, nearer to your grasp than ever before? Will you come up with a catchy slogan? Like Make Anderson Straight Again?
Will you do something at work today that you might have been afraid to try yesterday? Like make up a nonsensical phrase to call one of your co-workers?
Did you hear Ross Williams call John John Florence the “Blonde Popcorn Head?”
The SUP hydrofoil is here! Are you...... thrilled?
Hydrofoil surfing is much the rage what with Kai Lenny lapping waves etc. And what a ambassador he is no? Very handsome, very skilled, very brave, very magnetic. He is like a mix of Kelly Slater and Laird Hamilton and I wonder, as he ages, if he will eclipse them as the most popular surfer alive.
Do you think?
In any case, remember a few months ago when the Japanese surf icon Yu Tonbi Sumitomo almost decapitated himself with a foil? Read here! Jamie Mitchell responded, at the time:
So lately I have been asked consistently about my thoughts on the so called “NEW” foil popularity and haven’t really said much but, yesterday, sadly, I saw a photo that I knew was coming sooner then later.
Foils are for open ocean swells, outer bombies and places where there are no people or very few people doing it together. Foils are dangerous. Very dangerous. And do not belong in the surf zone with the masses and general public.
And it makes very much sense.
Yet, I have been seeing more hydrofoil SUPing across social media these days and personally can’t think of anything more dangerous in the lineup. I would rather wander to my local break and see a shark’s fin prowling between waves than someone who is already inclined to SUP with an aluminum blade set to disembowel for good measure.
But does this thinking only expose the hardness of my heart? Is it like a man clutching a cassette tape while sneering at shiny CDs telling anyone who will listen that the new technology is creepy?
Am I that man?
The one who caresses his Case Logic soft CD carrier while sneering at the iPod telling anyone who will listen, “But where is the music? Where does it fit?”
The WSL's only partner, Samsung, makes a trick phone! Fun or no?
It is impossible not to know that Samsung and the World Surf League are best of friends. The Korean conglomerate known for clothes dryers, forklifts, baby monitors and cellular telephones is the sole sponsor of professional surfing’s championship tour (aside from Jeep Leaderboard). Should we watch a commercial? But of course!
Wonderful! Touching! Poetic even! Charlie Medina communicating with his young stepson via Samsung’s powerful Galaxy 7. Sending lonely but proud Gabi text messages like HIT THE LIP WITH MORE POWER (except in Portuguese) or VAI MEDINA!
But do you know what Gabi should text back?
DROP THE PHONE AND RUN, CHUCK! YOUR GALAXY IS GOING TO EXPLODE YOUR FACE! LIKE SOME JAMES BOND STUNT! ONLY WORSE! FAR WORSE! YOU’LL BE UNABLE TO SMILE FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!
And it’s true! Have you read the news? Let’s now! The newly respected USA Today writes:
Power down your Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phone now.
Whether you’ve hung onto the original Note 7 or exchanged it for one of the replacement devices, Samsung and federal regulators are urging consumers to turn the device off because some of the phones — including replacement units — are overheating when charged.
“No one should have to be concerned their phone will endanger them, their family or their property,” U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission Chairman Elliot Kaye said in a statement emailed to USA TODAY. “Due to the ongoing safety concerns associated with Galaxy Note 7 phones, it is the right move for Samsung to suspend the sale and exchange of all Galaxy Note 7s.”
The South Korean electronics giant, meanwhile, issued a statement late Monday, in which it asked “all carrier and retail partners globally to stop sales and exchanges of the Galaxy Note7 while the investigation is taking place.”
And do you think WSL CEO Paul Speaker has powered his Samsung Galaxy 7 down? Has it maybe already singed his cheek? Did Graham Stapelberg come running with an ice pack and caressing words?
“There there Mr. CEO, sir. It’s ok that our only sponsor is going up in smoke. We’ll get another for sure! 1000000000000000890760000 watch professional surfing, remember?”
I think maybe yes! And I sure do wish BeachGrit had a Graham Stapelberg. What a sweetheart!