People lose, we win!
Five of my Fantasy guys are in round two, so for the sake of this analysis, let’s hope a majority of them survive. The waves look fun again, so let’s get this party started!
But first, let’s jump back 14 hours to what Nick Cannon described as the WSL’s “minor desperation in bunging on two heats out of nowhere late on a Thursday afternoon.”
Mikey vs. Michel
The late afternoon, low-tide conditions at Snapper looked thoroughly enjoyable. Mikey’s tight, powerful surfing suited the steep transitions, and he was able to put together a few solid combos. He really could be a Tour surfer, if he tried.
Michel got a mini-tube for a solid eight-pointer. He needed a five in the dying seconds, but his buzzer-beater attempt was a barrage of jerky, forced flicks, resulting in a high-four and heat loss.
Kelly vs. Nat
Poor Nat. He did everything he could in this abbreviated comeback tour, but besides the trials win, nothing’s gone his way in the past year. Surely he’ll re-up through the QS within the next two seasons.
Kelly’s board looks very buoyant. This means ample flow between maneuvers but a slight diversion from rail-soaking maneuvers. I honestly prefer this from the old man, as I’ve grown tired of watching him bog on the little Banana. If he continues to pick the right waves and maintain his flow, he could compete his way into the finals.
Aaaaaand it’s morning on the Goldy again! Sun rising to right of screen etc.
Filipe vs. Zeke
It’s not 8 AM and already contest favorite has fallen. Filipe looked out of sorts – bad wave choice, misreading sections – and paid the price against rookie Zeke Lau. Fil nearly saved himself with a patented full-roter but lost his footing in mid-air. Despite eventually coming down with the maneuver, he was unable to surf the rest of the wave and therefore fell short of the required score.
Zeke surfed well on the waves he was dealt, but you can tell he’s yet to unleash the beast. He got his scores then played the priority game in the last few minutes, winning in veteran fashion.
Seabass vs. Jack
Jack picked off a gem to start but again safety-surfed to a seven. He rode his next wave with more tenacity and dropped a six for two turns, which was a welcome reprieve from his twelve-flick seven. Such is the crux of catching a perfect wave — you’re so focused on not blowing it that you forget to actually surf. Jack then sat with priority and never picked off another good one.
After a sleepy start, Seabass started swinging. He wasted his time on a few duds but was ultimately rewarded for his scavengery with a pair of eights. Seabass was the first to realize the best waves reside about halfway down the bank. Freestone footed the bill on that discovery.
Josh vs. Ian
Josh Kerr couldn’t have surfed a worse heat. He picked off a few good waves, but either fell or was too deep on all of them. His one decent ride put him in a position to make the heat, but he never found a back-up. He’s gotta be kicking himself right now.
Ian got away with murder here. His poor wave selection and clunky turns continued from round one, though this time he at least broke into double-digits. To compound his shitty surfing and wave choice, Ian made a major priority error at the end of the heat (when Kerr only needed a small score) but somehow held onto the win. He needs a complete reboot before round three.
Jeremy vs. Ace
The goofy-regular dichotomy unloaded at Snapper for an electric thirty minutes. While Ace paced his way through waves, picking apart the steeper sections with a 12 o’clock attack, Jeremy used his rail to bisect the turquoise walls.
Both surfers conjured upper-fifteen scorelines but it was Jeremy who eked out the win. This comes as a relief to the Frenchman who, as recently as yesterday, has historically suffered from close losses.
This was a great heat despite the atrocious use of claims.
Italo vs. Italy
Did I ever call 50% of this heat’s outcome! Sure, yesterday’s prophecy of Leo got unlucky with waves today, but I see him making a few rounds at this event went to shit. But what about, Oh how I adore the little pipe bomb that is Italo Ferreria. He didn’t amaze today but soon… soon?
And did the little pipe bomb dismantle your perception of reality, or definitely? After an impressive display of wave catching and quick-twitch score manufacturing, Italo was gifted a closeout wedge. He hucked and spun and fell and somehow popped out of the whitewater ten yards away from where he’d entered it. The little bugger then proceeded to ride white water for ten seconds, followed by a pop-shuv it and switch float-climb, because why not? 10 points!
Caio vs. Joan
The world’s best backhand went limp in round two, which is a bummer, because he actually would have won most heats yesterday. Joan’s a proper shred, he’ll come back firing at Bells.
Caio dropped the hammer today. A combination of clever wave choice and big boy turns led the diminutive Brazilian to an easy victory. This is how he won rookie of the year in ’16.
Conner vs. Bede
For the majority of this heat, Connor and Bede traded rides so dull that I found myself losing interest mid-turn. They looked so busy trying not to fall that neither of them remembered to win the heat.
The only noteworthy moment came from the final exchange when, needing a mid-range score, Conner delivered two legitimate layback hacks. Like… the kind where your board goes past 6 o’clock and you might actually fall if you don’t recover properly. Eight pointer, heat winner.
Stu vs. Ewing
The wave that delivered Stu’s nine-pointer was so far superior to anything else in the heat, Stu could have surfed it at 60% and still gotten a seven. Instead, he unleashed one of the maneuvers of the comp and even tried to cap it off with a punt. I respect that type of recklessness, especially when it pays off. Stu is back on my good side. (Interesting note: this score was changed from an 8.9 to a 9.1. Don’t know how or why.)
Ethan never got in a rhythm, but he ripped the shit out of an eight-pointer in the dying seconds. Kid sure can surf, but I see him having a rough year on tour.
Kanoa vs. Connor
Kanoa’s board looks too big and his eight was wildly overscored. He also fell for the rookie’s priority trick at a crucial moment, leading to his competitive demise. On a positive note, the weight of the streak is finally lifted from Kanoa’s bronzed shoulders! He’s free!
Connor surfed better today. In fact I’m almost ready to accept his presence on Tour. The priority steal from Kanoa followed by a last-minute eight makes me feel a bit of endearment towards the Aussie-Irish-Japanse kid. Plus, that backside whip is lethal.
Wig vs. Mig
Both Mig and Wig have a surplus of style, flow, and back foot Whaaapaaaaa. Considering their turns are so similarly awesome, this heat came down to wave selection and Miggy reigned supreme. I recommend watching and re-watching this heat if you’re a fan of backside surfing.