Big-wave surfer and noted commentator finds love while children play grab-ass in shallows!
Just when you didn’t think it would get any smaller, it did. And today’s 11:00ish A.M. start guaranteed a rising bump on the water from start to finish.
When I tuned in, guys were sitting 30-odd feet from dry sand, closer to the water’s edge than the kids wading and playing grab-ass in the distance. Such is the nature of truly dismal surf. Much like the conditions, it seemed that everybody had a case of the Wednesdays: the commentators seemed fatigued, the surfers were similarly weary and many betrayed visible frustrations with the scene. Shit, I felt bad for ‘em and I was office jockeying from 800km away.
But you know who I really feel bad for?
The Women’s CT. It just dawned on me that this contest is a goddamn CT for the women. Okay, save me the shit about how none of ‘em can do an air or surf when it’s big anyways. I can’t imagine busting my ass to ascend to the fabled ranks of high professionalism only to realize that one-foot windchop is the apex of my professional career. At least the QS men have the illusion of surfing Pipe and Supertubos and Chopes. The women? Mid-summer Huntington.
But you know who don’t give no fucks about some negligible windchop? Michael Rodrigues. After Crisanto and Italo turned up the volume on Tuesday, Miggy Rods got the party started in the first heat with 7 waves in 12 minutes, culminating in an effortless frontside reverse that was still memorable—remarkable, even—after watching three days of the same turn from all comers in the field. The whole heat was a four-man airshow. Which got me thinking about…
The Air Reverse as Kickflip. As usual the commentary is shit, but it’s a pretty good barometer of two things: first, what the present mental state of surfing (at least in proximity to the industry) and, second, what agenda the WSL is pushing in the background. Rodrigues, Seth Moniz, Cody Young, and Soli Bailey all threw and made multiple air reverses in the opening heat, forcing the commentators—if not the judges—to embark on a discussion about the nuance behind each guy’s style and approach to the same trick. Skate nerds know how big the “pro X has the best kickflip” debates are, and I’m kinda stoked to think that surfing’s level is so high, and ‘tricks’ so common that average surfers are getting into the minutiae of style, nuance, and approach that have long characterized wood & wheels. Ain’t every air reverse made the same. One conversation I’m not into is…
The endless and undying rotation discussion. I certainly don’t give a fuck if it’s a 360 or 540. Do you? (Editor’s note: Yes! Its a 540!) Well Chris Coté does and he couldn’t let it go for two whole heats, just like that semi-estranged uncle who wants to tell you that story again about the pretty hooker that he’s super glad he didn’t marry after all. Where I can get down with Coté and Mel is the idea that switch surfing is the future. I dunno to what extent it will ever register given the current criteria, but there’s gonna be a pro who only surfs frontside because his switch game renders the very idea of a natural stance obsolete. And that is gnarly to contemplate. You know what else is gnarly to contemplate?
Heat #18 had CT vets Banting, Freestone, Coleborn, and O’Leary going head to head. Banting took it out after riding only four waves and was completely candid about being sans sponsor after the win. Coleborn looked chappy and frustrated after missing a beauty of an early huck headed towards the pier. O’Leary, currently in residence on the CT, finished dead last (as did Wade Carmichael and Connner Coffin in their heats). Coupled with Brett Simpson’s last-place finish in a heat characterized by high drama lead changes and post-heat nail-biting, the whole landscape of Spartans in decline was kinda sad. But that sadness was tempered by…
Just how adorable Alejo Muniz’s son is. Alejo wins his heat easy, pops a pacifier in his six-month-old son’s mouth and marches him onto the post-heat interview, where the li’l guy kept clubbing at the mic and cooing at Rosy Hodge (Editor’s note: read about my date with comely Rosy!). If we can’t have drug-addled miscreants and weirdos in pro surfing anymore, I’m okay with having a legion of jovial guys with big smiles and cute babies.
Speaking of cute babies…Kanoa Igarashi looked in form with the day’s high total of 15.64. And as for big smiles, Evan Geiselman unsurprisingly held it down in the fairly Atlantic conditions, causing me to wonder why there weren’t more Floridians in the draw. I also wondered why the fuck he was wearing a lei in his victory chat. Apparently, some local chick comes down to the comp every year and gives Geiselman a lei. I’d make a crude joke, but perhaps the poor lass has a learning disability or something, so fuck you for thinking I was going there. Bigger than her crush on Ev though was…
Pete Mel’s crush on Wade Carmichael. After Mel and Turpel speculated over whether Rob Machado’s long hair was contractually obligated, Mel went all in on the finer points of Carmichael’s wildman marketing potential. The ideal client, per Mel? Harley Davidson. Wrong answer Petey, cuz guess what? The only thing Wade’s marketing is WSL Merino sweaters, the new worldwide avatar of tough and rugged!
Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS Round 2 Results:
Heat 17: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.83, Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.27, Cody Young (HAW) 11.40, Soli Bailey (AUS) 9.34
Heat 18: Matt Banting (AUS) 13.00, Jack Freestone (AUS) 12.20, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 10.50, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 8.57
Heat 19: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.97, Ethan Ewing (AUS) 11.43, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 10.63, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.56
Heat 20: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.33, Cooper Chapman (USA) 11.90, Parker Coffin (USA) 10.36, Parker Coffin (USA) 10.30
Heat 21: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.64, Nat Young (USA) 12.00, Artiz Aranburu (ESP) 10.90, Timothee Bisso (FRA) 9.43
Heat 22: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 14.00, Ian Crane (USA) 12.20, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 11.20, Marcos Correa (BRA) 10.67
Heat 23: Michael February (ZAF) 13.44, Benji Brand (HAW) 10.84, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.00, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 8.77
Heat 24: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.33, Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.97, Kyuss King (AUS) 9.23, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 6.87
Upcoming Vans US Open Men’s QS Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Kei Kobayashi (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Yago Dora (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 2: Ramzi Boukhiam (MOR), Reef Heazlewood (AUS), Heitor Alves (BRA), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 3:Kolohe Andino (USA), David Van Zyl (ZAF), Lucca Mesinas (PER), Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 4: Joshua Moniz (HAW), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Jesse Mendes (BRA), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 5: Deivid Silva (BRA), Ezekiel Lau (HAW), Cam Richards (USA), Thiago Camarao (BRA)
Heat 6: Bino Lopes (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Jorgann Couzinet (FRA), Victor Bernardo (BRA)
Heat 7: Italo Ferreira (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA), Tanner Hendrickson (HAW), Charly Martin (FRA)
Heat 8: Mihimana Braye (PYF), Peterson Crisanto (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Beyrick De Vries (ZAF)
Heat 9: Michael Rodrigues (BRA), Matt Banting (AUS), Ethan Ewing (AUS), Cooper Chapman (AUS)
Heat 10: Maxime Huscenot (FRA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Jack Freestone (AUS), Seth Moniz (HAW)
Heat 11: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Benji Brand (HAW), Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 12: Evan Geiselman (USA), Michael February (ZAF), Ian Crane (USA), Nat Young (USA)