Filipe Toledo, looks spicy, maybe headed towards insurmountable title lead!
Greetings brothers and sisters of the eternal sun. Welcome to a drearyish little day at Teahupoo with a lackdaisical forecast graffitied over the Tahiti pro 2018.
I doubt a surfer alive wouldn’t straight away think: advantage Toledo.
And if he did take Tahiti, then became almost impossible to stop we’d all be balls deep in surfing’s most famous adult learner and pro surfing bankroller, as well as SIMA Waterman of the Year*, Dirk Ziff’s most-hated scenario. One, if I might add, that causes such confusion to the legions of new surf fans, that being an “insurmountable lead” in the World Title race.
V much was confusing in Ziff’s speech but that did make me roll eyes (constructively, not cynically). Does it not take a Tour to make a Title? If so, and points are awarded is it not an inescapable rub of the green that someone could generate an insurmountable lead?
The very real phenomenon of the confused new fan has its roots buried much deeper in the structure of surfing as sport. More on that later.For those short on time, the diamonds pulled out of the days South Pacific digging as follows. Italo, brilliant in heat three. Looking full strength. Biggest threat is injuring himself. Wildcard for this year’s Title, far more likely than Julian, Jordy or Owen for the next.
Gabriel Medina: scintillating. Very lofted tail-high punt with a greased landing in heat four. Typical superior selection of deep reef runners that grew down the line. Non-forecast dependent outcome.
Filipe Toledo, very spicy, very confident, total heat control in heat six. Dickie Toledo getting very, very fat. I feel after Jonny Cabianca’s assessment of Medina’s physique it is oaky to mention the increasingly buddha-like appearance of R. Toledo. A quick flick to the Facebook feed revealed seventeen hundred people logged on and revelling in Filipe’s earned mastery of head-high Teahupoo.
Julian offered a shaky performance in heat five against Parko and Tahitian wildcard Hiquily.
Like you, I love propaganda wars and so am eternally grateful for SIMA for awarding the Ziffs the waterfolk awards and smoking them out of seclusion. Ever since I broke the news during Bells 2012 that it was billionaire heir to the Ziff publishing fortune, Dirk Ziff, who was the mysterious money man behind the ZoSea takeover of the ASP I have been itching to get an insight into his thoughts and conceptual understanding of pro surfing.
To use the kindest, most constructive and non-cynical word I can muster it was… queer.
I have to assume the speech was proofed but by who? How could fake news like this clanger make it onto the public record?
“We continue to have an antiquated system for determining world champions, in which all events count the same, and points are simply added up until someone has an insurmountable lead, regardless of when that happens.
This all too frequently results in confusing scenarios at the end of the season. Many times since we have become involved, the new world champion was sitting on the beach, not even at the last event of the year, hoping for someone else to lose. This is when many fans tune out.”
This just didn’t happen. Not even once, let alone many times.
Twelve hundred engaged fans on Facebook watched a very entertaining all goofy-foot heat eleven. Ice-blue tubes under steely grey skies were threaded by Ace, by Owen and by Jesse Mendes. Leads see-sawed until in the closing stanza of the heat Ace speared one expertly then carved back into the best high rebound hook of the day. That was the heat.
With a feeble South Pacific storm track in the offing Commissioner Perrow strode boldly into round two. Julian Wilson will rue that decision. The late-afternoon lineup had turned somnolent on the high tide. Wilson opened with a mid-ranger against injured Tahitian wildcard Tikanui Smith. Smith responded with a similar score. Time, and Wilson’s world title hopes, seemed to drip away from the heat in extravagant dollops. Smith caught a small wave and took the heat lead with a low two. The Facebook feed, as if it contained an algorithm that could sense Wilson’s humiliation, had frozen.
JW sat in the lineup twitching and fidgeting like a tweaker on a Friday night. He set his jaw into the maw of an uncaring Pacific. It made me twitch; drama a wavepool will never be able to match. The clocked ticked down and Julian Wilson lost having ridden one wave.
That wasn’t the highlight of the day. The high point was a hard hitting interview Rosie Hodge conducted with WSL CEO Sophie Goldschmidt. Did you see? Did your jaw drop to the floor like mine? Sophie said the focus for 2019 was iconic locations as long as the reality of commercial considerations was taken care of.
Ok. No drama.
Then she dropped a bombshell.
She let fly a riff on Kelly’s surf ranch and the upcoming CT event there. She said they would be monitoring the results and we’ll “see how that features in the future”.
Huh?! I thought Soph was all in up to her eyeballs with “wave systems”. That was the plan, to bet the house on the tub. Now we find out it’s only a provisional commitment and the future is not yet written.
Oh Soph!, you do know how to keep your adoring surf journalist fans (me) on a string. Please tell me the tub is merely a novelty, maybe a QS location. Maybe what it always was and should be: a toy for billionaire adult learners and showcase for those with a messiah complex.
I think more of the same for tomorrow surf fans. And I hope Filipe wins (the Title) and doesn’t show up for Pipe. Sits on the beach in another country sipping a rum cocktail while Ricardo hits up the buffet, just so we can interpret Ziff’s speech as prophecy.
*Not to forget Natasha Ziff as co-winner.
Tahiti Pro Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 12.23, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.00, Joan Duru (FRA) 8.20
Heat 2: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.23, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 8.60, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.70
Heat 3: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.84, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.17, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.63
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.16, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 9.20, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 2.56
Heat 5: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.63, Julian Wilson (AUS) 10.67, Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 8.94
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.50, Yago Dora (BRA) 7.83, Tikanui Smith (PYF) 2.50
Heat 7: Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.16, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 10.84, Michael February (ZAF) 10.80
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.40, Keanu Asing (HAW) 9.50, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 7.56
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.96, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.17, Mikey Wright (AUS) 11.17
Heat 10: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.83, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 9.84, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 8.83
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.66, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.47, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.00
Heat 12: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 12.67, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 8.76, Conner Coffin (USA) 8.53
Tahiti Pro Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Tikanui Smith (PYF) 7.67 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 5.83
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.10 def. Mateia Hiquily (PYF) 6.67
Heat 3: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.00 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.94
Tahiti Pro Remaining Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 4: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
Heat 5: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Ian Gouveia (BRA)
Heat 6: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 7: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Keanu Asing (HAW)
Heat 9: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 11: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 12: Tomas Hermes (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)