Hossegor wraps in fine, six-foot velvet…
Justified criticism from Tired of Winning and Nick Carroll that yesterday’s wrap was unjustly harsh to Keanu Asing, or that I wasn’t qualified to deliver the message. Maybe it was but nothing personal.
The harder the WSL wraps its athletes in fairy floss and spins magical thinking into them the more disposed I feel to tell the brutal truth. They spent the majority of Keanu’s stint in the booth quizzing him on how to win heats.
That was cruel. This is a man who clearly does not know how to win heats. His rookie year was so bad that even with an event win he was kicked to the QS curb. His return year, 2018, is even worse. The better, if much harder and more awkward questions would be: why do you keep losing and what do you need to do, to improve, to win heats?
Convict logic? Jumped the shark?
Instead of pumping the guy up with false hope and a bland denial of reality wouldn’t it more humane, as well as more sporting to simply state the obvious: the guy ain’t cutting it on the CT. At least give him a chance at some honest self-reflection and chance to improve. Pete Mel could simply observe his skill set isn’t up to scratch, his surfing is well below the criteria rather than the incessant droning that “He belongs here, he’s got a huge heart etc etc”
I say the numbers don’t lie and Asing’s are woeful. Nowhere near CT standard. Instead of pumping the guy up with false hope and a bland denial of reality wouldn’t it more humane, as well as more sporting to simply state the obvious: the guy ain’t cutting it on the CT. At least give him a chance at some honest self-reflection and chance to improve. Pete Mel could simply observe his skill set isn’t up to scratch, his surfing is well below the criteria rather than the incessant droning that “He belongs here, he’s got a huge heart etc etc”
In so many cases: Ethan Ewing, Matt Banting, Mike February, just to name three off the top of my head, there are many others, pro surfers seem helplessly caught in this spider web of deceit – an innocent fraud, to be sure – being wrapped around them in the guise of …. what? Kindness? Positivity? A memo written from middle management?
Positivity and kindness are great for children and the elderly but to sports people we owe the truth. It just works out better for everyone that way. My personal qualifications to deliver that message? In a BG surfwriter man-on-man or man on woman surf off at Surf Ranch I would beat Chas, only because he has a busted wing. Otherwise, just a guy who can read and understand numbers.
Snake is doing it right. Colapinto straight away fingered the reason for his heat loss: caught between two mindsets, even with Rosie coming in too hot. And he surfed an amazing heat. Zeke, even if the chest thumping is not to your taste ( I dig), has quickly figured how to win pretty and win ugly.
Dream day today in France. Six-foot glistening beachbreak. A day when pro surfing stands and delivers. You can never really foretell these moments, they just seem to pop up randomly like a magic mushroom in a cow paddock after rain. Ready to blow your mind.
Three-man Round 4 heats seem to deliver the magic. The first one with Connor Coffin, Jordy and Wilko was tight. Connor seemed a bit highballed for point-and-shoot tube rides. Jordy had mid-rangers. The crucial wave around which the heat turned was ridden by Matt Wilkinson with 9.42 remaining in a 30 minute heat. It was a wave which defined his whole year. He went upside down tight in the pocket on a medium-sized right. Once, twice, four times. A low six all day every day. He needed a 5.9. Judges gave it a 5.57, just .3 better than a two turn wave he opened on. It was perplexing.
Wilko was close to tears in the presser. Cooked on the inside and out.
“It felt like a point better,” he said “but it wasn’t.”
What now? Back to the QS? Or a devastatingly truncated career ending? There are no good options left for Wilko unless he wins Portugal and Pipe. I may be jumping the shark again here but the chances of that are nil.
The next heat will likely be the heat of the contest. Maybe the year. De Souza, Callinan and Cardoso. It opened right up, became Rimbaud’s famous banquet from Une saison En Enfer at which all “hearts opened and all wines flowed”. Callinan blitzed the place with an improved Occy approach. Actually more like another Australian goofy-foot who came and went too quickly, Shaun Cansdell.
The great Adriano De Souza answered back. If there is anyone qualified to speak about winning heats, both through strategy, mental warfare and adapting skill set it is ADS. The first to get under Slater’s skin after AI and rattle his cage. One of the very few to totally update and perfect a skill set when most ossify and stagnate. For the first time all event a crowd on the beach felt the vibe. Callinan finished with a pair of nines. Check the analyser but it won’t have the sudden impact of the live viewing.
The next two heats mellowed out. Medina looked insane but still lost to Mikey Wright in round four. Rosie bought that to his attention and he gave a little smirk.
“We’ve had some weird heats,” he said “but I can’t say nothing.”
The Quarters were sick. Connor smacked a wave starved De Souza, who got lost paddling in the rip. I haven’t got the stats in front of me but I know R-Cal enjoys a solid winning record against Jordy and despite a patchy middle section of his heat he beat him comprehensively.
Julian and Mikey had the best Quarter of the four. Whatever Julian has done since Surf Ranch his surfing has never looked so free and so radical. He opened with a greased straight air to the flats first wave. Intention noted. A tad past the half way mark he pumped three times and launched a straight slob air, very high,that made a mockery of the red bull Air show. Judges lowballed it and in the end the heat looked closer than it was. Mikey was outclassed.
Final quarter was Medina hunting a line-up in the throes of deterioration from a niggling S wind and raging tidal flow. No man alive flenses the carcass of a decaying beachbreak like Gabe Medina. He proved that in last years Final and again, although the scores looked close at the end and Seabass surfed insane Gabby was dominant from start to final siren.
God it’s a relief when the back markers get out of the road and a man can be truly and honestly positive. I think the Tour should be stripped back after Surf Ranch and enter Europe lean and mean.
What? You think that’s convict logic too? PS: How good does Mikey Feb look on a Red Beauty?
Ah shit…. mutherfucker. I tapped again and hit the couch, thinking they would finish tomorrow. A little bing woke me up. They are finishing. They are finished.
Semi finals in classic French high tide left-hand shorebreak. Good looking crowd of mostly healthy people. R-Cal riding the wildcard dream wave over Coffin.
No great insight to pick another epic showdown between Gabe and Julian Wilson as the heat of the contest. And that was what it was. Totally nutty. Julian threw an air, Gabe launched. Wilson greased a huge corked, inverted backside rotor. Judges took an age to award a unanimous ten. Gabby rode a million more waves but couldn’t find the one to equal the boost. Again, it made the air show redundant.
What is it with all the studs getting their rigs out in the pressers? Is that building the audience?
A fog delay. Unbelieveable. They start the final. R-Cal gets a score, then another. The fog moves in again. I am hallucinating off my head. Sun sets, five minutes to go. Julian lays out another fully corked tail high backside rotation. That’s it.
Thats the victory.
Time to swill the Wilson kool-aid.
Quiksilver Pro France Final Results:
1 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.34
2 – Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.23
Quiksilver Pro France Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.30 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.43
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 16.67 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.44
Quiksilver Pro France Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Conner Coffin (USA) 13.50 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 7.83
QF 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 15.77 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.03
QF 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.10 def. Mikey Wright (AUS) 14.23
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.44 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 10.73
Quiksilver Pro France Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Conner Coffin (USA) 12.50, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.20, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.80
Heat 2: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 18.53, Adriano De Souza (BRA) 16.50, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.44
Heat 3: Mikey Wright (AUS) 13.96, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.90, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 6.70
Heat 4: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.90, Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.10, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.07
2018 WSL Men’s CT Jeep Leaderboard (After Quiksilver Pro France):
1 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 51,770 pts
2 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 51,450 pts
3 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 47,125 pts
4 – Italo Ferreira (BRA) 33,490 pts
5 – Jordy Smith (ZAF) 32,020 pts