And further meditations on losing.
When it comes to the vexed issue of Pro Surfing we always think about winning because, let’s face it, we watch to see the freakish and the inspirational. We rarely think about losing but there is far more losing than winning and far more ways to lose than win, so maybe it’s time we did.
Easy enough for scribes to fuck it up. This afternoon, Australian Eastern Standard Time, they put the comp on hold and I gambled it would be off for the day and started drinking early.
Voila, they called it on and it was either drink my way through and lose all faculties or stop and deal with an early hangover before the night was through.
I stopped and in this mild funk offer a brief anatomy of losing.
In inconsistent and warbly speed-runners opportunity was scarce but there were enough for three people to have a swing. Bede Durbidge-lookalike Beyrick Devries found an early scorer then sat out the back like a buddha statue in a Bangalow garden: spiritual but impotent.
Jordy in the booth called bullshit on airs at J-Bay “It’s a turn wave,” he said sternly, “a rail event.” Jack Freestone calmly stomped an alley-oop with a late-tweaked rotation. Beyrick waited, and his winning wave came. He limped along it, under surfed it and failed to get the score required.
Way to lose number one: Surfing conservatively, nervously or tentatively on a wave and leaving too much in the tank. Worst way to lose.
Seth Moniz was all over heat two. The battle to avoid last place was far more interesting. Ace Buchan fell off, and fell off again. He was caught behind on a prime set wave. In the Aussie parlance, having a shocker.
Couzinet had problems of a different dimension.
He had no idea what the wave was doing. Out of flow, turns in the wrong spot. “Trying to find chemistry” as Ron Blakey so aptly put it. A disjointed, jagged attack on the wave of the heat pushed him into second place and it seemed like Ace’s shocker would be the reason to lose. Ace blitzed a medium sized wave and got the score to advance. Couzinet lost.
Way to lose number two: Inexperience at a specialist wave resulting in an out of sync performance.
The only time we normally focus on losing is when the judges take it into their hands and get the result wrong. Like when Fred Morais got a ten at J-Bay 2017 and knocked out JJF. Freddie didn’t need any judging help today. Nor did Jeremy Flores, the only surfer in the Losers Round who looked capable of going anywhere in the draw.
His power carves with the extra sting in the tail are now the closest thing we have to JJF’s turns, with a more classic configuration. It was Jesse Mendes who got sat in the dunce corner. Two strong rides completed and a third set wave that didn’t quite co-operate. In the end, the numbers didn’t add up.
Way to lose number three: Outsurfed by superior opponents and not enough risk taken.
Heat tour was an all-Brazilian affair and I thought Jaddy Baby might suffer the same fate as Jesse Mendes. Not self-destruct but just fail to bring enough firepower to the heat and be scored too low. Which has been his problem his entire CT career, apart from the big win over Slater in Brazil in 2010.
How do get past that? You bring your best, good enough to win QS events until the crack of doom and CT judges look at it and say “Nah mate, not good enough.” Which is what they did.
Way to lose number four: Just not good enough. Brutal assessment but that’s what is happening.
Jordy was sensational in the booth; he brings an edge to the game. I think him and Ronnie would create some magic. Filipe was a bit too modern Christian bland, if one can make that observation in this day and age. Jordy Smith the only man standing between Filipe Toledo and a three-peat? I think, yes. I don’t understand the draw and seeding system, is there an astro-physicist in the house?
Elimination Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Jack Freestone (AUS) 15.93 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 11.40, Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 11.14
Heat 2: Seth Moniz (HAW) 14.27 DEF. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.03, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 11.73
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.84 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.23, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.83
Heat 4: Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 13.07 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.20, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.86
Round of 32 Matchups:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 5: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
Heat 8: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Michael February (ZAF)
Heat 10: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 11: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)
Heat 13: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
Heat 14: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Heat 15: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Heat 16: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)