And a notably sadistic edge in the roughing up that La Graviere delivered to the queen of surfing, Stephanie Gilmore…
Truncated day in France as competitors battled rambunctious close-out toobs generated by ex-hurricane Lorenzo in conditions described by longboard babe Kelia Moniz as a “giant toilet bowl”.
First, a quick apology for the low energy recap on day one. I know it was dog caca.
People are tired. Sick. It’s as if Medina is absorbing the energy of his opponents, demoralising them. Gabe is ascendant, romping around in his full power in his happiest hunting ground and looking in the rear view mirror he sees, what? A crippled Toledo, JJF sailing the South Pac, Jordy and Kolohe; both brittle.
I didn’t get my finger on the emotional tone for the day, which I only recognised later in my own pedestrian writings. The dominant mood was resignation. People are tired. Sick. It’s as if Medina is absorbing the energy of his opponents, demoralising them. Gabe is ascendant, romping around in his full power in his happiest hunting ground and looking in the rear view mirror he sees, what? A crippled Toledo, JJF sailing the South Pac, Jordy and Kolohe; both brittle.
Kelly with a cold, buckled board, sleep deprivation and sciatica, out of the Title race, freed up and surfing like a teenager. Making some kind of larger statement about his relevance to some fuzzy concept which will come into focus soon. Next year’s tour, the Olympics, a stinging rebuttal to his critics post-wavepool. His actions will speak louder than any words.
For now, past and future cease to exist for Kelly, the Goat is in the moment.
Sure, there is plenty of energy and movement in the back end, as Colapinto so ably demonstrated on day one when he dropped the “kids of at the pool” in the tornadoed Atlantic. Absent a Medina choke the story of Europe will be a smokey from the back end storming the beaches of the Olde World in search of liberation from relegation.
Why not Soli Bailey?
I recused myself from commenting on the rookie this year because I’m pals with Papa but it hasn’t been a good year. He had Toledo on the ropes at D-bah and when he failed to put him away that lost opportunity seemed to set in train a series of unfortunate events. More than anything he has surfed “short”, the turns pulled and judges hate that. Here in France, and later on Portugal and Pipe, that won’t matter. If he can decipher hieroglyphic lineups that would confound work-a-day surfers he’ll make it through.
Which he did today. One magnificent make on a throaty cave reminds us Bailey is a Pipeline winner. He has a long way to go and even an Asing-style French miracle might not be enough to get him onto next year’s CT.
I find close-out toobs confounding. So do you. So did the twelve male and six female surfers in the CT elimination heats today. Kolohe was entertaining. We are constantly being assured that he wants this (world) Title more than anyone but I don’t see the execution of a world champ, not yet. That haunting Teahupoo loss, where the Tahitian wildcard paddled past him and he sat mute with a confused and yet arrogant grin, still seems to stalk him.
Still, he was able to obtain no-fault eviction from collapsing french teepees, while French wildcard Marco Mignot could not and a hapless Jaddy Andre had to be assisted from the water after another pole-axeing in heavy water to add to the collection.
The sense of being freed up and somehow liberated extended to the booth. Strider was loose, extolling the pleasures of the flesh, American* libertines have always been drawn to the more relaxed attitudes of the French. Mel and Kaipo giggled nervously.
It was fun, compared to the scripted debacle of Tahiti, almost a revelation.
Judges were forced to give numbers to close-outs. A mid-threefor a non-make was a crucial score. Seabass ended up, agonizingly, heartbreakingly on the wrong side of a couple crucial non-makes while his babe looked on, crestfallen. Lacomare made the first proper tube-ride, a deep but scrappy left. His 9.10 was shared in the last heat by Conner Coffin, who overcame a comical start to post an equal score. His wave, which followed a broken board paddling out and some proper doughnuts from trying to smash close-outs, was the best of the day. He side-slipped down the face backside, with the fins somehow magically re-engaging behind a steely french curtain, emerging with the spit and a crotch-grabbing claim.
A Miley Cyrus claim?
All and sundry in the surfing world played merry hell poking fun at Kelly’s pool but I’d bet my left nut the women sent out in elimination heats today would have gone back there in a second if they had the chance. I favour kindness myself, but there was a notable sadistic edge in the roughing up that La Graviere delivered to the queen of surfing, Stephanie Gilmore.
She seemed to spend equal amounts of time in her heat on the beach, waiting for a lull, or getting ragdolled onto dry sand emerging with a resentful, sometimes quizzical expression on her face.
In the end, coach Jake Patterson chewed his lips dry and Gilmore was gone.
I wanted to watch the Red Bull air comp. I really did. The promos were cool and Vaughn Deadly was very high energy. Fifteen minutes in and no one had a good make. Next minute, Matt Meola and me were pulling bongs and he was teaching me how to rig livebaits to pitch to teased up marlin in the bluewater off Maui.
When I came to, my head was squished on the desk and white noise was coming through the screen.
It was over. Ian Crane won.
Quiksilver Pro France Elimination Round (Round 2) Results:
HEAT 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.66 DEF. Marco Mignot (FRA) 6.06, Jadson Andre (BRA) 2.46
HEAT 2: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.20 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 7.94, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 6.07
HEAT 3: Soli Bailey (AUS) 11.07 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.43, Deivid Silva (BRA) 4.30
HEAT 4: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.27 DEF. Wade Carmichael (AUS) 8.80, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 6.33
Quiksilver Pro France Round of 32 (Round 3) Match-Ups:
HEAT 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
HEAT 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
HEAT 3: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)
HEAT 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Marc Lacomare (FRA)
HEAT 6: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
HEAT 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jorgann Couzinet (FRA)
HEAT 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
HEAT 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Marco Mignot (FRA)
HEAT 10: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
HEAT 11: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
HEAT 12: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
HEAT 13: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)
HEAT 14: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
HEAT 15: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
HEAT 16: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Roxy Pro France Elimination Round (Round 2) Results:
HEAT 1: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 8.60 DEF. Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.37, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 6.97
HEAT 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 10.94 DEF. Silvana Lima (BRA) 7.63, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 7.53
Roxy Pro France Round of 16 (Round 3) Match-Ups:
HEAT 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)
HEAT 2: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)
HEAT 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)
HEAT 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)
HEAT 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)
HEAT 6: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
HEAT 7: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS)
HEAT 8: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Vahine Fierro (FRA)
Red Bull Airborne France Final Results:
1 – Ian Crane (USA) 5.83
2 – Nomme Mignot (FRA) 4.50
3 – Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 3.93
4 – Griffin Colapinto (USA) 3.77
5 – Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 3.73
6 – Finn McGill (HAW)