Wildcard Mick out, Italo continues to flame, John John Florence shaky.
Two turn combo’s, grindy heats.
Tons and tons of grindy heats.
Tons and tons of fours and fives.
By the numbers this is pure mediocrity*.
By the end of the Aussie leg we’ll be up to our eyeballs in two-turn combos and grindy heats. But that won’t matter because Australia can support 4 CT’s. What happens next year is what’s most interesting.
Newcastle works as a CT venue.
Narrabeen works as a CT venue.
Do they ditch Snapper?
Bells is locked in, likewise Margarets.
The Search event will likely go the way of the dodo unless they can backdoor their way into some Classic regional break.
Possible, but unlikely.
Australia could do six CT’s easily. The funding is there. The crowd hunger to watch live CT surfing is there. We’ll watch intermittently and live comment our arses off.
I’ve always maintained a reasonable odds outcome if Ziff dumps pro surfing is the Aussie taxpayer picking up the bones of the Tour and making a decent fist of it. Six CT’s, maybe an Indo leg, Cloudbreak and a Pipe final. It doesn’t seem so outlandish all of a sudden, after seeing the enthusiasm for pro surfing that still exists in Sydney.
They mobbed White Lightning, shades of the Kelly-gasms’ that used to shudder through crowds of teenaged girls and middle aged men alike when the GOAT in his prime strode onto the sand.
Fanning didn’t come dead last.
He made it through the elimination round with a couple of slick two-turn combos.
He came second last. Italo stopped him stone dead, it was like watching the last Dinosaur suffocating in a mud bog somewhere. The answer to the question “Who in the Top 34 can stop Mick Fanning?” was answered pretty emphatically. All of ’em.
For all the talk of the “challenge” and the pressure that Mick was going to put on his opponents Italo paddled down the beach, surfed two close-outs within five minutes of each other and did two tail-high air reverses for a pair of sixes. Smothered him for the rest of the heat like a polyester suit, the kind old Eugene might have busted out for a big night in Surfers Paradise.
Micks 9.33 heat total would not have won any of the 12 Rd of 32 heats run this afternoon. Not one.
It wasn’t much of a heat really.
For all the talk of the “challenge” and the pressure that Mick was going to put on his opponents Italo paddled down the beach, surfed two closeouts within five minutes of each other and did two tail-high air reverses for a pair of sixes. Smothered him for the rest of the heat like a polyester suit, the kind old Eugene might have busted out for a big night in Surfers Paradise. Didn’t really matter in the end, the crowd got their Fanning fix.
It also solved the much bigger problem.
What if he won?
What to do then with the old bugger? Keep wheeling him out all year? Admit a man three years retired is still better than anyone on tour at riding two-to-three-foot beachbreaks?
The whole progression narrative would then have to be dumped, we’d have to admit stagnation in performance is a status quo.
Big, big problem for the League’s story-tellers and their shills.
There were some real strugglers today.
I’ve seen Conor O’Leary making mincemeat of sloppy, sloping lefts a squillion times. Today he sat, and sat. Seventeen minutes without catching a wave is a dud strategy. Wishing and hoping is not a way to win heats.
Mikey Wright was worse in his round one heat against Toledo. He rode one wave. One single wave. You need two. If you can hold your hand up to your face and count a thumb and one more finger you have the basic heat intelligence required to be a pro surfer. One. Two. You don’t want to end up back in the QS. Who the hell knows how that will shape up now.
Leo Fioravanti seemed like a good bet for these Aussie beach break events. A pair of sixes would have done the job. He ended up with a 9.57 total which would have beaten Fanning by a beesdick but hardly anyone else. It seemed like that Pipe play-off cursed both Wright and Leo. They’ve been dismal ever since.
Jeremy Flores called bullshit on the wave quality after squeaking through his morning heat. Explaining his exaggerated claim due to the fact he “can’t get motivated to surf these kinds of waves. The reason I’m tour is to surf amazing waves with only one other guy out”.
He called for a blocking interference in his heat with Jack Robinson after Robbo paddled from one end of the beach to the other to stuff him with priority. After looking at the rule it looked clear cut to me. Robinson made no effort to surf the wave, he merely took off to block Flores. The exact situation the rule was designed to prevent. Someone in the live comments** called Robbo the new bad guy, or potential new bad guy now that Medina has become surfings new Dalai Lama.
That could be a prophetic call. I hope Flores demands, and gets, a re-surf.
Medina looked OK, but in that sense where you get he’s just warming up. His best start ever. Could easily be leading by a country mile by the time Trestles comes around. Doesn’t matter though. Still has to find a way to solve the Italo problem.
JJF also looked OK, but in a much shakier, flakier way. The intent and the flair is there. Brittle completion rate remains an issue. Against Morgan Ciblic in the Rd of 16. If Morgs gets a solid start and makes JJF drop his lollies like he did at Newy that’ll put more pressure on for Margarets. It’s a very important heat for John.
It’s pleasing when little ol’ BG influences the booth.
After a long and gruelling campaign by yours truly and other commentors, Ethan Ewing finally surfed a heat without once being compared to Andy Irons. It was one of his better CT heats. Lots of very crispy big turns.
In a hypothetical final with Italo, if he didn’t get sucked into his game, those big turns might start looking very fresh after exposure to three million air reverses. Otherwise we are going to have pucker up our little pucker holes and ready ourselves for another Italo air show win.
*What’s surprising is how well pro surfing is wearing it. Quite entertaining.
**Sorry no attribution, forgot who.