Australian surfers crash to historic lows; Hawaiians dominate tour!
We witnessed a lot through the couple good days of competition at Sunset, including too many competitors riding shitty equipment, the continued ebb of Australian surfing, and the rise of the Hawaiians.
How does all that impact the rankings?
36. Liam O’Brien/Yago Dora
Absent the entire year so far, neither has really contributed any surfing to the Tour. In Yago’s case, that’s a shame.
35. Morgan Cibilic
Funny how the announcers keep asking if one of the rookies could be this year’s Morgan Cibilic (saying both names is paramount!). Here’s hoping for them that they aren’t. Don’t want them shitting the bed next year.
34. Carlos Muñoz
Injured and out of Portugal. Get better, my friend. We would rather see you fall off Tour on merit.
33. Ryan Callinan
Poor Ryan, having to coax his battered, oft broken spiderweb skeletal system to perform in Hawaii only to be thoroughly destroyed by Deivid Silva… bummer.
32. Callum Robson
Surfing like a statue suffering a bad case of camptocormia, Callum lost to the once future-and-caveated-and-heavily-excused savior and fellow Australian, Jack Robinson, in the Round of 32. His existence on Tour is merely to function as further evidence of the ongoing and in progress slow extermination of Oz as a surf superpower. Queen Ozma is dead and cannot save them.
31. Imaikalani deVault
A terrible two-event start for the rookie. Suffering a severe case of the fallzies, otherwise known as The Michel Bourez Staple, Imaikalani wasn’t able to make it out of the Round of 32, after looking rather sharp in his Opening Round heat. Had to knock him down a few spaces for the uninspired/lame board spray.
30. Lucca Mesinas
Surfing frontside definitely a weakness for Lucca, who appeared to have been following a strict script on every single wave he caught at Sunset, the list of maneuvers just to be checked off: takeoff fade, bottom turn, flaccid cutback two feet under the lip (with pronounced arm movement), a non-lip hitting turn or two, and fall or pull out.
29. Jackson Baker
Jackson performed well in his heat against Jordan, surfing a longer board that looked like it was created with the input of old keyboard warriors who can’t fathom adequately riding anything sub-6’8”, but still lost. Still, looked pretty good.
28. Frederico Morais
A pre-event favorite (or every single person’s darkhorse), the Pride of Portugal lost to Jaddy. That’s damning enough. Hopefully home treats him better.
27. Leonardo Fioravanti
Another Euro with a disappointing result. I would say something making fun of the fact that he’s Italian, as that is one of only three things I know about him (the other two being that he is friends with Kanoa and that he sometimes wears his hat backwards), but saying he’s really more Luigi than Mario is not funny.
26. Owen Wright
A dead last place finish for O-Dawg. Why did they waste a wildcard on him? Another Wright mystery. Fuck.
25. Miguel Pupo
After a semi-final appearance at Pipe, Miguel tumbled his way back down toward the bottom. Not that he surfs like the guy or that he definitely has had greater competitive success than him, but Miggy just made me think of Miky Picon. I think it’s the losing part.
24. Nat Young
Natty powered his much fawned over (by Ross) powerful thighs to a shitty scoring Round of 16 loss to Seth Moniz. Along with his California compatriot in the next spot, Nat’s place on Tour serves as a reminder that the Eldorado State produces a lot more sand and gravel than gold these days.
23. Conner Coffin
With two seventeenths in Hawaii and being outsurfed by a professional receding hairline, Conner must not be feeling too comfortable about the cut. The generational wealth should help.
22. Connor O’Leary
He had his singlet ripped off in one of his heats… gnarly.
21. Jake Marshall
Discharging his opponents, which included John John, on his way to a quarterfinal finish, young Jake had Scott Bass involuntarily ejaculating his pants repeatedly.
20. João Chianca
After exciting everyone at Pipe, João fell back down to Earth at Sunset. I’m sure there is something else I could say…
19. Samuel Pupo
Surfed well against current commentator apparent masturbation aid, Ethan Ewing, young Sammy didn’t really prove anything, except for that he’s pretty good (could be argued he should’ve won) and reminding everyone of how absolutely rank claims aimed at juicing scores are
18. Griffin Colapinto
Another bad result for Griff, who could easily blow 90% of the tour out of the water just surfing, but instead opts to ride shitty equipment and follow the advice of whoever his dumbass coach on “heat strategy” on his way to losing earlier than he should. Trent at the Home Depot in Mission Viejo is licking his lips at the thought of further Griff failures.
17. Shadow of Gabriel Medina Inside the Mind of Italo Ferreira
Absent the canvas to boost and surf like his jittery, exciting self, instead surfing looking like Beau Emerton’s cadaver, Italo suffered yet another early round loss. While I’m sure he doesn’t give a fuck about what Gabe is doing or whether he would care for the comparison, I can’t help but watch every Ferreira heat through the lens of “how would Medina perform?” in the same conditions (answer: probably a lot better).
Without Gabe competing, Italo is far and away the best goofy on Tour and with no one else within sniffing distance of his level of excellence to measure him against as a relative equal, it’s hard not to view his performance through that perspective. Is this something I’ve latched onto a little too closely because I lack any other faux interesting thing to say? Probably. Hopefully the back-to-back defending MEO champ can snap out of it.
16. Matthew McGillivray
So many people to talk about and pretend to have a take on (or their ridiculous 9.0 scores), I can only say that to sum up my feelings here would be to reference the word, “doldrums.”
15. Deivid Silva
I don’t care what the heat scores may say (others may have had better totals, I don’t really know), but Deivid was easily the best goofy out at Sunset… the benefit of looking like a garden gnome on huge waves probably helps… just ask Tom Carroll.
14. K-Hole Andino
Another year, another disappointment for the narrative that K-Hole is a legitimate World Title Contender, which everyone realizes is a fantasy.
13. Zeke Lau
Nice result for the Don-From-Napoleon-Dynamite-Vibe Hawaiian, even if he was one of the pre-event favorites. A quarterfinal is good for his re-qualification chances.
12. Jack Robinson
“If only the waves were huge like the first day.”
Has a more excused surfer ever existed on the World Tour, one held in such unearned high esteem as to exist in a state of permanent absolution for his inability to perform? I’d argue no.
Jackie’s under-performances are always rationalized away, usually by people saying stuff like the above quote, nothing is his fault. Understanding that people really think this these excuses are reasonable I ask: if a surfer ALWAYS requires perfect conditions in order to do well and destroy his opponents, doesn’t that mean he’s probably not as great as you think he is?
11. Ethan Ewing
A very good contest for Andy, who surfed his way, in his usual overly polished fashion, all the way to the semi-final, to every single commentator’s onanistic joy! Beating Fil, whose turns I much preferred, in the Round of 16 on the strength of one extra turn.
10. John John Florence
With his loss to Jake Marshall in the Round of 32, I had to drop him a bit. Not as low as I probably should’ve, but I’m not worried about him. He’ll turn it around.
9. Kelly Slater
After a Round of 32 loss that saw him get an interference against John John in the overlapped heat, Kelly Slater cried in his post-heat interview about hating Sunset. No, he didn’t really cry about it, rather he just pointed out that he doesn’t like the place while assigning it personhood in a semi-serious-do-not-really-understand-how-to-deliver-jokes way.
8. Jadson Andre
Every heat Jaddy surfs on Tour is a gift to him and an inspiration to everyone watching, proving just because you’re not the best as what you do, you can still make something of yourself.
7. Caio Ibelli
In the process of writing up these unsolicited Power Rankings, it is sometimes hard to come up with stuff to say about the actual surfing they do, as most of the time there is no real analysis to be had, as most often the guys suck or just didn’t surf well for whatever reason. Because of this, a lot of what I write seems shallow, like how I order people heavily based on simple results and how I might focus too much on making fun of someone’s looks or persona. What does this have to do with Caio other than that he’s ranked this high because he made the semis and is balding? I don’t know.
6. Jordan Michael Smith
Another Sunset favorite who didn’t do as well as he should’ve, Jordan is having a Jordan year. Ranked highly because he should do fine in cold water and be better over the next three events.
5. Seth Moniz
Another solid result for Seth, who eeked out a few squeakers to a quarterfinal finish that has him tied for second position on the leaderboard after two events. .
4. Barron Mamiya
The lack of exaggerated hype around Barron coming on Tour into the year, while understandable, considering his participation would come through wildcards rather than formal qualification, is surprising. Every rising star entering the big leagues, from Owen in 2010 to the Reincarnation of Andy in 2017, had more hype surrounding their entry to elite competition. Whatever the reason for this, it doesn’t really matter, he’s number one right now. He’s not ranked higher because of the uncertain status of his continued participation this year due him being only an injury replacement at this point.
3. Kanoa Igarashi
A nice runner-up result for the young American Japanese Portaguese dynamo. Maybe the local boy can produce some magic at the MEO.
2. Filipe Toledo
According to Pancho Sullivan in a story on the WSL website from 2017, “For the better part of 30 years Sunset Beach was surfing’s spiritual proving ground.” Its reputation as a proving ground carried through the contest, which confirmed one important fact about professional surfing: Filipe is the best surfer in the world on rail. There’s no real debate. Doing better in Hawaii than people expected he would, he should be able to surf his way to Trestles comfortably.
1. Makuakai Rothman
Easily the biggest winner of the contest at Sunset, where he became the best commentator the WSL has to call events, supplanting one-time Best Surf Commentator, Ross Williams, who probably at this point is too compromised (John John’s coach) to be considered any good.
Throughout the contest he was the only person in the booth who even attempted to analyze anything going on like in one instance that I remember (don’t know what heat) when he was explaining the different sections of the reef and how each should theoretically be approached, clearing the low bar set by others who usually can only say something stupid like “oh, this guy’s surfing well…”.
The WSL should keep Makua on, probably limited to the Hawaii leg to avoid his overexposure.
It will be interesting to see who the WSL has as part of the commentary team for Portugal. My hope is that somehow Ben Mondy can play the part of Rosy and have to take a post-heat interview with Slater. The GOAT surfer with the WOAT surf power rankings writer.