Ten hours of competition and four competitors eliminated, three wildcards and poor Seth Moniz.
We’ve had two days of competition at Margaret River already, three if you’re counting both men and women, more than ten solid hours of competitive surfing on the men’s side, and what are we left with?
Elimination of Jack Thomas, Ben Spence, Jacob Wilcox and Seth Moniz.
Two surfers we’ve never heard of and might not again. One whom we recognise as a previous early exiting wildcard, and poor Seth Moniz.
(See yesterday’s piece for explanation of the latter.)
The most interesting contribution that Jacob Wilcox made was “words” with Zeke Lau in the morning warm up, following a drop-in and a flicked board from Zeke.
The idea that the number of surfers in each event needs to decrease is a firmly beaten drum. I’ve always quite liked the variety of surfers, styles and talents and felt a diverse field was more interesting, but I have to concede this is dead wrong.
As surfers we venerate the stylists and the specialists, but competition is competition. Talent matters, but winning mentalities matter more.
It has also been strikingly apparent recently that the selection of wildcards needs to be better. It’s not consistent, nor effective. Some are chosen by sponsors, some by the WSL, but few are successful in heats. For the most part, you can safely pencil them in to exit at the earliest possible opportunity.
If a wildcard is to be granted let’s try and make it worthwhile. The idea of the local wildcard is lovely and romantic, but rarely lives up to the potential. Pipe specialists excepted.
Wildcards need to be chosen more carefully, more Barron Mamiya than Mikey Wright. More Jay Davies than Jack Thomas. If a wildcard is not a genuine threat they’re simply useless fodder that sucks away meaningful competition time.
So anyway, thankfully the comp starts now.
What do we think of the forecast? Conclusion of the women’s today, perhaps, followed by a couple of lay days waiting for the next swell?
More Main Break at the beginning of next week?
Or perhaps The Box this weekend?
Any Margaret River aficionados below the line please fill us in.
Regardless, it looks like waves ahead and some more key decision making for Jesse Miley-Dyer. Given recent events, they are perhaps decisions that could be decisive in whether or not she remains in a job that has looked less and less tenable.
You might say it’s make or break time. In fact, my guess is they’ll sack her anyway because it’s good TV.
What do you like in the round of 32?
The match-ups change complexion depending on where they surf, of course, and keen-eyed gamblers will be taking note of this. (Remember when Jack Robinson was matched against Filipe with the latter as a heavy favourite according to bookmakers? These are the opportunities a bold man might retire on.)
I’ll enjoy the all Aussie battler match-up between Callum Robson and Morgan Ciblic in H3. Ciblic, of course, needs the win if we’re to see him again.
Two all American boys face off in H4 in with Coffin vs Colapinto. Conner needs the victory to avoid the cut, but given recent form he must be wishing it was a spelling bee rather than a surf comp.
Italo vs Joao Chianca in H7 looks like a potential banger. Keep a close eye on this one. It’s the kind of heat where the presiding narrative might lead to some unconscious judging bias. Everyone believes Joao belongs on Tour, and Italo is the emerging villain.
What drama might we see in a close heat? Don’t be surprised if Joao pips him at the post. Stand by for more dazzling bejeweled rage in the aftermath.
I like the look of the goofy match-up with Miguel Pupo vs Owen Wright in H8. Owen needs the win. Is he a man campaigning for The Box?
Jadson needs to beat Kelly in H13 to have any chance of staying on Tour. He’s been here before. Don’t bet against him.
Then it’s a tasty battle of the power brokers in H14 with Jordy vs Zeke. Expect full rail gouges and mean mugging.
Zeke needs the win, Jordy almost as much. A quarter final defeat in Portugal is far and away Jordy’s best result of the season to date. He’s a man who should be aiming for the top and he’ll need to put his foot down quick.
I’m all in, as they say.