Meanwhile, world champ Toledo walks around San Clemente thrusting his jaw out like a tanned Mussolini.
The Australian world number three Ethan Ewing, a man with two busted vertebrate from a Teahupoo wipeout a couple weeks back and a talent so infernal Brazilians want to kill him, is reportedly training like hell in the gymnasium to snatch an unlikely world title at Lowers in September.
The baby-faced twenty four year old with an ass both women and men describe as “overwhelming” has surfed six times since the injury and is busy preparing his quiver of Darren Handley surfboards for the one-day surf-off that’ll run some time between September eight and sixteen at San Clemente’s Lower Trestles.
View this post on Instagram
The favourite to win the contest is the small-wave wizard and reigning world champion Filipe Toledo, who is fully aware of the glory that surrounds him and who walks around San Clemente thrusting his jaw out like a tanned Mussolini.
Not everyone is a fan of his reign, howevs.
Toledo’s maiden title was a predictable outcome you’d have been foolish to bet against. Luckily I didn’t in the end.
Do you accept the brittle Brazilian as your champion? His skills are not in doubt, of course. In certain conditions he’s unparalleled. His technical mastery of a surfboard is second to none.
His commitment is not so certain.
Call me old-fashioned, but I feel that our world champion should be a surfer we believe has the capacity to win at any stop on Tour. Filipe Toledo is not that surfer, and yet here we are.
I’ve no wish to belabour this point. Toledo’s history and sub-par performances at some of the world’s most iconic waves are well documented by now, to the point that it’s become trite to point it out. If he hasn’t progressed, that’s on him.
The title may not be served to Toledo on an d’oeuvres platter as per last year, as judges continue to shift from rewarding frenetic but unpretty airs to melting over smooth, highly technical combos, the domain of Colapinto and Ewing.
And Ewing, whose smile grows cold when talk turns to Medina taking his spot at Lowers despite the WSL hosing down the suggestion and Medina himself treating his troupe of handsome guy-pals to a lavish Bora Bora vacay, is reportedly at eighty percent fitness.
He is, also, extremely keen to mop up the blood from last year.
Trestles was always going to be a venue that punished Ethan and Jack, two men raised on a steady diet of real waves. Their surfing has been honed by power and consequence. To see them stunted by Californian dribble fizzling over cobblestones felt a bit like trapping their nature, squeezing it into some environment in which it didn’t belong.
Ewing was an albatross in an aviary, wings clipped and saddened. To see him force his back foot through turns on weak sections was not only demoralising but borderline offensive.
Getting excited? Are you ready yet to admit the disappeared CEO created a classic?