PORTUGAL POWER WANKINGS 10-1 : THE TOP CATS
Everyone rad from John John to Julian... plus Kai Ottz!
#10 John John FLORENCE - Supertubos #9 - ASP #13
Cruised his way casually through the rounds (13,62pt heat average) with a safe formula of barrel + air reverse, or barrel + snap. Didn't have the best luck when it came to the tide and his heats, just surfed without pushing too hard but still advanced till Round 5, which is pretty scary when you think about it. The only time he seemed nearly concerned was during his heat versus Toledo, when he must have reached a mere 70% of his potential to boost a ridiculous inverted air reverse. Can't wait to see him finally having fun at home, before possibly - hopefully ? - giving a serious shot at the 2014 Title.
#9 Nat YOUNG - Supertubos #2 - ASP #9
Kinda weird to give the Rookie of the Year award to a guy who surfed with visibly more experience on the different Tour venues than most of the veterans. Nat deserves this title, no question about it. In Peniche, he was able to adapt, again, to the venue, the tides and the weirdest peaks thrown at him. Not only favoring his go-to backside attack (in which he brought way more variety and tweaks), Nat tried to mix it up, surfing exactly 50% of his scored waves on his frontside, on which he was able to nail some tricky barrels and some mean off-balance reos (check his 8.00 in Rd3). Nat won all his heats but the final; was solid, pro and driven with this extra sparkle of pure will, which promises a really exciting 2014.
#8 Kelly SLATER - Supertubos #25 - ASP #2
Well-deserved worst result of the season for Kelly, obviously not interested in the event, uninspired by the conditions, arriving late on the contest site, making ill choices of material on the beach and options in the water. He couldn't have shown less concern in being in Peniche, netting a horrendous 9,87pts heat average on the way. First time in a long, long while (almost 15 years, that's 75% of a Toledo) that Kelly shows weakness and loss of enthusiasm in this ASP thing. Surely will he wash if off and come back winning the Triple Crown and his 12th silver salad bowl just to exit with fireworks.
#7 Josh KERR - Supertubos #3 - ASP #8
One of the most exciting surfers on Tour for ages, Kerrzy constantly surprises by his versatility. From tight, precise rail surfing to throaty tubes rides and the obvious balltrappin' airshow he can pull on demand,
Josh is kinda like a more accomplished version of a Wilko
. He may never crack the Top 5, but so far, not that many surfers on the Tour or in the qualifying process are this well-rounded, consistent and can claim that much experience. 8th in 2011 and 2012, can totally go one better if he does well at Pipe (2nd last year).
#6 Kai OTTON - Supertubos #1 - ASP #7
With nothing less than a quarter final in his last four events, Kai has been proving that mental drive can get you anywhere. Certainly not the best surfer on Tour, Kai shouldn't really be in the Top 10 considering the talent around him. But! Otto just made it happen. Hard work, dedication, strategy and poise led him to march over Mick, Joel, Nat and John John: two World Champions, the Rookie of the Year and one of the 3 best surfers in the history. Kai has been building momentum since his 3rd in Tahiti and never looked back. Great boards, excellent heat management, experience on all the Tour venues, comfort of a positive entourage, solid all-around surfing skills and faith in himself. Seems quite simple when looked this way, right ? No room for doubt or negativism, just strong, dynamic surfing and a lot of intelligence in the way he built his campaigns finally brought the result he deserved. Congrats Kai, a true example for ANY contest surfer.
#5 Joel PARKINSON - Supertubos #3 - ASP #3
Another good result for Parko, with what are becoming customary questionable heat results (Bells, Bali, Hossegor...). What pisses me off is, as a current World Champion,
the domination of his surfing should not be leaving anybody in doubt: judges, opponents, even the biggest crayon-eating moron watching the webcast thinking he is a better judge...
So many heat wins thanks to so many close calls are kinda sickening, and even if Parko did surf stupidly good at some points in the event, it still feels wrong, just like having a shot of Listerine instead of regular Get 27 : you get kind of the same taste, but it doesn't have the same effect.
#4 Taj BURROW - Supertubos #9 - ASP #5
Taj peaked at the exact right time, against the exact wrong person. Kerrzy has been winning heats in this kind of tricky-hollow conditions more than anybody on tour, and Taj was just another of his victims, needing a big 9 to go through. Too bad for Taj as he would have won pretty much everybody else in this round with such a total. Speed, power, variety, his backside attacks seemed to improve on every wave, and at 36 he seems more relevant, fresher and sharper than most of the late 20ers on tour.
May remain in the Top 5 until he dies
, but will never win a World Title. Becoming World Champion demands consistency, drive, and most of all, behaving like a total prick, which is just not in Taj's nature.
#3 Jordy SMITH - Supertubos #5 - ASP #4
Jordy put on quite a show this year in Peniche, mixing up all the repertoire and going faster than most despite tricky conditions, a broken toe and a nefarious haircut. Scored one of the best frontside turn of the event in his quarter final, but didn't manage to go past Nat Young, who bet him twice in a row (boooooooo). Still mathematically in the run for the Title until Peniche, he must be spewing now for not trying any harder back at Keramas, as this 13th could have been a victory and he could now be on the top of the World, not 4th. Still some place to grow for big Jordy, let's hope he'll be just that motivated next season.
#2 Mick FANNING - Supertubos #5 - ASP #1
Well that was awkward...
not getting your World Title, with Kelly out, because you can't get a 4.68 in 4 mins against Kai Otton?!? Seriously ?!! That's embarrassing, but at least will keep the suspense for an extra couple of months. Unsurprisingly, Mick was the most consistent during the whole event, but after having done the hardest part of the job 24/7 during 9 months, couldn't get a score he's surely able to get surfing switchfoot. Now he has to fight for his third salad bowl at Pipe, where he's never won, against a smirking Kelly, who's won it half a dozen times... My money's on bald...
#1 Julian WILSON - Supertubos #5 - ASP #6
Best surfer at the last three events and hasn't won one...that must be annoying. Best heat average of the whole event (14,44pts), won all his heats...just shouldn't have fucked up his last maneuver against Parko to make it right. Dominant throughout the whole event, he was always in control, on the best waves, excellent in every single aspect of surfing...but that's another event slipping through his fingers... Never got better than 13th at Pipe, if there is one event he should win to definitely stomp his authority on the 2014 pre-season.