Europe certainly didn’t show her best side this season, did she? But even in ‘tough’ (read shit) conditions, the best surfers stood out, as did Kai Otton.
Peniche was such a tease, showing only shy glimpses of her booty, only to send more shifty peaks and treacherous sections to the world’s best. But that ain’t just my opinion; Average heat scores this year were the worst in years.
Most of the time the scoring was stuck in the mid-range scale, as if the judges were somehow expecting that high scores would come on anytime, and they were too shy to go too far from the oh-so-comfortable and safe 4.5 to 6.5 scale.
With such a high level of surfing on the Tour, and so few point differences between the Title contenders, the Top 10 surfers and the guys struggling to maintain themselves on the qualifying bubble, the least we can expect from the judging panel is committing as much as the surfers do.
So here’s my take on the Moche Rip Curl Pro Peniche, and spoiler alert: Kieren Perrow is last, again.
Julien “Vico” HAMEL
#32 Kieren PERROW – Supertubos #13 – ASP #30
By season’s end, KP will have cashed in almost $100.000 in prize money doing strictly nothing but last or second to last in all the events he surfed in 2013… Carissa Moore earned the same, but winning 4 events out of 8 and being crowned World Champ. Any logic in there ? Fuck no, as Carissa would most likely beat KP in any wave, but apart from Surf Europe’s Ben Mondy, I don’t know anybody willing to be okay with the fact KP is still on tour. A 6,81pts average out of three heats speaks for itself, as even in veteran-fitting conditions he was not able to score more than a 4,67 on a wave. 2013 was definitely one season too much, the only thing that could eventually brighten up his last season would be for him to eliminate Slater, Fanning, Parko and Jordy on his way to his 2nd Pipe Master Title, and finally retire, farting in their general direction. That would be awesome.
#31 Raoni MONTEIRO – Supertubos #25 – ASP #33
…and another 25th for Raoni, definitely going away with the CT bath water this year, but maybe still with a shot at the QS qualification since Hawaii has always been his forté, and he’s notorious at striving under pressure and setbacks. Maybe an umpteenth rabid comeback for 2014 but at 33 years of age, and with a highest career CT ranking of only 25th back in 2004, let’s not fucken hope so.
#30 Damien HOBGOOD – Supertubos #13 – ASP #28
As usual, excellent wave entry and reading of the line up and the shifty peaks. Sadly, was adding 5 to 6’s while Julian was too busy looking for oxygen on his alley oop. Another early exit for Damo, definitely out for 2014 unless he goes final after final in the three last Prime events, where so far he hasn’t gone any further than Round of 24 since the beginning of the season. Damo has lost most of his heats this season with less than a point difference, which must make it even more painful to leave in such sour fashion, which is perhaps why he is bitter as fuck.
#29 Travis LOGIE – Supertubos #25 – ASP #23
Trav has been playing blind man’s buff on the bubble for a quite a while on the Tour and this fourth 25th will force him to work a little harder on his Prime events to maintain his dreams alive for 2014. Worst result ever for him in Peniche, he needs to perform in the Cascais Prime as he has never done good at Hawaii. In Peniche, his one and only sparkle was against Mello, using his trademark backside powerturns, but sadly came one wave short. Not a lot of events left for 2013, let’s see if Travis can maintain one, both, or none of his qualifying rankings.
#28 Yadin NICOL – Supertubos #25 – ASP #32
Another unlucky event for Yades, may he had exited one of his two barrels in the fun nuggets of the first round, he could have skipped Rd2 and fly over the perfect lauchpads of Rd3…Currently 130th on the WQS, he needs to go big, but it ain’t over until it’s over, Brazilian Thomas Hermes jumped from 126th to 37th with only one win at the SATA Azores Prime event, so Yadin can still make it for 2014 if he wakes up and gets busy with 3 Primes and one CT to go.
#27 Adrian BUCHAN – Supertubos #25 – ASP #15
Oh Lord that was embarrassing. Ace may have won Teahupoo, but since then got last in Trestles, second to last in Hossegor and now last again in Peniche…and to top it off, even more insulting was to loose versus Kieren Perrow…with a 6,40pts heat average, worst of the Tour. A side-slip wipe out and a barrel a little too greedy in Rd2 just kicked him out, and so far Pipe didn’t offer him anything good in the past, so off-season is gonna be the best time for Ace to go back to the drawing board and find back what brought him up to 7th in 2010: consistency.
#26 Jeremy FLORES – Supertubos #25 – ASP #18
Worst result of the season and of his career in Peniche, Jeremy, armed with his usual negative body language, was suffering from a bad wave selection in Rd1, and struggling with Kelly’s board during Rd2. His upside-down nosepick reverse reentry was fresh, pleasing and exotic; but
his forced flat-spin 2ft fakey air 270 to botched Bertlemann landing-to-body-claim felt kinda awkward
when compared to Kerrzy’s real alley oop in Rd1, or Julian’s stratospheric one in Rd3. In 2013, mastering the full repertoire of maneuvers should be mandatory on the WCT, so claiming a half-baked maneuver is like witnessing a 5’6″ NBA point guard acting all cocky after his first dunk : you may be proud of yourself, that does not make a sketchy dunk any more Jordan-esque. Jeremy could use a year off to recompose, and actually work on these tricks that are technically within his reach, maybe asking the ASP for a sabbatical before he implodes from frustration and sabotages what should be a successful, joyful career.
#25 Patrick GUDAUSKAS – Supertubos #25 – ASP #27
Disappointing result for Pat due to a surprisingly stupid mistake against one of the most intense and loud surfers on the Tour, getting an interference in a heat that had his name all over it (should have scored 15.83pts in that heat, second best total of the round…). Surfed with variety, power and a lot of instinct in the tricky conditions of Rd2, but again was booted out too early and needs now to focus on the three last Primes to get his slot for 2014 as there’s close to no chance he will get a shot at Pipe with half of the Island pressuring to get in.