Here’s the 4th and final thrilling instalment! by Julien VICO Hamel
#9 John John FLORENCE – Trestles #25 – ASP #15
Way quieter, less gnarly and dynamic than Alejo during their heat, sometimes nonchalance and a minimalistic style are taken for proper flippancy, even more when the waves themselves tend to become more and more gutless and languid; and this time Double John got surprised by a more in-tune, motivated and committed surfer than he visibly was. Will go back to work for the next 3 speleological events coming.
#8 Joel PARKINSON – Trestles #13 -ASP #5:
The only time Parko looked like the World Champ he is was during his Round 2 bout versus local Ian Crane. Sorry, who? Ian Crane! Crispy, stylish and in rhythm, he was hitting all the sections with the exact amount of power, variety and control. It was all different during rounds one and three though, misreading the conditions and the options pretty much all the time, bogging rails, slow on the transfers, with an uncharacteristic lack of flow. Really blew it regarding the points race versus Slater’s early loss in the same round, but then again, who doesn’t love a good dramatic finish in Hawaii?
#7 Josh KERR – Trestles #5 – ASP #6
Solid result for Kerrzy, who hasn’t seen anything less than a Quarter final finish for 4 months, which, regarding the wide range of waves he has surfed since June, validates the fact he excels everywhere. Great board selection, excellent control of his timing and weight transfers both upon landing of stupid tricks and complicated rail to tail-slide turns, Josh appeared happily in control, advancing without a scratch through tough rounds as if he was spending a family day at the beach surfing multiple sessions. He is number 6 in the World, on great boards, backed up by solid endorsement deals, hangs out with his cool family and hot wife, what’s to feel unhappy about ? The less is cares, the better he goes. Great inspiration for some of the unhappiest, angriest surfers on Tour.
#6 Mick FANNING – Trestles #9 – ASP #1:
Going back to the 1st spot on the WCT rankings thanks… to his worst result of the season. Makes sense ? Heck no, but well, just like at Bells, Parky and Kello blew it earlier so at one point it’s all sweet for Fanning, although I bet he would have loved to win this one to stick it to the rest of the World and trying to pocket a third World Title with at least one win. Anyways, he’s in the lead thanks to, as usual, consistency, power, control, speed, excellent heat management, triangular jawline, blah blah blah… BORING ! Mick is a contest machine, acted like a droid and of course he’s freaking good, but consistency is annoying as hell. There’s no fireworks, no spice, just perfect contest surfing, redefining what’s really not cool with surfing heats: he has become the closest thing to Dolph Lungdren in the unsung masterpiece “Universal Soldier”: efficient, perfect, boring as hell. Let’s bring back some Eugene before Mick implodes or OD’s on testosterone.
#5 Kelly SLATER – Trestles #13 – ASP #2:
Kelly had a veritable Barry Crocker of an event, a Weston-Super-Mare. With average scores (at least for him, under his usual 15pts mnimum heat average) he made an unusual amount of mistakes, bogged the rail, and was eventually caught off guard by Pat G. Picked the worst waves, and clearly, even being 6 times event champ and an American, there was maybe 2% of the beach rooting for him compared to the entire Orange County going nuts on every little armpit fart from the local hero. No crowd support, bad start, string of bad wave choices, Kelly was needing more time to turn the heat around and ended up adding his second 13th of the year, not the scenario he was expecting, but it may fire him up on the last three events he knows oh-so-well.
#4 Taj BURROW – Trestles #1 – ASP #4
Finally a win at Trestles for Taj! In form all week, consistently posting high scores (15,49pts of heat average) and in control of his heats, he was definitely in tune with his equipment, built confidence heat after heat, which led him to eventually land complicated turns in crucial moments without the shadow of a doubt. Powerful on his forehand, he was getting more speed out of his turns than most of the other guys and was projecting himself in the really small and only zone of each section that actually had a little power. Surfed on eggshells when needed, just to be all the more violent while arching his turns. Sharp on his backhand, he was smart enough to analyse the previous heats to get the right balance between power and much-needed rebound on the lefthanders. A well prepared, well documented smart victory indeed. Now 4th on the rankings, he may even have a shot at the title… just kidding!
#3 Michel BOUREZ – Trestles #3 – ASP #10
Third in Trestles and third best average heat score of the contest: makes sense. We’re past halfway through the season and Michel already cracked the Top 10, with ease. Got his three best results of the year (Snapper, Keramas, Trestles) with the same formula: confidence, speed, control, and remaining savagely powerful, but not indecently so. Michel’s raw power is unique. Unique in the finesse he uses to submarine his way through a turn and still pop up with speed, control, and most of all perfect timing and placement. Strictly nothing to throw away in Michel’s event, just fell short to Julian in shy conditions, being slightly more off tempo than the australian. Should be in the Top 7 by season’s end may Hossegor and Peniche produce right hand caverns.
#2 Jordy SMITH – Trestles #3 – ASP #3:
…and slowly Jordy builds momentum. As of today, if you take away his two worst results (13th in Snapper & Bali), he’s really comfortably seated in the top 3: 5.000 points away from Kelly, and only 500pts from #1 Mick…Game on ! Amazingly fast and light despite his size in the midget surf, Jordy was not holding back his turns, au contraire he was pushing, arching, covering way more space than surfers half his build(i.e: Toledo, Logie…), which makes his 3rd place all the more impressive. With a 15,03pts heat average, Jordy was on every section, hitting smartly the little crumble before the lip to get more grip, more spray and releasing his backfoot weight just on the exact time to do some damage yet still being able to bounce over the next dribble where others were just burying themselves, not able to adjust properly to the fickle sections. Obviously on excellent boards, in excellent physical and mental form Jordy needs two finals to pocket the World Title, which is totally feasible.
#1 Julian WILSON – Trestles #2 – ASP#7:
17,09pts of heat average. Julian won all his heats (just like Jordy & Michel) and scored his “worst total” (15,97)…in the final. He did not peak too early, he just got betrayed by the ocean in a final he had already earned. Without a doubt the best surfer of the whole event, and maybe the most exciting in the World right now. Julian did everything right, managing his heats like a veteran, carving like a raw powersurfer and flying higher and better than the jumping Brazilians. A massive, complete performance for Julian, adapting to the tricky conditions with no problems, showing more commitment, control, power, flow, variety and rhythm than anybody, both on rights and lefts. His rebound and linking between maneuvers, whatever they are, is unreal.
Julian used an excellent strategy when it comes to staying active and focus in a heat: acting as if he was losing. He never gave up and actually seemed not to even pay attention to his already excellent scores and just wanted to add one high nine to the other as long as the timing disc was on, as if he had to fight his way to win every heat until the last second. A shot at the Title is mathematically impossible, but a Top 5 is at arms reach, as Julian already got 2nd in Hossegor and won Peniche.