6 THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE BILLABONG PRO
There's lessons in them there tubes.
Nice Guys Don’t Come Last
Just because Ace is smart, and reasoned and articulate. Just because he nice and humble. Just because he is clean, sharp and fair, doesn’t mean an inner Bobby Martinez crossed with Andy Irons type competitive rage doesn’t burn inside. “I live for that high end competitive edge. That’s what drives me," Ace told Surf Europe last month. “I want to be surfing against the very best, right in the spotlight and beating them." In this comp he beat Jordy, John John (after he had a ten), Mick and Kelly. In one day. That doesn’t happen by just being nice.
How Deep is Deep?
Every year at Chopes seems to redefine what getting deep means. This year, time after time, getting deep meant riding the foamball and coming out after the spit. It started early when wildcard Anthony Walsh scored a ten, and a benchmark was set. No foamball, no ten. And the reason. I’m calling quad fins. All the surfers were on them, and they provide a hold and traction that tri fins don’t. The question if sitting on the foamball is the new tuberide, where on earth do we go from here.
Slater is committed
There was a time when Kelly Slater’s commitment to the tour was questioned. Will he show up? Does he care? This year there has been absolutely no question. And at Chopes no other surfer showed such wilful disregard for his own health and safety. Whether it was going right, over the falls pin drops, lagoon wash throughs and jetski poundings (see below). It seemed he was doing everything possible, and often downright impossible to win.
The Race Will Go To The Wire
With the tour 3/5ths done, Slater and Fanning have now opened up a fairly decent lead over the next two of Joel and Jordy. While Kelly can’t really afford another poor result (he is dropping a 13th and 9th) he has a point when he says “Trestles, Europe and Pipe is a pretty strong leg for me historically. It’s pretty close at the top right now so it will be an interesting finish to the season."
Low Expectations, Great Results
With the trials being held in the some of the worst conditions in the event’s history, and with a forecast that was pretty poor, and with last year’s megaswell still fresh, most surf fans held little hope for some Teahupoo magic. Of course then we had three straight days of Chopes magic that even looked, dare we say it, quite fun. “The forecast was looking pretty dim before the event started but I think it’s been one of the better years for waves we’ve had," said Mick Fanning. As with any surf, it amazing what joys lowering your expectations can bring.
Before the comp when asked what not to do at Chopes, Jon Jon Florence responded, ‘Don’t go right." It seems Jeremy Flores missed the memo, splitting the peak with Brett Simpson, going right and getting the score he needed. In the dying moments of the final Kelly Slater tried the same trick, and after getting tubed off his nut, only came half a point short.