This Week In Surfing: Doubting John John Florence, Bells Begins, & Wade Goodall Rules
COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was April 14, 2017
1. Everyone's Talking John John, And For Good Reason, But...
It's old news, I know, but did you damn well see what John John Florence served up at Margaret River half a week ago? To get the non-existnant population of surf fans who live under rocks up to speed, basically John John Florence surfed really well, and won the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
"So what?" you might respond, "He's World Champ, that's to be expected..." And you're right, but this was something else. This was something we've not seen since Kelly Slater was a young man with a World Title to his name and a decade and a half of dominance still in front of him. John John surfed nine waves scored at nine points or above in this event, in the just six heats he competed in. And that's including the Round 1 heat he surfed that was slower than Australia's internet loading speeds. That's nine waves from a possible 12 counted scores, outrageous. And guess how many waves were surfed at 9 points or higher by the rest of the whole field? Eight. That's eight out of 224 possible counted waves. Nine out of 12, vs eight out of 224... And sure, perhaps the judges are a little more likely to throw a nine or a 10 than they were five years ago, but the amount of high scores John John got in comparison to the rest of the whole freaking field is why this is so damn significant. At the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro, there was John John, then there was daylight, then nighttime, then daylight again, then a stray cat knocking over a bin in an alleyway, then a little more daylight... and then there was the rest of the field.
High scores usually reflect the waves, good waves, and those who surf them best get good scores. Take Kelly Slater's similar dominant performance at the Billabong Pro Tahiti last year. Kelly Slater had 10 scoring waves at nine or above in that comp, four of which were tens (albeit he lost one heat, so surfed one more heat than John did at Margies), which is actually a higher mathematical score than what John John got in WA. But the rest of the field scored 27 waves at 9 or above too, cause it was pumping. What the scores from Margarets indicate is that the waves were good, very very very good, but only for John John. For everyone else, it was absolute garbage and hard to ride.
This performance has a lot of people wondering whether this will mean John John will win the World Title in a canter, and the answer to that is definitely yes, on the proviso that the rest of the tour is also run at big Margarets, where his performance is just that much better than his peers. A quick scroll down the event schedule confirms that, oh, oh nah, yeah that's not happening. So the Title is not John John's yet. Did we forget that John John only made the semis at Snapper? And that at Bells he has made the semi-finals once, but apart from that has never progressed past Round 3. At Teahupo'o, Cloudbreak, and Pipe, where he is arguably the best, he'll have to contend with Kelly Slater and Gabriel Medina, who are arguably just as good. On the beachbreaks he'll have Julian, Felipe, Gabriel again, and whoever else might be lucky enough to jag a set wave against him... and at J-Bay and Trestles he'll have to contend with Jordy, Mick, Parko, Felipe, and Kelly too.
Yes, John John Florence is the best in the world, and yes, that performance at Margarets was incredible, but outside of Margarets JJF's dominance gets a whole let less bullet proof. So let's see how he rolls this momentum into Bells – an event he's not great at, and an event that might be the hardest for him to win. All that said, you'd be a brave man to bet against the World Champion. And if he can take Bells, well, holy crap...
2. Bells Has Started, And Carissa Is Back To Her Best
Yes! It’s Easter weekend and the jewel in the crown of the Australian leg of the Championship Tour has begun, The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach. There has been one day run so far, a full day of Bells bowl that started out average to good, to turn absolutely pumping, clean-up sets and everything, to get through three full rounds of the ladies’ side of competition. Carissa Moore was the star performer, despite losing in her Round 1 heat to a much improved Nikki Van Dijk, she came back in Round 2 and lodged a John John Florence like performance scoring a 9.8 and 9.33 for a heat total of 19.13, discarding two eights in the process. Tyler Wright has also looked strong, getting two nines in her Round 3 heat to claim a spot in the quarters where she’ll be joined by Carissa, Lakey Peterson (who’s having a great start to 2017) and Johanne Defay.
At the time of writing, the men’s side is yet to have run a heat, but the awesome news is that mother-flipping Glyndon Ringrose will be surfing in the event after winning the Victorian trials! Phillip Island’s own! What a legend.
3. Hell Yeah, It's Wade Goodall
Our friends over at Monster Children have joined up with Vans to make something we all want to see, 4 minutes and 20 seconds of Wade Goodall! Hell yeah, Wade Goodall, The Prince of Darkness as Sterling Spencer labelled him, is one of Australia’s most loved and exciting to watch freesurfers who through a horror run of consecutive injuries got dealt a pretty rooted hand when it came to the whole carving a cult-followed career in the world of freesurf thing. But how great is it to see the young family man ripping, and ripping with aplomb in high quality edits soundtracked by the Melvins. Legen-dary!
SEE ALSO: How well do you really know Bells Beach?
4. Brendon Gibbens For Octopus
Brendon Gibbens is the South African Cluster alumni and freesurf star who rides for a deck grip company Chippa Wilson and Dion Agius started called Octopus, which is who this three minutes of woah are for. And holy crap is he ripping or what? The cuts of Laird Hamilton from North Shore throughout this clip are inspired, too.
5. A 20 Minute Movie Starring Burch and Ozzie Out of Brazil?
A Brazillian skate and surf mag by the name of Void recently grabbed Volcom inconoclasts Ryan Burch and Ozzie Wright for a roadtrip from Sao Paulo to Rio. It's pretty weird, and out there, but you'd expect no less from Burch and Ozzie. Not a bad 20 minute surf video at all.
6. Tyler Wright: Really Really Really Good Surfers
Next up in Rip Curl's sick little series profiling their team is none other than the World Champ, our hero, Tyler Wright! Unfortunately this one doesn't have Mason Ho on the mic, but it's still really nice.
7. Quikky Team Clip/Mikey Wright is Just So Hot Right Now
The Quiksilver team’s freesurfing clip from when they were all on the Gold Coast is here and it’s a psych guitar jam of Snapper hijinks starring their CT team of Leo Fioravanti, Zeke Lau, Jeremy Flores, Kanoa Igarashi, Wigolly Dantas, Connor O’Leary, and thieir QS and junior team of Kael Walsh, that powerful Moroccan guy, and, of course, Mikey Wright (cue Will Farrell: “He’s so hot right now”). Kind of just makes you wish the whole thing was Mikey Wright, he's that entertaining to watch surf. Are we due for a super Mikey Wright edit soon? He's doing a QS in Barbados right now, so... I dunno... get on that, Wade Carroll.
8. Taj and His Old Man Vance
There’s nothing quite as rad and warm and fuzzy as a surf trip with your old man. Taj knows that, which is why he took his dad Vance, who you might remember from a cameo in that old classic, Sabotaj, for a surf trip to get some fun waves somewhere in the south Pacific. What perfect little waves, too!
9. Rob Machado Is Still So Awesome
These Hurley ads have been getting around for a couple weeks now, and they’ve been really cool, but this one with Rob Machado has taken it to a new level, with so much more wisdom, and such a broader perspective to offer. Plus, how sick and stylish is his surfing? Just the best!
SEE ALSO: Sean Soherty On: The Fifth Gear
10. Tour Notes And Sharks From Margies
The latest instalment of the always rad #TourNotes is particularly interesting because of the candid coverage of the semi-final heat between Felipe Toledo and Kolohe Andino (that’s a lot of syllables in those two names, 12 syllables) that had to be stopped mid-heat due to “quite a bit of surface action”. Jack Robinson’s laid back local’s take on it is kinda funny.
P.S. Did you know that the WSL has been nominated for a Webby Award for their social media coverage?
Bonus... All The Podcasts
Another week without Weak Wrap, huh. How are you coping with it? I know I'm struggling. Sitting here, bag of chips at the ready, waiting waiting waiting... but nup. No dice. Danny is hanging out with Sherms and other cool people with hats down at the Rip Curl Pro Media night. What a jerk, and what about us? What about us, Mr. Weak Wrap?! Till then we'll have to settle for all these freaking podcasts. We've got the weekly surf trivia quiz night in The Dooley, a return from the original and the irreverently best in Ain't That Swell, and the Fantasy Surfing podcast Lipped who feature an interview with Maurice Cole this week. Listen to them while you mow the lawn or something.
And that was this week in surfing. Have a long weekend everyone.
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Wave of the week
Hold on to your hats, here comes the swell.