This Week In Surfing: Why Leo Fioravanti Will Be Europe's First World Champ, France Heaves, & Tyler Wright Is Oh So Close
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was October 7, 2016
Welcome to Weak Wrap, I mean This Week In Surfing, one of your homes of all the important things, and mostly the non-important things, that happened in surfing the last seven days.
1. Quiksilver and Roxy Pros France got started, things happened
After a false start, Rounds 1 and 1 of the men’s and women’s Quiksilver and Roxy Pros have been run and won and lost and whatever in between. The false start in question came on day 1, when some heaving beachbreak swell had Hossegor looking the way Woolamai looks to a seven year old on christmas holidays with his new surfboard (thanks Santa!). Great waves hidden in a big ol' scary mess. But before they’d finished the morning show, John John and Conner Coffin scored a sick tube each and the WSL presse go, ran two heats where the surfers got their arses handed to them, and then called the event off again. Which was kind of a bummer because, sure, we would have had a full day of dudes getting worked on the hard packed sand banks, but I’m sure we’d have had two to three amazing tubes from one full day of competition. And really, two to three highlights is all you need from Round 1. No-one loses, no-one goes home, so go on and send them out there into the big woolly mess and entertain us with noodly tired limbs and nine trillion duckdives. Anyway, the big performers by the end of Day 2 and the wrapping up of Round 1 were of course John John Florence and Gabriel Medina, but also Kolohe Andino and Adrian Buchan. While high seeds in Matt Wilkinson, Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Joel Parkinson, and Julian Wilson went down down prices are down.
The Roxy Pro France is a much more important event, in the immediacy. There’s a World Title on the line! It’s Tyler Wright against Courtney Conlogue and Tyler, with the help of fellow Australian and fellow Rip Curl teamrider, Nikki Van Dijk, has Conlogue on the ropes and just hanging in for the fight. Tyler Wright won her Round 1 heat against Bianca Buitendag and Chelsea Tuach, while Courtney Conlogue lost to Nikki Van Dijk (who just quietly is the year’s biggest improver). This means that Courtney Conlogue must win her Round 2 heat to keep the title race alive. She faces Barbadian rookie Chelsea Tuach, who has yet to win a heat this year, so it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing a World Title crowned in the next round, but stranger things have happened. Like the time Cadbury made Vegemite flavoured chocolate. So strange.
Here’s the WSL's breakdown of what needs to happen in the next week for World Title implications, which is pretty massively different from my mathematical work last week, c'est la vie:
– If Wright wins the Roxy Pro she will be the 2016 World Champion.
.– If Wright finishes second or third (semi-final finish), Conlogue must win the event to send the title race to Maui.
– If Wright finishes fifth (quarter-final finish), Conlogue must make the final.
– If Wright doesn't do better than ninth, Conlogue must place at least third (make the semis).
And below, cut to 6.20 to see Conner Coffin's epic freesurf tube followed by John John and the best wave surfed in Round 1:
2. Leo Fioravanti Will Be A World Champion, Europe's First
Make no mistake, Leo Firoavanti is the next big surf star. The next Gabriel Medina, the next John John, the next Zane Harrison. Here's why: He’s a near guarantee to make the tour next year (after his heavy spinal injury suffered at Pipe in early 2015 ruled out last year), and as the step son of Quikky team manager and professional Kelly Slater best friend, Stephen Bell, he knows every wave on tour as well as if not better than half the current top 32, he will be the most comfortable rookie in the history of modern professional surfing, and he has already beaten Kelly as a wildcard at Margaret River. So… yeah, watch out. And for fun, he's got a wildcard to the Quikky Pro France this week, and he'll be taking on the GOAT again in Round 2. In this new Quiksilver produced hype clip Italy’s no.1 spends some time at perfect Cloudbreak with Kelly before scoring pumping tubes in French beachbreaks, and then El Salvador. He's been everywhere, man, he's been everywhere...
3. Sierra Kerr Is The Bomb-Diggity
“Funny thing is she doesn’t even surf that much,” says Josh Kerr on Instagram on this clip he put together of his nine year old daughter ripping in Indonesia earlier this year. Little Miss Kerrazy rips on a skateboard too, and can hit the life out of a golf ball on a gold course. But here’s a fun question to ponder, how much longer can Kerrsy stay on tour, and how early do you think Sierra is capable of qualifying? Considering Sierra can pretty much do airs already, and the longevity of a mature surfer at the elite level is getting greater with every year, it's not unfeasable for the two to be on tour at the same time... but it’s probably out of the realms of possibility by one or two years (Josh is 32, Sierra is nine). My god it’d be amazing to have a father and daughter on the WSL at the same time.
SEE ALSO: Weekend Surf Forecast 7-9 October
4. Ain't That Swell
The most regularly irregular, and also best, surfing podcast is back with a new episode with Jed Smith, Vaughan Blakey, and YouTube sensation Daniel Johnson on the mics to process the last couple of events, the World Title race and the ridiculousness of WSL judge-skewering. It's gold as always. Equally funny as it is insightful, there's never a bad episode of this gear.
5. A Conner Coffin Clip + One Dane Reynolds Wave!
For Channel Islands, the golden boy of American rail surfing does surfboarding in Southern California with some lanky American pro named Kilian Garland, and… DANE REYNOLDS! A full ten seconds of DANE! Drop everything! Dane!
6. Coastalwatch Live Shark Discussion Featuring Rasta and Hosted by Nick Carroll
First up, how much better is Coastalwatch than when I was head of editorial? My god, Sally is killing it with this kinda stuff. This week Coastalwatch hosted a live facebook panel discussion in Ballina with a wide ranging group of experts on the panel, from fisherman to Rasta to surf scribe Sean Doherty, this is an excellent hour long analysis of an issue that’s been at the top of surf culture’s consciousness over the last year or three. It's basically an episode of QnA for us Aussie coastal people, and QnA is the bestest. That Tony Jones, what a guy.
7. Wilko Does Fitness
Can you imagine this video existing two years ago? A fitness based video starring surfing’s larrikin Matt Wilkinson? No way! "That'd be cray!" is what I'd say, you know, being 2014 and all. The Cronulla Sharks just won the NRL Grand Final for the first time ever, so it’s cool to see Australia’s best chance at winning a (men’s) World Title this year, and an underdog himself, training with some of the best examples of underdogs in Australian sport.
FORECASTER BLOG: http://www.coastalwatch.com/surfing/latest-features/20563/forecaster-blog-zonal-storm-track-favours-fiji-this-week#mce_temp_url#
8. Mitch Crews and Taylor Knox Go To Baja
“Never when I was a kid did I think I’d score waves all day in the middle of nowhere and then nail some beers with this legend @taylor_knox,” says Mitch Crews of his latst trip for Episode 9 of Reef’s excellent Just Passing Through web series. He also called it the best strike mission he’s ever done. And gee, I don’t think he’s lying. Those long right Mexican points, with two of the best dudes in the surfing world, scoring, it’s a really good time. Feel the froth.
9. Brett Burcher Gets Heaps Tubed
Ol’ filmmaking pal of Coastalwatch, the youngish Darcy Ward can certainly cut three minutes of surfing together with the best of them, especially if he’s following South Coast heavy wave legend Brett Burcher with his camera. This is an excercise in Australian tube riding and it’s tops as, mate.
10. On Days Like These We Must Surf
Well here is a great eight minute black and white doco about the Great Lakes surf scene in Toronto (those lakes, they're pretty great). With humour, pretty good cinematography for such terrible waves, and decent story, this is probably the best made surf film of the week. Especially if you’re someone who grew up surfing wind slop in Port Phillip Bay, and also have a mum from Ontario, which would be pretty much all of us, right? No?
Pro surfers speak french. Anyone who has spent time with French people know that that little impersonation of Kelly Slaters, the little exhale thing, is soooo spot on.
And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.
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Well, almost all. But definitely a solid weekend ahead.