Is Steph Winning The 2018 Title? Mick and Mase Kill It On The Search, & Teahupo'o Starts Tomorrow

10 Aug 2018 0 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was August 10, 2018

1. The US Open Put Steph Further In Front For The Title

Last Friday (Saturday in Australia time, I think), the US Open of Surfing finally got wrapped up. Is what I'm feeling about this event what mainland Americans who've never been to Victoria feel about Bells? Apart from the history of the event, it's just so hard to get excited about Huntington (even when a young star like Kanoa Igarashi wins the thing back to back), especially as it puts the Men's QS on relatively equal footing with the women's CT. But here we are... and the most pivotal part is the results that affect the title race.

Courtney Conlogue took out the CT, in what's a stirring comeback victory after struggling with injury all year. The bigger news is that Steph Gilmore made the final, while the surfer she's locked in the tightest of battles for the title with, Lakey Peterson, only made the quarter-finals.

It's the fourth final Steph has made in 2018, and the first one she's lost.

The difference in Steph and Lakey's results adds a further 3055 points between them, pushing Steph's standing to 53,375 points to Lakey's 48,175, a 5200 point lead (maths!).

The result is significant in that if you were to lay out the year of events in front of Steph, and pick the ones she'd get to the final in to build a title campaign with, the grindy, hoppy small beachbreak of Huntington would not have been one of them. But that's been the story of Steph all year. Out of seven events, she's only dipped worse than a semi-final finish twice – a quarter-final finish at Snapper and at Bali. At the same point last year she had two quarter-final finishes and a further 9th and a 13th. 

A big proportion of this marked improvement could possibly be attributed to working closely with Jake Paterson this year. Coaches, particularly good coaches, work.

It's also worth noting that at this time last year, Tyler Wright, who would be World Champ before the CT left Europe, was sitting on 44,700 points. Steph Gilmore in 2018 is beating Tyler Wright in 2017, and by some way. In fact, even if Steph comes last at the next event (the Surf Ranch Pro, beginning September 6) she will surpass Tyler's 2017 World Title score.

Is this the year that we finally see Steph Gilmore equal Layne Beacheley's record of seven World Titles? It's looking like it. Only three events and Lakey Peterson stand in her way.

Oh, and highlights. The highlight of the event was this wild thing that Seth Moniz landed. He took the lead on the QS for his efforts. 

A post shared by Seth Moniz (@sethmoniz) on

2. Teahupo'o Starts Tomorrow!

The not-sponsored-by-Billabong-anymore Tahiti Pro Teahupo'o, is one of the best events of the year when there's swell. When there isn't, it's alright. So long as you're not there, waking up every morning to chickens crowing and the news of lay day after lay day after lay day.

The bad news this year is that Kelly Slater has pulled out of the event due to his troublesome foot injury. And John John Florence is still injured, too. Teahupo'o without Kelly or John John? That feels weird. At least Gabriel Medina is still in the mix, and Ace Buchan, and Owen Wright, and Julian Wilson, and PARKO! In fact, if Parko could win Tahiti, in his final year on the CT, it'd be pretty apt. Particularly after he had the trophy ripped out of his grasp by Mick in the final there during Parko's title year.

The other fun news is that Mikey Wright's earnt Kelly's replacement spot. He's ninth on the CT ratings, so this event will bring him one step closer to surfing into his place on the 2019 CT without even using the QS.

Anyway, for memory's sake here's Kelly Slater and John John's incredible 2014 semi-final heat out there... just to remind us what tomorrow won't be like:

3. Mick and Mase Star In The Search/Inner Outer Space

“Is that what Jesus did? That guy, he must have killed it at the parties!” What brilliance it is to throw Mick Fanning on The Search when he retires, perhaps Australia’s most beloved surfer of the last decade, and not only that, to pair him up with Mason Ho… the most psyched human alive, and one you never get tired of watching ride waves. Outer Inner Space is a brilliantly put together 8 minute clip of the two surfing somewhere mysterious, and waxing lyrical in post surf-froth. And then there's Mason Ho's song to wrap it up?! It’s wonderful.

4. Mr. Pipeline Goes On The Occ-Cast

Gerry Lopez! What a dude! The wisest man in surfing. And Occy! The Occiest man in surfing! Together on a podcast! I'm going to put this on every night and let Gerry's dulcet, at peace with the world tone gently bring me to sleep. The way Lopez says, "Well, any wave will do..." when they get to talking about man-made waves, he's just so cool. Hang in there to the end of this one so you can see Lopez give Occ a yoga lesson. Gold. 

5. Three People, One Board, One Wave

Speaking of wave pools, did you see this? Tommy Whitaker, Sebastien Ziets and Sage Erickson shared a board, and shared a wave at the the KS Wave Pool this week. It's ridiculous how well they get that thing in the pocket. And how Tommy Whits totally gets barrelled, and Sage, on the same board kinda doesn't. Love it.

A post shared by World Surf League (@wsl) on

6. Mitch Parko In The Strangely Titled, My Soul Is So Beautiful, It Can Bring You So Much

Haven’t seen Mitch Parko in a little while. Is he still an incredibly talented surfer? Yes. Is he really great at threading Snapper tubes?Yes. Does he do some sick club sandwich style end section cutties and big full rotation air-reverses? Yes, yes, yes! 

Also, I award a million points to Billy Lee Pope, the guy who made this clip, for the cut he did at the 45 second mark. What a ripper of a clip.

7. Parker Coffin and Bobby Martinez Tour Aus

One for the goofies. Two generatons of goofy-footed American surf-stars in Bobby Martinez and Parker Coffin kick off a new series called Inspire, from the Coffin Brothers' Young Wise Tales brand. They hit the North Coast of NSW, and it's a pretty good time. Looks like Parker is going to head down the pro freesurfer route now. Alrght.

8. Skeleton Bay Looking Glassy

Big lol at the intro to this, the amount of times I heard that song on repeat while playing Kelly Slater’s Pro Surfer, my goodness. Benji Brand recently scored the longest left in the world, and it is everything your expect from yet another clip of pumping Skeleton Bay.

9. Billy Bain – The O'Riginals

Here comes the first episode of O’Neill’s THE O’RIGINALS series – Billy Bain. If you’re not acquainted with Billy, you should know that the man is a powerful surfer from the Northern Beaches of Sydney who grew up doing junior comps, making a name for himself burying rail while his contemporaries were taking to the air. These days, Billy has moved to the inner-city to chase his dreams of becoming an artist, using sloppy suburban weekend surfs as a cleansing respite from the gritty city grind.

10. Machado Goes To Machopoo

Rob Machado attempts to shape a one board quiver, trying to practically answer the question, "What if you could only ride one board for the rest of your life?"

And boy does he score some perfect, smaller Teahupo'o. What a dreamy wave it can be too, when it’s not gigantic and scary… perfect for the smooth lines of one of the most stylish surfers of all time.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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