Kelly's 1st WSL Victory, Steph Is In Taylor Steele's Next Movie, And Is Keanu Asing Our Next Cult Hero? | This Week In Surfing
Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was August 26, 2016
1. Teahupo'o Is As Kelly Does
Holy Bananarama Board! Just how flipping good is Kelly Slater at surfing? "Really really good" is the answer to that question. How flipping good was Teahupo'o even though the forecast was average this contest? Again, the answer is: "Really really good." A huge congratulations to nature for making this wave, really nailed that one.
Anyway, Kelly Slater won the 2016 Billabong Pro Tahiti. It's the first CT win the greatest surfer of all time has had since 2013, a fact you could see in Kelly's face when the hooter hooted it's final hoot signalling Kelly was officially the event champ. Visibly emotional. Visibly out of his skin stoked. It's pretty clear that almost three years of not winning has been quietly sitting pretty shitty with surfing's winningest dude. Think about it. The last time Mr. Slater won an event – not a World Title, a single event – he was still sponsored by Quiksilver, there had never been no J-Bay shark, no Brazillian had been called a World Champion, the WSL was still called the ASP, and Gough Whitlam was still Prime Minister of Australia... I think. That's a long time. Longer than Lord of The Rings even, and those movies are waaaaaaaay too long.
It was also the most dominant performance we've seen in a major competition in yonks. How dominant was it? Let's nerd out on some quick stats:
There were 36 waves scored 9 or above in this competition. Kelly Slater had ten of those.
There were six 10s in this competition. Kelly had four of those babies too.
Kelly's average heat score was the ridiculously high 18.6. To put that into context, that heat score would have won every single heat Kelly wasn't in except for one, which brings us to No.2 in This Week In Surfing...
2. Gabby and John, The Competitive Match-Up Surf Fans Deserve
Even though the event was eventually won by a 44-year-old baby-boomer (almost), and Parko, Kerrsy, and Ace would have surprised no-one had they gone ahead and won the chocolates, it really felt like a momentous shift of an era took place at Teahupo'o. There was no Mick, Taj, Aritz, Bede, Freddy P or anyone named Hobgood at this comp – the sort of guys who just naturally fall into your Fantasy team in waves of consequence – and despite Kelly surfing a perfect heat in Round 5, the John vs Gabriel heat was the heat of event, the heat of the year so far, and perhaps the best heat of competitive surfing since John John lost in the semis to Kelly at this same place in 2014. Here we had the youngest World Champion since Kelly Slater, against the most naturally gifted surfer since Kelly Slater, meeting the latest in a comp in their competitive history (semis), fighting for the World no.1 ranking, while going blow for blow, changing leads, packing tubes, in a shoot-out that us surf fans will be privileged to see for the next decade.
You often wonder what the post-Kelly era will be like, whether it will have the same drama, the same competitive intrigue... with Gabriel and John John at the top, it might be even better.
SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Dad's Guide To Surfing
3. Steph and Rasta Go To Mexico For Taylor's Next Flick
Taylor Steele’s next movie, Proximity, has slowly been releasing glimpses of behind the scenes promo clips lately, getting us pumped for it's release in spring 2017 (American time?). It’s a film that features cute little duo surf trips, tapping into the raddest element of his 2012 fim This Time Tomorrow. It’s hard to think of a better recipe than Dave Rastovich and Steph Gilmore on the right points of Mexico, this movie is going to be a ripper. It’s called Proximity.
SEE ALSO: Pure Perfection On The Gold Coast
4. Da Hui Make Wax Now, Release Good Pipeline Clip
If an ad for your new brand of surf wax is just a ridiculously good supercut of the world’s best Pipeline and Backdoor surfers ( John John, Bruce Irons, Jamie O’Brien, Mason Ho, and more) surfing pumping Pipeline and Backdoor, you’ve made a pretty good ad. We could talk about how outdated and cringeworthy that frontbar-cover-band-at-your-local-indulges-in-an-original-track is for a soundtrack, or the bikini model in a rash-vest, sans half a bikini, to end the clip is… but we won’t talk about that, because that’s Eddie Rothman’s voice-over at the end, so this actually the best ever thing that’s ever happened in the history of ever. Honest.
5. Weak Wrap 2 – Danny Johnson's Variety Hour Coupla Minutes
First there was Darryl and Hey Hey It's Saturday. Then there was Dylan Lewis and Recovery. Then there was Rove McManus and Rove Live. And then there was nothing... for so long there was nothing. But wait, now we've got Danny Johnson and Weak Wrap bringing us the variety television we have long been waiting for! Am I over-stating the cultural impact that Weak Wrap and Danny Johnson is having on Australia's national psyche? Definitely not. This is the best.
6. Ryan Burch Shows Us His Hometown
What Youth and Volcom’s mini-web series, Four Cities, takes us to Ryan Burch’s Southern California, where the asymmetrical surfboard shaper shows us how to eat an asymmetrical burrito in one of the world’s most surfy surf areas before going for an asymmetrical shred. Remember Stoked and Broke, the movie he and Cyrus Sutton made? Such a good movie. Also, his performance in last year’s Volcom movie, Psychic Migrations, was arguably the best of the year. Click play and get to know one of surfing's best dudes.
7. Pama Davies Goes Tropical
Young Bondi shred head Pama Davies has a new sponsor on the nose of his board and is celebrating with a dreamy six minute clip featuring heaps of pretty, tropical warm water footage that’ll make you wonder why anyone in the world would ever live south of Crescent Head, or north of Southern California/Morocco.
8. Texas Wake Surfing
Yeeehaaa, if Bruce Brown taught us anything, a surf film with narration can be a really nice time, and this Texan wave river clip seems to know that… especially with that beautiful Texan drawl. Featuring a too beautiful strings cover of Nico’s "These Days", there’s life in the old surf clip game yet.
9. Encyclopaedia of Surfing Revisits Teahupo'o's Early Days
Matt Warsaw's treasure trove website of surfing history released an archive clip this week cut togerther from the 1997 film Quiksilver Country. It's literally 20 year old footage (we are all so old!) featuring Tom Carroll in his classic Gath helmet and Kelly Slater with all his hair, and Timmy Curran (remember Timmy Curran!) and more!
VIDEO: Novelty Wave Rock Off
10. Keanu Asing Is The Cult Hero We Need
"What's up Fantasy Surfer?"
I wasn't a fan of Keanu Asing. I thought he was an over-claiming, under-performing QS surfer who I had no interest in watching, and I was indifferent to his qualifying for the World Tour. His motto of heart over height begrudgingly stoked me out a little, it's a cool kõan to live your life by, and then this comp happened. Suddenly, I think he's something we need in surfing as a sporting spectacle. Fired up and forever the underdog, Keanu Asing, all 95 centimetres of the guy, came to Teahupo'o unnoticed and then took out the tour's only local in Michel Bourez, and then one of the more favoured to perform surfers in Italo Ferreira. He then gave a brilliant post-heat interview opening with "What's up Fantasy Surfer" before continuing with further cutting lines like… "kill or be killed, I’m coming out as hard as I can,” and, “I’m fighting for money, for my career, my work, and I’m not gonna let these guys just take my money and take my job so I’m gonna give it the best I can and that was the best I had."
He ended up going down to the unbeatable Kelly (in that perfect heat), but not before landing a few early blows and putting the eventual event winner on the ropes with an early 8.3. He then, in the dying moments, took off his comp rashie and handed it to Kelly as a momento before the heat had ended. That's the sort of rad stuff that creates cultural traditions in surfing and that we as surf fans love. Keep it coming.
Bonus... Weird North Korean Surf Music Video
British white guy with dreadlocks who does Youtube blogging for a living went on a guided tour of North Korea recently and along his way made a surfing music video with his pal. It’s called Surfing in The DPRK and it is a thing that exists now. After this clip I guess we can all agree that North Korea is a super happy place full of fun dancing people, skateparks, and surfing. “It’s cliché but follow your heart girl, no-one can stop you from the top of the world…” Hmmm…
And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.
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