This Week in Surfing: Medina Is the Best Surfer in the World Right Now, so Is Mikey Wright, and Kelly's Making Another Wave Pool

27 Oct 2017 6 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Mikey Wright landed this thing smooth as butter.

Mikey Wright landed this thing smooth as butter.

1. Medina Won Portugal, The Title Is Going To Pipe

Is Gabriel Medina on a tear or what? After struggling for most of the year, and being in no-one’s predictions for the World Title, he just took down the Rip Curl Pro Portugal against ultimate rival Julian Wilson. The Ryu and Ken of surfing faced off once again, and for the first time ever, Medina got the better of his natural-footed counterpart. It continues a spectacular run of events for Medina – winning back to back events through Europe after dominating the Quiksilver Pro France. He also won the non-rated, experimental event at Kelly Slater’s inland theme park-wave-machine-futuristic-doomsday-device of surfing joy! That’s three events in a row where he destroyed the world’s best. In fact, if you ignore his 13th placing at Trestles, Medina’s last four events go: Semi-final, final, win, win. He is 100% the best competitive surfer in the world right now. And that's all the more interesting in light of the other major story out of Portugal this week: John John didn’t win the World Title.

The trophy was there! The press releases were ready! The highlight packages, the Hurley merchandise, it was all there on final’s day (presumably) ready to be unleashed on us. All John John had to do was win the event. Easy. But nope. Kolohe Andino took him out in the quarters. And so everything got packed up into boxes and bags and shipped to Hawaii where we’ll return to the treat of a Pipeline showdown between John John, Gabriel Medina, Jordy Smith and Julian Wilson.

The way it works is as follows:

  1.  If John John makes the Final of the Billabong Pipe Masters he wins the 2017 World Title.
  2. If John John gets 3rd or 5th place, Gabriel Medina can win the World Title with a win at the event.
  3. If John John gets 9th, Medina needs at least a Finals appearance. Jordy Smith would have to win the event to clinch.
  4. If John John gets 13th or 25th, Medina will need at least a 5th to clinch, Smith at least 2nd and Julian a win.

This is made all the more interesting when you look at the history of the event and these competitors. Julian Wilson is a Pipeline Master. You know who isn’t a Pipeline Master yet? Seth Rogen. That’s true. But irrelevant. On equal terms with Seth Rogen number of Pipe Masters wins, though, is Mr John John Florence.

Can John John beat history, and take the Title at his home event? Or will Seth Rogen somehow get a wildcard and play spoiler. Only time will tell, but gee it’s going to be an exciting end to the surfing season in 2017!

2. Kelly's Making Another Pool

In major news that affects roughly 0% of us, Kelly Slater announced on Instagram that he'll be building another Kelly Slater Wave Pool, or a surf ranch, or whatever you choose to call it, in his home state of Florida! Alongside a photo of him with some council types, in a council type setting, he wrote: “Well...it’s official...we have a building permit in Palm Beach County for #SurfRanchFlorida. I’m beyond proud and stoked to see the first of our developments at @kswaveco going to my home state of #Florida. Thank you to Mayor Burdick and the city commissioners for your approval and support of the project. Also thank you to #JupiterFarms for your comments and support. Looking forward to being neighbors. I keep joking about it but it might be true that now I can move back home now and surf as much as I want! Cannot wait to see a bunch more stoked people riding waves. This is gonna be fun.”

This news is significant in that it marks the first instance of Surf Ranch becoming something of a franchise. And it kind of makes sense that’s surfing’s version of Disney World will be in the vicinity of Disney’s version of Disney World. Personally, I cannot wait to watch more footage of perfect manmade waves surfed by people who aren't me. What a time to be alive.

A post shared by Kelly Slater (@kellyslater) on

3. Peahi Is Go This Weekend!

Get excited! The World Tour that’s almost as hard to follow as the WSL has greenlit its blue ribbon event for this weekend! It’s the Big Wave World Tour’s event at Jaws, Peahi, Maui. It was the big wave highlight of last year, (if you don’t include the Eddie that is, which is kinda sorta officially part of the year before), historic viewing, particularly with the inclusion of the women’s event for the first time. And it was great to see more positive steps taken towards gender equality in this niche of pro surfing.

On the WSL website’s post about this event, a punter by the name of Chris commented, “Laura Enever charged so hard last year she should be in [the] contest! She is so hot it makes it fun to watch [the] contest.” So… yeah, we still have some ways to go, don’t we.

Australians to keep an eye out for in the event Ryan Hipwood and Jamie Mitchell in the men’s and Felicity Palmateer in the women’s event. Laura Enever is listed as an alternate.

4. Tournotes From Portugal

What’s a surfing event without a video from Peter King? That’s a question I’m as unwilling to answer as he is about gun control, but that’s another matter. Anyway, let’s watch some candid footage of the world’s best surfers watching their peers get absolutely smoked by the thumping beach breaks of Portugal. It’s fun. And the stoke they show for the huge jet-ski air? I wish I was a pro surfer.

5. Josh Kerr Announced His Retirement, Kinda

It wasn’t really an announcement, was it? He just sort of started talking about how much he’s looking forward to the next chapter in his life, and how that chapter will be on where he isn’t wearing a contest rashie. Josh Kerr has been a wonderful surfer on the pro tour over the years. Simultaneously the least lucky surfer of the CT while being wholly aware of how lucky he is to be a professional surfer. What a guy! He'd regularly do stuff like beat Kelly Slater twice in an event, only to have to face the same guy for a third time, and lose in the quarter-final, all the while stomping the manoeuvre of the contest. 

At this point, you’d have to list Kerrsy as the best surfer on the tour to have never won a CT (rivalled by Kolohe Andino?), he has, however, won a Big Wave World Tour event, Margaret River while it was a QS, and the title of Air Show World Champ three times over. He is also the guy that beat Kelly Slater in the 2012 Pipe Masters to ensure Joel Parkinson’s World Title.

If Kerrsy were to win the Pipe Masters, his first event win, during his last major event, it’d be a well deserved  perfect ending to a storied CT career. Let's go Kerrsy!

6. Scary Good Is Out Now

Surfing World Magazine rented a house earlier this year. But wait, the story is more interesting than that. They not only rented a house, they also filled it with a whole bunch of professional surfers, a recording studio, and one grumpy audio engineer (Happy Birthday Pauly B). Then they went surfing, recorded an album, and made a magazine and a film about the whole experience. And now the film is out! Head on over to the Surfing World site and give it a gander for the price of eight, one dollar lolly bags. You shouldn’t eat that many lolly bags anyway. Shit’s bad for you.

7. The Dooley, Episode 38

Did you know that there are podcasts about surfing? I know, crazy right? Of the couple that are available for your viewing pleasure, The Dooley is my favourite. Why? Because it’s the one I make with my sleepy buddy Danny Johnson. Am I biased? Certainly. Was I suffering a fever when Danny Johnson and I recorded the last episode? Yep! Episode 38 covers things like Laird Hamilton being a manly man man, Josh Kerr’s quiet retirement, the commentary of Strider Wasilewski and so many other stupid things.

8. Here’s One Wave From South West Oz That’s Really Pretty

There is so much to love about this clip. The colour of the water. The angle of the drone. The three guys out the back oblivious to the lucky lonely peak picked off away from the line-up. The way the surfer (Matt Wizey) throws double birds at his off screen friends as he pulls out of his perfect little tube. And the brevity; the eight seconds of bliss. Hit play, again and again and again

9. Billabong's Summer Campaign is a Fun Time

Can you smell that? The boardshort marketing coming at us surfers thick and fast means summer is coming! This six minute Billabong ad is actually more than a week old, but it’s a sick summery surf trip vibe of the young and fun loving Billabong team, with elder statesmen and World Champ Joel Parkinson, that’s worthy of more than one viewing. Cricket in caravan parks!

10. Quiksilver's France Vid Is Good, Mikey Wright is a Freak

Out of France, Quiksilver adds to their excellent 2017 series Gone Tomorrow. This episode features Mikey February on a swallow tail fishy thing ripping. February is looking like he’ll qualify for the CT this year, so this here serves as a nice little re-introduction of the South African. Ya boy Connor O’Leary rips the bones out of some French beach breaks, too, as does the rest of the powerful Quiksilver team (Marc Lacomere, Ramzi Boukhiam, Aritz Aranburu, Wigolly Dantas, Zeke Lau, Leo Fioravanti (holy shit, is the Quiksilver team the muscliest in the game?!), Kanoa Igarashi, and Jeremy Flores. And young Aussie Kael Walsh does some stand out shredding that further proves he’s one to watch as a future star for us. But the big reason to watch this clip is the end section owned by Mikey Wright. Mikey is hands down the most exciting, magnetic, entertaining, interesting surfer in the world right now. Those aerials at the end? Oh Em Gee, as the millenials say. If we lived in the age of profile surf movies, he’d have the movie of the year. Sadly, we don’t. Damn you Interneeeeet! *shakes fist at computer* *eats chips*

Bonus: This Week In Not Surfing

This is a new segment on This Week In Surfing where I highlight, for no reason other than my own entertainment, something outside of the surf world that is freaking awesome. And this week, for the first time, it’s mother-flipping Ben Simmons! If you’re not sure who Ben Simmons is, he’s the guy out of Melbourne who went no.1 in the NBA draft a year ago but spent his rookie year on the sidelines with an injury. The NBA has been going for a bit over a week and in his first four games he logged a double double (a performance where a player achieves a double digits number in two of five statistical categories). Do you know who the last NBA player to achieve such a feat was? Shaq! Shaquille O’Neal! A Hall of Famer! In his fourth game Simmons achieved got a triple double, the first Australian to ever do so, and the first rookie to do so in their first four games since 1967! Ben Simmons stand up!



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

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