Are We Killing It on the QS Now? Koa Smith's Freakish Skeleton Bay Angle, and Italo at J-Bay Is Unreal

9 Aug 2019 0 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things From Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was August 9, 2019

1. The US Open Happened and This Underdog Aussie Surprised Everyone!

Liam O'Brien from Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast Australia is a 20-year-old natural-footer who took down the likes of Griffin Colapinto and Huntington hot-shot Kanoa Igarashi to make the final of the US Open. The relatively unknown QS grinder eventually lost to Yago Dora in the final, but the second place finish lands him a very solid 8000 points. Those 8000 points jumped O'Brien a staggering 45 spots up the QS into the top 10 of the rankings. Much like young Ethan Ewing back in 2016, all of a sudden this dude is in the picture to make next year's Championship Tour!

The 2019 QS season is still young, with four of the six major 10,000 events yet to run, but still, the kid is now right there. It's also worth noting that of the top ten of the men's QS right now, four of them are Aussies (Matty Banting, Connor O'Leary, Jack Freestone and O'Brien). Sure, it's 7th and up, but the last time we finished a year with as many as four that high was way back in 2014. The surfers then? Matt Banting, Julian Wilson, Adam Melling and Matt Wilkinson.

On the ladies' side, I'm well and truly ready to start celebrating Isabella Nichols almost certain qualification for the 2020 CT. She finished 9th at Huntington, which puts her on 16,000 points in total and keeps her at no.1 on the QS. Ordinarily, 16,000 points at the end of the year puts you easily above 6th spot on the QS and into the next year's CT, but in 2019 the Women's QS has two 10,000 point events for the first time, which'll see a different spread of point totals to year's past. But, really, c'mon, she's basically qualified. Let's break out the party poppers and mini-sausage rolls!

And before we wrap looking at the QS rankings, there's a fresh Australian name we should all take serious note of. Zahli Kelly! Zahli Kelly is just 15 (maybe 16?) years old and finished 9th at Huntington last weekend. Points-wise, it's her greatest result. After a 3rd earlier in the year at the Newcastle Surfest QS 6000, she's keeping her spot of 8th on the QS right now. With four of the surfers above her currently double qualifying on the CT, she's kinda sorta technically fourth in the race to make the 2020 big stage. Huuuuuuuuge!

2. More Huntington, the Snake Tales Edit

Imagine writing 400 words about the QS after an event in shitty waves in mainland America? Just forget all of the above and watch Jake Paterson's Snake Tales episode instead. More fun, less reading... you can't beat it.

3 Jack Robbo In Excellent Red Bull Edit

Oh, and speaking of QS stuff... our most talented prospect of the last decade who just can't quite seem to pull it together, he finished 25th at the second QS 10,000 of the year. This is after finishing 73rd at the first QS 10,000 back in South Africa. He's slid down to 17th on the rankings after a strong start to the year. That's well and truly still in the hunt, but geeeeee, gotta claim some points out of these 10,000s if you wanna qualify, man. The next chance for that is September 2, in Spain. Till then, this edit by Red Bull once again proves the pedigree of Jack Robbo. 

(Note: Red Bull Surfing has since unpublished this video... so instead please enjoy this grey square where that video used to be)

4. Kai Hing In Ten Minute Clip, Glass Ceiling of Happiness

We need to find a name for the ten minute clip. Maybe we should call it a feature or something like that? Anyway, Sunny Coast free surf gun Kai Hing drops a banger of an edit put together by the very good at making surf clips Mr Michael Cukr. The "feature" (I'm trying it out!) sees Hing surfing Indo, South Africa and Australia through 2019. This clip has it all; barrels, airs… waves etc.. 

5. Italo Ferreira's J-Bay Highlights Are All-Time 

Last year, after Italo Ferreira won Bells, I got a photo with him at the Jan Juc pub. Since that faithful April night, Italo has gone from strength to strength, becoming the greatest challenger to the Gabriel Medina/John John Florence era we're in. Coincidence? Well, yeah, obviously.

6. Filipe at J-Bay Too

Following up on Italo’s African edit is Filipe Toledo’s African edit, which is almost exactly double the length of Italo's, which means it’s almost exactly half/twice as good. Can’t argue with that, that’s just plain old maths. Shouts to the Derek Hynd cameo at 3.25!

7. That Maldives Luxury Surf Event Got Going

This year that invite only single fin, twin fin, thruster comp in the Maldives will be between Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr, Matt Wilkinson, Kai Lenny, and Maldivian Mohamed Fayaz. So far they've run the single-fin division, which Kerrsy took down Parko to win, getting him back for the Pipe Masters in 2012. That'll show him!

8. Mason Ho In Indo

Does Mason Ho have the best backhand tube style in the world? Does he have the best approach to surfing alongside treacherous rocks in the world? Is he the most stoked human being in the world? These are just some questions I wrote here for you to ponder while Mason surfs in front of your eyes on your computer or mobile phone screen. Shouts to the Kelly Slater cameo in this clip too, it’s about time we see some footage of that guy, big things for that up and comer I reckon.

9. Speaking of Indo, Nate Florence

The best YouTube surf vlogger we have takes us into his Rip Curl Cup Padang Padang experience. I'm really enjoying the fact that floppy hats are back in fashion. It's good to be sunsmart, y'know. Handy tip, as this video is 20 minutes long, I suggest watching it at 1.5 speed. That's what I did, and my goodness is Nate surfing fast these days. Incredible!

10. Crazy Skeleton Bay Angle

Koa Smith, perhaps the king of the viral Skeleton Bay YouTube clip, has returned to the famed Namibian tube, this time with that fancy new GoPro thing that I don't understand. I'm still not unconvinced that this isn't some kind of dark magic that Koa had to sacrifice his brother to the devil to obtain. And to that I say, "Worth it!" Respect the hustle of the surf content game.



Bonus...

The Dooley is back? No. But my guy Danny Johnson called me on the phone while I walked around in a park and we talked for a little bit. He'll be bringing longform podcast interviews to the feed soon.

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

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