Ben Mondy dishes on who shone and who sunk at Teahupoo.
Well, that went fast. As fast as Gabriel Medina paddling to the inside. As rapid as a Joe Turpel monologue. As speedy as an Ethan Ewing interview. In three days the Billabong Pro Tahiti was finished and, lets be honest, will probably never be remembered again. Yet just before it is turned into digital fish and chip wrapping, Tracks takes a look at the frontrunners’ match ratings. Ratings out of 10, your views welcome below the line.
Jordy Smith: 8
Looked as comfortable as he’s ever been at Chopes, which isn’t saying a whole lot. A big result though and now has the Yellow Jersey, although like Lance Armstrong, it seems like it isn’t really deserved.
John John Florence: 9
Easily the best surfer, again, yet somehow, again, managed to manufacture a defeat to Jordy Smith. Needs to start bagging those 18 point heats at the end, rather the start, of the events.
Matt Wilkinson: 7
Who’d have thought Wilko would be the slow and steady one, operating just under the radar? His good mate Medina did him no favours in Round 4, but a loss of the lead is no bad thing. The fact that he is in the mix is still all rather remarkable.
Owen Wright: 7
Not much you can do when Medina bags a 10 off the bat, and when it dropped below head height, he was bought back to the field. Calmness and consistency can win World Titles though, and this fairytale is nowhere near over.
Julian Wilson: 10
Supreme composure under intense pressure, and even managed not to sink the boot into Medina post final. It’s worth noting that three of Julian’s wins have come at Pipe, Chopes and perfect Supertubes, proof that he is one of the best barrel riders surfing has ever seen.
Adriano de Souza: 6
Added a third successive 13th, and another poor performance at a venue he should be stronger at. That win in Rio seems a long while ago, but you’d still back him to be in the mix come Pipe.
Gabriel Medina: 9
It’s hard to pick the incident where Gabriel Medina channeled his inner Lance Burkhart the best. But we’ll settle for when he paddled over to Julian with 30 seconds to go in the Final, conceded defeat with a handshake, and then immediately took off on a wave. It looked pure instinct, rather than planned villainy, but was another example of just how goddamm gnarly he is.
Joel Parkinson: 5
Filipe Toledo: 3
Toledo has muscled up impressively at Margarets and J-Bay this year, but he’s going to need to do well at Chopes and Pipe if he is to be considered a true World Title contender. On the evidence of this performance, where his heat average was 7.45, that could be a while.
Connor O’Leary: 8
Despite growing up on the reefs of Cronulla, there was still question marks over Connor’s ability in waves of consequence. A second in Fiji and a 9th here have answered those questions emphatically. Looks like he’s been on the CT forever and nowhere near out of place in the top 10.