And a few who might kill it a bit less.
There are some people out there who are really excited for the Surf Ranch Pro event in Lemoore, California. It is the first of its kind, and it could quite easily signify the end of the world as we know it, and the start of something new and treacherous and nefarious in the world of professional surfing and surfers. The world we love so much as it is, and the world that doesn't easily accept minor changes let alone radical changes. Either way, here are some performance predictions for the upcoming event.
1. Kolohe Andino
Brother is going to rip the place to shreds with his mind. He has the mental strength and temerity right now to lay it down, and do his best work. He is sitting comfy at 10th spot on the Jeep Leaderboard, but as an athlete he is still hopelessly underachieving. He should be in the top five at the moment, and if his mind takes over and gives him the animal hunger, then he could look at the rest of the competitors with disdain and win with relative ease. He has the perfect style, body characteristics and innovative attitude to do just that.
2. Filipe Toledo
Man is on a mission, and is going to take to the air in various heights and twists on every single wave he catches at Lemoore. No smooth riding, no waiting around for a tiny barrel over a hundred-meter section of concrete – the man wants to fly. The judging criterion in his mind reads, ‘the surfer who flies the highest and the flies the nicest and look great and different while flying shall be deemed the winner.’ That’s why he’s the man.
3. Italo Ferreira
The man has a bag of tricks on his backhand that is unsurpassable amongst the current crop of athletes registered on the Jeep Leaderboard, and if he gets into a rhythm, finds his optimum speed stance, and surfs with his usual confidence, then he is going to blow minds on the right. On his forehand he is rock solid, but he will get the big points on the rights.
4. Mikey February
The surfer with a self-admitted all-over-the-place style seems to really fit beautifully into the wave and the pace and wave dynamics like a style master of yore. MFeb just seems to be having the best, most fun time out there on every wave, and his very relaxed and flowing approach to the wave might be the trick that beats the surfers who are tensing up and compressing for the big hits. MFeb is great to watch, and he brings this really cool old-school vibe to the tank, along with the explosive turns that are needed.
5. Griffin Colapinto
The boy is on fire and his lithe body structure and limber frame (177cm/75kg) make him the ilk of surfer that is going to connect with the waves of the Surf Ranch on so many levels. His dynamism and newfound hunger, while not insatiable, will definitely add to the sum of his performance levels, and the clear love and enjoyment he gets out of his surfing only complements the package.
… and 5 who are probs not going to kill it.
1. Julian Wilson – momentum lost.
The man seems to have lost his impetus and more’s the shame. On the cusp of greatness, we wish him well and hope for the best, and hope he can prove us all wrong by coming out guns fucking blazing.
2. Wade Carmichael – girth.
The lad has been the popular surprise package of the year thus far, but the package is possibly a bit stout for the size and push of wave that Lemoore delivers. Wade is a champ however, and he also doesn’t have his weight listed on the WSL athlete profile site.
3. Owen Wright – height.
At 6’3 Owen is going to struggle to get any barrel of worth on his backhand at the Surf Ranch – there’s just not enough space on the rights to fit his frame into, despite having a great backhand tube stance and style. Also, he really doesn't want to get pulled back into a tube, go over the falls and head-butt the concrete bottom.
4. Jordy Smith - height and girth.
Jordy has shown that he can rip the Surf Ranch apart, but he has mentioned that the left is tricky for someone his size, and he is not going to win a CT event by squeezing a large frame into a tiny barrel and stalling for a hundred meters. Quite simply, Jordy’s height and size play against him when focused on the tube – so if he stays on the face, lip, or above, he’ll do great.
5. Michel Bourez – lack of finesse.
The Spartan has a certain lead-footed stability amongst his power carves and deep gouges, and it makes him a pleasure to watch when the waves have a bit of oomph and are pushing back. Sometimes this might be interpreted as a lack of finesse or technique – when all else fails, throw a bucket of spray because it looks great – and this technique might not translate well at all to the generated bands of moving water that the Surf Ranch is.