The biggest winners, the fattest losers, apologies, Kirra and much, much more.
Mikey Wright Is Better Than Most Surfers In The World
Mikey Wright is currently sitting at No. 9 on the CT ratings, and I’d hesitate that isn’t a fair reflection of his talent. On the Gold Coast no surfer could match his power, and his wins over John John Florence and Medina weren’t lucky heats, where he simply found the best waves. Sure, he did that, but his surfing was at the same level. That he warms up with a steeden and his dog, while adorable, should take away the fact this was a mature performance of cutting edge surfing. He needs to be in the CT. Give him the Wildcard for Bells! Now.
I’ve watched Tomas Hermes as close quarters for the last five years and was as surprised that he finally cracked the CT. At the start of the event, I predicted he would win two CT heats... all year. By the time he made the Semifinal, he’d doubled that tally and almost qualified for 2019. And if I felt bad then, I felt even worse when I talked to him afterward. “I’m a quiet guy, who just loves to surf,” he said with the modesty of Ghandi and the volume of a church mouse. “If I’m surfing at my best, enjoying myself and meeting new people, that’s all that matters.” At which I kicked myself in the testicles and resounded to be both a better person and better journalist. Neither of which has happened.
KP’s Kirra Call
The commissioner’s gig has been ranked the as one of the world’s most difficult jobs, coming in ahead of landmine remover, shit tank syphoner and Alaskan crab fishing. KP’s brave decision to move to Kirra for the final was done for all the right reasons. It went against all the corporate sponsorship at the main event site and was based on getting surfers shacked off the brain at Kirra, an event now as rare as unicorn shit. Which, to be fair, they did. What KP wasn’t to know was that Snapper was about to hold a solid 8-foot swell behind the rocks for maybe the very first time. At the size the bank is usually a wide mess of foam, lump and sweep. On Final Day it was flawless mix of Backdoor and Spookies. Was it better than Kirra? I’m afraid to say I think it was.
Julian Made His Own Luck
Julian’s decision to compete in the event was a massive gamble. The week before, having not surfed since the accident, his surfing drills consisted purely of surfing down the line to try to gauge the pain and get a bare minimum of timing back. Worst case scenarios were further damage, an early exit and a World Title race in tatters. There was luck involved, he could not have competed without jetski assistance and it’s doubtful he will ever surf as bad as he did against Michael February and still win a heat, but as the surf jumped and his tuberiding came into play, his victory was one born of desire and mental strength. Three days before he had driven down from the Sunshine Coast, reluctantly leaving a new born baby and fearing this could the end, not the start, of his 2018. He returned with a trophy in the front seat, 10,000 points on the dashboard and a hundred grand in the ashtray. It could be three days that changes the course of his surf career for ever.
A Plan To Fail?
You can’t say John John didn’t come prepared for the Quik Pro. His early exit wasn’t a case of a second world title hangover, or any lack of motivation. If anything, the opposite could be said. John John had based himself on the Goldy for weeks, testing his equipment and sussing the ever changing banks. The adage that a fail to plan is a plan to fail should always ring true, but it’s possible in this instance that Florence may have overthought it all. Despite the hours of freesurfing and board testing, the champ’s campaign was all over in two, 30-minute heats. Maintaining the balance between solid prep and mental freshness is the key to sustaining World Title challenges. None have done it better than the Hawaiian over the last two years. Expect the inevitable adjustment to happen fast.