Who fired, who floundered? We rate the performances.
John John Florence 9: An event heat average of 17.89 starts to tell the story of John John’s early domination, up until Medina Gorkined him in their Semi. A third would have been a solid result, even if all the rest of the contenders didn’t choke on their own croissants. Now number one on the Jeep leader board, there’s a chance he could win the world crown in it Portugal. There’s no chance he won’t have the title by the end of Pipe.
Jordy Smith 2: Oh Jordy, if not for you, could you just do it for us? Can’t you just make the World Title interesting? Afterwards he blamed the jet ski drivers for assisting his local opponent Marc Lacomare, but deep down he knows there is only one man that has to cop yet another choking performance, and it ain’t Jorganne de la Jetski. Can he turn it around in Portugal? Maybe, cause he won’t be able to do it at Pipe.
Gabriel Medina 9.5: Medina has made the final five times in the last seven years and has now won three of them. No one can find their groove in the shifting Basque banks like Medina and he won this event without all the usual niggle. He let his surfing do the talking and never once looked like losing.
Owen Wright 7: You’d have to be a Tony Abbott-sized dick, not to give Owen enormous credit for what he has achieved over the last 12 months. Yet, if we can park the minor issue of him overcoming a life threatening brain injury to be a world title contender, I was left wishing for a bit more from Owen. A bit more risk, a bit more mongrel. Time is running out, maybe it's time to go all in?
Matt Wilkinson 5: Maybe a victim of the only controversial decision of the event, and he looked to do enough to have beaten Nat Young. He looked sharp and confident throughout, surfing in a far more positive manner than this time last year when the wheels came off. That he is disappointed with being World No. 4, with two events to go, shows just how far he has come in the last two years.
Julian Wilson 3.5: Bottled it when it really mattered, and undid all the good work, done both in and out of the water over the last three months. One of a few surfers that has the talent to really test Florence, but as it stands, the competitive gulf remains enormous.
Adriano de Souza 4: In what were conditions taylor-made for ADS’s powerful bottom turn and competitive instinct, he went down without a whimper, let alone a war cry in Round 3. In the world title hunt in theory only, it seems a huge ask to think that he will add to the one he has got. Still that’s one more than Cheyne Horan, Taj Burrow, Jordy Smith, and Bud Llamas.
Filipe Toledo 5: Gets points for surfing through the pain of a rib injury, but it meant Toledo was running at 35 per cent capacity. Would have been interesting to see how he would have done in the juicier rights, but we’ll never know. Pipe, Chopes and Fiji remain as the only obstacles to an obvious World Title.
Joel Parkinson 8: Parko’s trusty surfing wheel, invented about 20 years ago, still turns in perfect arcs. There’s no need to reinvent it, when it gets to the Quarterfinals. That wheel has him at World No.9 and still having more fun than the rest of the top 10 combined.
Kolohe Andino 8.5: Surfed with a firecracker up his arse, claiming 4.5s like 10s, and 10s like 15s. He attacked each and every section and his post heat interviews were, get this, honest and revealing. God squad tendencies aside, he’s the easiest Seppo for an Aussie to, as they say, root for.
Sebastian Zietz 9.2: What’s not to love? Doesn’t take this ridiculous sport seriously and exists simply to catch as many good waves and ride as many barrels as humanly possible. Over the three days of competition, only Medina and Florence did that better than him.
Mick Fanning 8: Claims of over-scoring must have come from people who simply don’t understand how difficult it is to make Mick’s level of technical surfing look so easy. He also really pushed the turns when he was cornered, and even wheelied some fucking aerials for God’s sake. Impressive for a man who seemingly had nothing to surf for.