Well, that was a fairly epic week in the West. The day at The Box and John John raising the bar were the clear highlights, and no one being eaten is always a good sign. Yet if we rake through the fire pit, there’s still plenty of heat left in the rest of the ashes. 

1) John John and Main Break 4 Ever

Gerry Lopez and Pipe. Shane Dorian and Jaws. Kelly Slater and J-Bay. Occy and Occy’s Left. Dingo and the Superbank. Some surfers form symbiotic relationships with wave to the point where they are inextricably linked for ever. One of the more random such relationships is now John John and Main Break. The Hawaiian has built an affinity with the waves and the people of Margaret River that goes back years. It was thought his winning performance here in 2017 set a new benchmark for performance surfing at Main Break, although this victory may have raised the bar. Just why a crumbling, non tubing, semi-fat powerful right has become his property is hard to answer, but it’s definitely happened. 

2) Toledo’s Performance Raised Same Old Questions

Sure, the Box was 10 foot and baring it teeth. And, yes, Filipe Toledo drew Jack Robinson; not only the best slab rider on the planet, but one surfing his homebreak. Yet Filipe Toledo had put in no time at the wave and let Robinson take off right next to him without priority on the biggest and best waves of the day. Could you imagine any other World Champ - Parko, Fanning, Florence, Slater, Irons, fuck lets throw an ADS, letting that happen? You sense that as long as Pipe, Chopes and the Box remain on the CT calendar then Toledo is never going to win a World Title.

3) What Happened To The Left? 

Remember when Margies Main Break (Surfer’s Point never really caught on, did it?) was a Lefthander? Now it seems that going left takes you outside the competition area. Sure, I’m a goofyfoot, but watching those (to be fair, fatter) lefts reel off unridden left a tear in my eye. At least let the locals surf it, well the goofies at least. It now also adds to the right-hander bias on tour with the first six events all breaking left to right. A natural foot conspiracy? Wouldn’t bloody surprise me. The bastards. 

4) At Least The Women’s World Title Looks Close

Lakey Peterson’s victory means the Jeep Leaderboard is incredibly bunched at the top with at least six surfers in World Title contention. There is now less than 3000 ranking points between the Jeep Leader Steph Gilmore and World No. 6 Lakey Peterson. In the Men’s, whilst Kolohe has kept up, John John now looks set to accelerate away from the field. With the Brazilian’s faltering (Medina is now World No. 12) and Wilson recovering, but well off the pace, no one looks like they have the armoury to stop the Hawaiian from claiming a third World Title. 

5) Callinan Left Carrying The Torch

Much was made that going into the Margaret River Pro there was no Aussies in the top 10 for the first time since, well, forever. Ryan Callinan’s Quarterfinal at least propelled him to World No. 7 on the Jeep Leaderboard and while it’s still slim pickings (Owen and Wade both slipped and only Julian gained any traction), at least with Callinan you sense there is a real future. With his competitive act honed and a rare and sublime mix of power, style and progression he now looks the best placed candidate to carry the Aussie torch in the next few years.