The real swell didn’t arrive, but some upsets did
As our gracious editor already pointed out, the big news yesterday was Kelly getting past Julian. Whether you’d consider this an upset or not really depends on how much reverence you hold for Kelly’s past achievements, but to Julian it was no doubt upsetting.
Following the man is kind of like following the West Tigers—you don’t know who’s going to turn up on the day.
Occy turned up, however, and there’s been much made about his recent fitness and form. With Kelly and Luke in the commentary booth for his heritage clash against Curren, even if the waves didn’t turn on for the heat—and they didn’t—it was still going to be an enjoyable affair.
This was the third time they’ve matched up in the past decade, and with Curren taking the last two wins, you could tell Occy wanted to get one back on his old rival.
There were moments of brilliance from the Raging Bull too, not the blazing, down-the-line force of the past, but a couple of medieval backhands hammers were swung like only Occy can.
Unfortunately Curren didn’t really show. There in physical body, but otherwise very much on his own trip. It was disappointing. With Occy finally tuned up and ready to rumble, all you wanted was an old-fashioned joust between the two icons. Instead we got Curren gliding around on his skimboard.
And I love his skimboard. But there’s a time and a place.
Toledo again was the standout of the day, which wasn’t a surprise or an upset, but it was a refreshing turn to form. Man when that kid is on he’s good to watch. Possibly pound for pound the most powerful surfer on tour.
Conner Coffin proved too strong for rookie Soli Bailey, which again was neither a surprise or an upset, but elsewhere the underdogs were doing damage.
Peterson Crisanto, who surfs eerily like a young Adriano, used his superior rail-game to get past his flashier, more fancied countryman in Michael Rodriguez.
Ryan Callinan used a workman like ethic against one of the tour’s ultimate workmen, Michel Bourez, and took a win in the kind of waves he really had no right beating the Spartan in.
Likewise Seth Moniz upset last year’s flavour of the year, Mikey Wright, who might be injured or has just lost his spark, either way he’s looked fairly underwhelming this year.
The biggest upsets were saved for last though, when first Jacob Wilcox rolled world number two Kolohe Andino and then Deivid Silva outsurfed Gosford Grug.
Wilcox in particular has looked more at home at this level than he’s ever looked on the QS. He’s sharp and combines a backhand that shows flashes of Buchan and Owen Wright with obvious balls in the big stuff and a full bag of tricks. Hopefully he can pull himself out of the QS doldrums and book himself a place where he obviously belongs.
Medina takes on everyone’s new favourite surfer in Reef Heazlewood when competition resumes in what will hopefully be some all-time macking Southern Ocean seas.