Because ten is the loneliest number.
The Brazilian goofyfooters created history as the vacuum left by John John Florence was only partially filled. It was by no means an epic event, although it did serve to tighten two very tight World Title races. Medina and Moore took the spoils, Italo the cred and Andino the Jeep Leader’s jersey. We take a look at the match ratings with CT events completed.
8 - Gabriel Medina - Never really hit the heights, even if his ability to surf to the score under immense pressure remains unrivalled. After Ryan Callinan gifted him a win in the Quarterfinal, and he was on the other side of the draw to Toledo, victory seemed within his grasp. The Final total was impressive, as was his surfing, but scarily he wasn’t even surfing at 100 per cent. John John’s injury has given him an improbable lifeline and he looks finally like he’s not about to waste it. Back-to-back wins Teahupoo would have him on track to defend his title.
9 - Italo Ferreira - The lack of tubes and the judge’s love of the vertical whack suited Italo Ferreira and he didn’t hold back. No one was throwing as much spray or hitting that end section with the mix of control and progression. It was a simple strategy; get the best waves and belt the bejesus out of them and it almost did the trick. And for a reason I can’t quite pinpoint, his claims are nowhere near as annoying as Gabriel's.
9 - Carissa Moore - As soon as Steph Gilmore exited stage left, there seemed to be only one winner. The Hawaiian has no peer when the waves are powerful and lined-up, and as her knowledge of J-Bay grows, so will her wins. A year after she was crying distraught in the J-bay sand dunes as her competitive world fell apart, she now is the Jeep Leader. It’s a tight race, but she looks in a better position, both mentally and physically, than anyone to go all the way.
8 - Seabass Zietz - His Quarterfinal with Toledo was the matchup of the two form surfers of the event and if Seabass hadn’t beeb clipped at the end of a five-second tube he could have gone all the way. The ever smiling ever goofing image hides a serious competitor with real talent.
7 - Ace Buchan - Clawed his way out of the relegation zone by sheer force of will. When he early on he was minutes away from a third successive dirty turd that would have signalled the end of his 13 year CT career, Ace went backside to basics and proved his competitive desire. He has finished ranked between 14 and 17 every year since 2011, and if he can handle repeatedly getting asked by Rosie about traveling on tour with his family, with Tahiti next he now looks set to continue that mid-table trend.
7 - Kolohe Andino - Nabbed the Jeep Leader’s jersey with another consistent display. Was one of the few surfers to add variety on his frontside hooks, even if it wasn’t always rewarded. His Semifinal performance however lacked maturity, when patience was needed. Still, after eight years he now looks like a World Title contender, even if his failure to win a CT might be the monkey on his back that stops him from ever claiming one.
6 - Kelly Slater - “I thought I was surfing really good, and I got threes,” Kelly Slater said candidly after he defeated Ciao Ibelli. “I really don’t know what I have to do to get above a six.” Falling off on his two best waves in his Round 16 heat wasn’t about to clear any of that up and it was surprising, and a bit sad, to see him being so goddamn fallible. His current rank of World No. 8 remains remarkable, given he is surfing at about 40 per cent of when he won his last World Title in 2011.
12 - Jordy Smith and Julian Wilson - We may as well pool their scores as, yet again, the two best surfers of the wave in the field managed to find ways not to win. Julian was done by poor wave selection and safe surfing. Jordy gifted Owen Wright the best wave of the heat, yet another split second decision that negated his obvious surfing superiority. He hasn’t won here since 2010. Nuff said.
5 - Caroline Marks - Can we please stop with the Occy comparisons? Marks was further away from Occy in ’84 than Occy is now. J-bay highlights flaws in technique and style and Marks continually looked awkward whenever she didn’t connect with the lip, which was often. Aged 17, and with a lifetime of J-Bay ahead of her, that will change.