Kikas kicks more ass in Hawaii, Ewing shines bright a little too late and who is surfing’s current super coach?
The penultimate QS event of the year went down in Haleiwa. Despite a fairly slow Final’s Day, this event saw the best surf seen in years and no shortage of electric performances. By the end, the 2020 CT roster was a little clearer, while a few spots still remain open at Sunset. We take a look at some of the takeaways from part one of the Triple Crown.
The 2020 CT Is Firming Up
During the event legendary surf statistician, Al Hunt raised the qualification cutoff mark to 20,000 points, the highest in recent times. After the dust settled Hawaiian Pro winner Fred Morais, Jadson Andre and Yago Dora have been confirmed by the WSL as definites for next year’s CT. Alex Ribeiro, Miguel Pupo and the South African Mathew McGillivray all crossed 20 grand barrier and will also be there. Connor O’Leary with 19,650, too is very close and will make it. So going into Sunset there is three place available (or four if Dora double qualifies).
Kikas Is A Keeper In Hawaii
Frederico “Kikas” Morais has now made his fourth Triple Crown event Final in four years and is steadily asserting himself as one of the best Hawaiian competitors of modern times. His forehand lip hammers obviously suit the power of the North Shore’s deepwater right-handers and he is arguably better at Sunset than Haleiwa. Top of the QS now, and with a spot guaranteed at Pipe, he has to now be considered the favourite for the Triple Crown.
Ethan Ewing’s Rapid Rise Too Little Too Late?
Ethan Ewing’s Final saw him jump 24 spots to 17th on the QS leaderboard. Over the week he seemed to surf with a newfound maturity and his style remains the easiest on the eye of any competitor in the field. The concern however that this result may be too little too late for the 21-year-old. While it does back up a Quarterfinal in the last QS10,000 in Portugal, his horrible start to the year may have given his rivals too much of a headstart. It remains baffling, especially after a performance like this one, how one of the sport’s best talents hasn’t made it back to surfing’s top table.
Coach Richard “Dog” Marsh claimed a one-two on the podium with Frederico Morais and Leo Fioravanti and may have elevated himself to the role of super coach. With Micro Hall’s results stalled by the injuries to the Wrights and the descent of Wilko, the wily veteran has moved into to take top dog status and a healthy commission too.
A Shout Out To Crewsy
Mitch Crews’ surfing in pumping Haleiwa deserves a shoutout. The effervescent Gold Coaster has added real power to his natural board speed and a Quarterfinal finish here, as well as a Final in the Azores, has seen him climb up the rankings to 30. Now he’s probably too far back to make the cut again (his one year on the CT was back in 2014), but seeing as he finished 144th last year and was questioning whether to keep competing, his surfing and attitude has been a revelation in 2019.
Does It Have Any Bearing On Pipe?
Not really. Of the World Title contenders, only Jordy Smith entered the event. The South African looked in great form until a freesurfing rib injury took him out in Round 4. Italo chose to warm up at Pipe, probably a wise move, while the spectre of Medina is yet to make an appearance on the rock. Kelly Slater did, however, seem sparky, riding a mix of 5’3” bat tails and more standard thrusters, and you just know will be itching to play a spoiler at Pipe.
And now for Sunset…
There’s no rest for the wicked, or the top 100 QS surfers in the world, as a new northwest swell predicted to fill in at Sunset means the Vans World Cup of Surfing is due to kick off immediately. It’s the last throw of the dice for the QS surfers in 2019. We’ll keep you posted.