We are missing big, throaty barrels too.
That dreaded second round – Chopes is always a great event, with passion and drama. It is one of the most dangerous waves in the world, but even when it’s small and inconsistent, it still provides the viewer with a whole lotta entertainment. Talking of which, here are six surfers who know how to entertain, and who now are unfortunately out of the competition already. Let’s unpack a little…
Fuckit dude. We thought you were going to hold steady for this event. Get through enough heats to keep on track for the world title, and to keep our stoke levels up for some sort of great ending to the year. That’s gone now, and the door is wide open for the Brazilian triumvirate of Toledo, Medina and Ferreira to take control of the endgame, and it's a big pity. That heat should never have turned out the way it did, and you will need to pick up on your strategy. You could always win at Lemoore and have the other top five surfers all get strange illnesses like totally debilitating flu or a bowel obstruction or something, and lose early. It’s probably not going to pan out like that, but stranger things have happened.
The nuggetty little natural-footer first blew us away at JBay last year, and he is one of the more pleasing styles to watch on tour. He doesn't wiggle or do anything without relevance, and all of his moves have full power and edge on them. On top of this, he’s also no dunce and appears informed and intelligent on WSL post-heat interviews and on independent media channels, and we have always stayed tuned-in to watch him compete and to listen to what he has to say.
The World Surf League’s Championship Tour needs someone like Matt Wilkinson on it, purely for the balance of entertainment he brings to the party. Right now he looks like he might fall off the CT and that’s going to be a shame if he does. His QS campaign is nowhere, so he’s going to have to go big guns for the next few events if he wants to remain that guy who is able to drop the largest bar bills on tour. For right now however, Wilko always gives Chopes a bash regardless, and his forehand hacks are going to be missed.
Another of the more entertaining surfers on tour, the man who caught Thumbdidilyitus and grew an extra finger when he was younger, is now renowned for drawing different lines on wave faces throughout the world. When everyone is stalling for a barrel, he’s attempting to float the roof, when everyone is gunning down the line, he’s going the full face hack, and his unusual take on each and every wave that he surfs, brings spectators out in case he does something crazy. The Hawaiian surfed a close heat against Jesse Mendes, and there was nothing in it at the end. Seabass was hunting down a 5,17 when the final siren sounded, and his elimination is our loss.
The animal spirit in Willian ‘Panda’ Cardosa is fierce and powerful, and he became the darling boy of CT surfing after his underdog victory at the Uluwatu Pro earlier this year. We all want to see him do well, but we also feel a little sorry for the guy. His slog is well documented, with 12 years on the QS Grind, and he deserves a few more breaks. Not scared, and a powerful charger at Chopes with his tree trunk legs, he could have done well at this event. Instead he bowed out to Wiggolly Dantas, losing by 0.06 of a point, which is heartbreaking.
Well, he’s injured, but he is such a part of Teahupo’o that it seems empty without him. He needs to recover in time for Lemoore though, then he’ll probably bunk France and Portugal, to possibly return to Pipe. Either way, Kelly’s recurring injury and selective contest surfing is a rum do.