Wednesday can’t come soon enough.
Can you believe it? It’s finally here.
Over the last few months your productivity has probably gone through the roof and your life improved dramatically as a result, but it’s time to forget all that.
Snapper kicks off on Wednesday.
That means long hours glued to your screen listening to the exquisitely uninsightful commentary of Pottz and Joe, or sneaking glimpses of it at work, or staying up to all hours watching the heat analyser.
It means trading endless and often tasteless banter on your WhatsApp fantasy group.
It means once again resigning yourself to the fact you’re a fan of the most inefficient, least spectator-friendly sport in the world.
Here are the best match-ups from Round 1 to waste your time on.
Heat 2 – Jordy vs Zeke vs Jack
This is a heat of possibilities.
Zeke and Jordy have shown in the past they don’t mind getting a little feisty, a little physical, but would they step on each other’s toes? They’re both big boys, and so is Jack for that matter, so if there was ever a heat you’d want to see get heated, it’s this one.
But even if that scenario fails to eventuate (and it probably will), the heat still stands to be a great match-up.
Jordy is long overdue for a good start, and his finish last year at Pipe showed some real promise, but who knows what the oversized South African will bring.
Zeke, on the other hand, looked sharp all last year, but strategically he was a bit hit and miss.
Great when he was paddling over the top of John John’s board at six-foot Bells. Not so good when he was trying to out-rotate Michael Rodrigues at two-foot France.
Power-wise, however, he can definitely match it with Jordy, and dare I say it, while he may not have the same bag of tricks, he surfs noticeably faster.
Then there’s Jack.
Back on tour after a pretty lacklustre first showing and only just qualifying by the way of some end of season luck, but carrying great form with his local breaks judging by all those Cyclone Oma clips.
His rail-game looks to have gotten a little more grunt in it too, and the judges will eat that up.
*Tracks’ pick: Jordy. He’s slipped under the radar in recent times, and it’s probably done him a world of good.
Heat 3 – Italo vs Yago vs Slater
If ever there’s a test for Slater’s late career run at a twelfth world title, it’s in this heat with Italo and Yago in less than pumping conditions.
Sure, if the heat goes down at Snapper, he’s going to have his forehand and his wealth of familiarity with the wave to draw upon, but if it goes down at D’Bah, he’s going to be up against it.
Even if it goes down at Snapper he’s going to be up against it with Italo in his heat.
The guy proved he’s got the deadliest backhand on tour a couple of times last year and is not only going to be a threat in this event, but for the title overall.
Yago is no slouch either, especially if there is an air-section on the sniff, and he improved in leaps and bounds as the season progressed last year.
*Tracks’ pick: Italo. Too young, too fast, too versatile, too deadly.
Heat 12 – Mikey vs John John vs Peterson Crisanto
Mikey proved a bit of a pain in the arse to John John last year.
Not as big a pain in the arse (or knee) as that air in Bali, and nowhere as psychologically damaging as Zeke at Bells, but he still trumped him early on at both Snapper and Rio and in many ways probably set the tone for his shitty year.
Does that mean he’ll do it again in this match-up?
But then again, it’ll be interesting to see what headspace Mikey is carrying.
Last year he was all devil-may-care, wildcard-wrecking ball, but this year, he’s got a spot on tour to keep, which could totally change the way he approaches his heats.
Hard to know where John John is at too, given we’ve seen so little of him since he hurt himself and his camp has been keeping everything on the down low.
But he certainly hasn’t rushed anything, which means that when we do see him surf for the first time in 2019, he’s most likely going to be at full health.
He’s probably going to have a lot to say surfing-wise about what’s transpired in the last nine months or so, too.
That’s an exciting prospect.
Then there’s Peterson, who stands as a bit of an unknown quantity.
The kid could either come out firing or get totally crucified.
*Tracks’ pick: John John. Who doesn’t want to see him surfing at his best?