Filipe Toledo & Coco Ho victorious in the co-ed teams event.
I must admit your correspondent wasn’t entirely enthusiastic about sitting through another surf contest at the Surf Ranch.
The waves – ocean ones – have been in oversupply this winter on the east coast. And they have been delivering on the entire random spectrum of variety that makes surfing great.
Peeling points, wedgy breakwalls, thumping beach breaks, or gentle a-frame peaks.
It has been a monumental run of surf.
How could the WSL’s specialty event compare when we’ve all had a big helping of the real thing?
Wave pools have that novelty factor. They look fun to surf, but to commit your life to them? Surf breaks however have fostered careers, it’s where some of us ask to have our ashes spread, and myths and legends are born at certain breaks.
Lopez at Pipeline, Hakman at Sunset, Jordy at J-Bay and the list goes on.
A man-made wave in the middle of California will never compare. So why the commentators, WSL pressers and surfers pretend it’s anything but a novelty is puzzling.
Wave pools should not be on the CT in 2021.
The length of the ride at Ranch forces the surfer to rehearse their “run” and kills any incentive to push too hard and jeopardise each section. Surfers start off slow and steady, building their score by ticking the boxes; snap, tube, snap, tube and try to finish with a bang.
When wave pools first launched, advocates proclaimed they would help innovate manoeuvrers, equipment and push the sport into new realms.
Fast-forward to today’s Royal Rumble and it’s clear no such performance barriers have been broken. Equipment may have adapted to cater to the pool, namely with surfers riding epoxies but beyond that not much has changed.
Medina’s masterclass at the last CT event or watching some the alt-freesurfers make cameos at the Ranch have been the only other times I’ve re-watched clips.
How can something so perfect be so boring?
The predictableness of the pool, the wave’s sheer perfect symmetry is its fatal flaw. We’ve seen the same wave for the past five years now and we keep longing for the kinks and twists that swells produce over sand, slabs, rocky points, and shallow coral reefs.
The commentary team gave it a good lashing today. Strider screamed from the ski, Pete Mel channelled Brick Tamland with all the flagellation we’ve come to expect. Joe found every moment “incredible”. While poor Rosy just seemed a little bit out of practice.
Adriano de Souza looked the most fired up. Perhaps sending a message to Kelly that he could outshine him at the venue that most wickedly took the wind out of his maid world title.
Kanoa looked to be powering adding style to his judo snaps.
Kelly fell and looked tired and frustrated at his local break. Where was Slater’s energy healer, Charlie Goldsmith when he needed him?
Carissa looked uninterested and Seth Moniz had a shocker.
Toledo’s pair of alley-oops were the saving grace of the entire event.
He and Coco Ho devastated the field and were the perfect dynamic duo.
You’d think removing the variables of the ocean would make for a level playing field but instead the pro surfing we get after all this time away sadly just feels a bit dull.