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8 April, 2019 8 April, 2019
No point in dissecting and breaking down what you already know, Italo Ferreira and Caroline Marks are the 2019 Quiksilver Pro and Boost Mobile Pro champions. Ferreira and Marks are both pedigree performers, no doubt. I’m not denying them their deserved glory and limelight stock, but let’s also take a look at some other back stories which unfolded on the Goldie. Events that may at first seem obvious, but whose outcomes have far reaching implications.
Let’s tuck right in shall we.
Jordy Smith version 2.0. Now available with nerves of steel
I’m probably going to take some heat for saying this, but the 2017 version of Jordy Smith would have folded when running head on into the immovable object that is 2 times World Champion, Gabriel ‘Machina’ Medina in the Quarter Finals. But this is a different Mr. Smith. A sharper, more accurate and, most importantly, exceedingly confident athlete.
The manner in which Jordy Smith held his own against Medina, who was breathing fire from the moment he hit the water in round 1, was not only impressive from a purely technical surfing ability slant, but it showcased Smith’s unwavering intention to close heats. Big, clutch heats. And they don’t get more intimidating than going toe-to-toe against a rampaging Medina.
Scrub through the heat right here, watch the BMT and assuredness of both performance and mental fortitude to hold Gabriel at bay. Another big point of difference in Jordy’s approach is a return to one of his most prized assets: the air game. It’s always been up there with the best, but strangely enough, it wasn’t presented with high enough frequency in the past. But it’s back. And for me, it is most welcome. Smith’s airs are lofty, lanky and the landings clean. No foot slides or uncomfortable stop starts.
And if the air game was tight against Gabriel, it went stratospheric against Italo Ferreira. Both athletes pushed hard. Italo was the pace car with a risky rotator to open his account but Jordy’s counter, a fully tweaked out , lighting fast version on a bigger wave netted him an 8.67. Could it have been a 9? Should it have?
Check the heat here. It’s well worth it.
Eventually, Italo won the duel, but it’s safe to say, Jordy Smith is in a commanding position to push hard for a win at Bells and will be more than happy to leave Australia with a scorecard that has the potential to read 3 and 1. And the passionate South African fan base will grab that with open arms. Take a bow Jordy, you’re on a hot streak.
JJF and FBT starring Kelly Slater
Haircuts are happening right now. It’s not likely you can ask for a ‘John Florence salty perm with reverse mullet’ at your local barber shop, but if you could, it would be a popular choice. JJF has returned looking sharp, loose, flexible and a little angry. That’s the surfing, not the haircut. The two time World Champion’s performance in the 2019 Quiksilver Pro was a testament to his relevance to the sport. He’s needed for all the right reasons. The range of performance, the variety of skill set, a different style to the cookie cutter conventions of the over trained competitive surfer.
Like Jordy Smith, the likeable Hawaiian is well teed up to go into Bells knowing a final is very much a possibility.
FBT. Fooled By Trailer. It’s what happens when you get suckered by an enthralling, gripping and suspenseful trailer to a film, that has none of those qualities. You realise, 10 minutes in, you’ve been duped. All the good bits, were in fact, in the trailer. An A list cast and Academy Award winning Director doesn’t mean anything if the feature fails to compel.
The trailer for Return of the King, Kelly Slater, at the 2019 Quiksilver Pro was dramatic, and most definitely worth watching. The 11 times World Champion starred in many clips leading up the event. Interest was piqued, it was time for the main show. Unfortunately, Slater’s performance was not up to task as he was bundled out in Round 2.
In my opinion, Kelly Slater will always be relevant. Despite the sharp upward curve that we’re seeing from the current leaders of the sport, one cannot deny Slater’s GOAT status.
But has he missed the right time to exit the stage gracefully, with influence and reputation still intact? Should it have happened at the same time as Mick Fanning or Joel Parkinson? Or earlier? We’ll have to see which Kelly Slater feature will be playing at the Bells Beach amphitheater to get a clearer picture…
Caroline Marks is the future
I won’t repeat the Occy similarities that have run their course, there’s a lot more to Caroline Marks than that. It feels unfair to ‘copy and paste’ her approach like that. It’s lazy. And that’s a word you don’t associate with her approach to competing and her savage and brutal power surfing. Throughout the event, Marks never looked to be out of control or at odds with syncing up those big hooks, right in the teeth of every section she found.
Watch the final here, if you can find fault with her timing, fluidity and composure, please hit me up.
Will Gabriel Medina strike back at Bells Beach, what about Julian Wilson and Filipe Toledo? Has Jordy Smith already booked an appointment with the dentist to ring the bell again? Will John Florence continue to attack and how many people will get their popcorn ready to watch, The Return of the King part 2, starring you know who.
I’ll be watching from the couch, and as always, look forward to your company.