Today was an excruciatingly painful start to a Wednesday morning. It was like waking up after a night out, looking at your bank account and realising that your evening endeavours didn’t treat your ‘Savings Account’ with kindness. Your Indo dreams now lying disbanded on the dance floor. You make your way to the kitchen to pour yourself a glass of water (which you can now barely afford) and see flashbacks of you swiping, dicing and handing beers to your party comrades. That’s how we felt after heat one featuring Jordy Smith and Owen Wright. As soon as Jordy has a chance at the yellow jersey, he melts away like a fresh soft serve under the broiling African sun. It melts away, running down the sides of the sugar cone and sticking to your hands. Luckily with the surf pumping there was redemption and forgiveness and it made it easier to throw aside that melted ice-cream and focus on the entertainment out front. Here are four surfers we reckon could take this thing out after today’s action.
All images the might Ian ‘Hawkman’ Thurtell
Filipe Toledo – Holy Toledo
After Jordy vs Owen: the heat where we all slumped into a deep sadness, we witnessed several average to good performances, until Filipe Toledo dived into the lineup. Earlier in the day, a mate and I were chatting fairly loudly about Toledo; the Toledo Slater match-up at Keramas in particular. We were discussing how Kelly used his mind games against Toledo in Bali, singing his praises in an interview with the WSL, saying that it would take a lot to beat Filipe. But we reckon Kelly knew what he was doing. When someone sings your praises, you lower your guard and Kelly the master of mind games took advantage, delivering Toledo an overhand right to knock him out of the competition. Lord knows Gabby wouldn’t have fallen for that trickery. Toledo happened to pass us as we were having our chat and perhaps he overheard us musing about his Bali loss because when he paddled out to face Willian Cardoso, Filipe buried him alive. On his 9.43 opener, he looked like Leonidas, king of the Greek city-state of Sparta at the Battle of Thermopylae against King Xerxes of Persia. King Leonidas was a skilled, strong warrior, born to fight. In the Battle of Thermopylae he tore through thousands upon thousands of Persian warriors to reach Xerxes, much like Filipe Toledo at Supertubes today. At the end of his 9.43, Filipe let out a scream and if you slow it down to lip read, he says, “THIS IS SPARTAAAAA!!”
It’ll take Xerxes himself, a demigod resurrected from the dead to eliminate Filipe before the finals… and we don’t see that happening.
Kanoa Igarashi – The Go-cart Days are Over
I once worked with this dude who was a go-cart racer. It was a random waitering job I picked up to make some dollar before a holiday in Portugal. As with any waitering position your colleagues become your family because you spend so much time at the restaurant doing double shifts. One of my colleagues was a professional go-cart racer. I didn’t know people took that kind of stuff seriously but evidently, they did. One day when my colleague invited me to one of his races, I had to come up with an excuse and quick, stating something about my grannie’s bday. Back in Kanoa’s first year on tour, he looked like a go-cart racer. He knew which lines to draw, he knew how to win heats, how to use priority, what waves to go on, but he just didn’t have the power to play with the big boys. He looked like a grom who had Jake Patterson as a coach. But Kanoa’s go-cart days are over. He’s thrown that thing in the trashcan and found himself a real car, a formula one style vehicle, V8, turbos, free flow, running off jet fuel. And oh, how glorious it is to watch! Like a fresh (glass) bottle of sparkling water on a hot summer’s day.
Kanoa and Jeffreys Bay seem like an unlikely pair, especially since Kanoa grew up surfing Huntington Beach, but Kanoa surfs fast, powerfully, never loses concentration and keeps his speed up. All necessities for being a great J-Bay surfer. It’s a pity Kanoa and Filipe are on the same side of the draw, cause imagine how sick a Filipe-Kanoa final would’ve been? Especially since three years ago, when Filipe won his first Corona Open J-Bay event, he made Kanoa look like a complete fool in his round 3 heat.
Carissa Moore – Welcome to the Party
Where’s Rissa been all event? We’ve seen standout performances from Lakey, we’ve seen standout performances from Steph, Caroline and Johanne Defay but we have heard little from Carissa. Until today that is.
It seems today was the day Carissa discovered how to surf Jeffreys Bay; hard-off-the-bottom, hard-off-the-top!
On Carissa’s first wave of her heat against previous round’s standout Johanne Defay, she layed down the law, dropping the turn of the event, a massive in the pocket layback jam. She backed it up with two more turns, fell on the closeout float and the judges still awarded her an excellent ride (8.17). On Carissa’s second scoring ride, she drilled two massive off-the-lip snaps and then pulled into a deep double up drainer on the inside, the best barrel we’ve seen on the women’s side of the draw. The judges threw excellent scores at her like a plus-sized Father Christmas with a white beard throwing presents at well-behaved kids.
Carissa ended with a heat score total of 17.67, easily the highest of the event thus far and suddenly, Rissa looks good to take this thing out!
Lakey Peterson – In Attack Mode
The other day I had the absolute delight of sharing a session with Lakey Peterson and her husband. While Lakey hunted around the inside like a thug hustles people for cash, Lakey’s husband and I patiently sat out back for a set. I looked over at Lakey’s husband and noticed his facial features soft as a baby’s bottom. Like he hadn’t missed a single Nivea moisturising session or as if he had never forgotten to apply sunscreen before a surf. A set came through and it was Lakey’s husband’s chance to go, he swung around and began to paddle, but an old balie riding a minimal, pretending not to see him, burnt his ass like a bad sausage. Instead of protesting, Lakey’s husband looked crushed and he proceeded to pull through the back of the wave. Hell if that old fart had dropped in on Lakey, she’d have given that man the ‘what for!’ She’d have raised her fists and fly kicked him right in the face! It then occurred to me how different Lakey and her husband are. Lakey’s husband is soft and sweet, Lakey’s, kinda mean, driven and constantly in attack mode.
Supers is a wave you have to meet power for power. You’re either all in or all out. There’s no middle ground! You have to bang that thing. You have to attack it! And Lakey does just that. She attacks and Supers loves it … and so do the judges.