19 October, 2018
19 October, 2018
Sad Day for Saffas on the WCT
Following the elimantion of both Mikey February (Round 2) and Jordy Smith (Round 3) Zag touched base with Alan Van Gysen, our eyes and ears on the ground in Peniche. We wanted to gauge the vibe amongst the South African contingent, search for a silver lining and get a first hand account of what went wrong on the Portuegese leg of the tour. Go on, get stuck in.
Competitors and fans alike woke up to a rain-drenched Peniche yesterday morning after a front moved down though Portugal bringing with it a solid new groundswell and epic waves for Day 3 of the Meo Rip Curl Pro, Portugal. Fortunately the tides this year haven’t been too radical so regardless of the high tide, barrels were on offer from sunrise and right throughout the day, which made the commissioner, South African Travis Logie’s job all the more easier.
Jeremy Flores (FRA) is eliminated from the 2018 MEO Rip Curl Pro Portugal with an equal 13th finish after placing second in Heat 8 of Round 3 in Peniche, Portugal.
Standouts included the heat winners of course, but special mention must be made for all those who pulled into what were some of the heaviest beach break barrels any surf fans have seen this year. Jeremy Flores’s last minute effort to pull-back in the lip of a dredger was the highlight wipeout of the day. With too much momentum and water moving forward he went over the falls, in spectacularly fashion – board spinning in the lip while he crashed into the flats. **Video attached below**
World footballing heavyweight, Neymar Jr, even made an appearance spotting for and supporting good friend Gabriel Medina. Portuguese surf fans went as wild seeing the global, football phenom as they did for Medina’s win in Round 4. Medina is now three heats away from winning the 2018 title and looking as deadly, hungry and nimble as a wild jungle cat. Being Brazilian let’s call him a jaguar – the yellow jersey’s match too.
Following his Round 3 exit, Filipe Toledo was visibly upset, storming out of the event site still in his wetsuit while his wife, child and dad struggled to keep up. Throwing his two surfboards into the back of a bakkie he disappeared. A fair reaction some would say as Toledo’s loss essentially gives Gaby a clear run to a second world title.
Neymar Jr sussing the conditions while close friend Medina charges out back. Alan Van Gysen ©
Unfortunately the Saffa camp didn’t fare well in Portugal this year, with Michael February bowing out in yesterday’s Round 2 and Jordy in today’s Round 3. Jordy was obviously very frustrated after narrowly losing to Matt Wilkinson in their Round 3 battle by a mere 0.6. Banging the nose of his board against the wet sand on the high tide mark he made a beeline for the judges tower and spent the better part of an hour up there.
The feeling in camp Jordy was that Wilko was over-scored for his second wave – a 7.0 for a series of similar backhand turns which resulted in Jordy’s elimination. Wilko’s total of 12.83 against Jordy’s 12.77. Jordy scored the highest wave total of 7.67 for a massive, critical shorebreak floater which would have broken most surfers legs and/or surfboards.
“Europe is like a bag of Skittles,” reflects Jordy. “You throw them on the ground and you’re lucky or unlucky with what you get. It really just comes down to what comes through in any given heat, and no matter how much you prepare you’re at the mercy of the ocean.”
He’s got style and you bet your ass he has grace, Mikey February. Alan Van Gysen ©
Michael February was not available for comment on the day, he did however mention in conversation the day before that: “Europe was fun, but not the result I wanted obviously. I’m looking ahead to Hawaii now and looking to do my best at the Triple Crown with the goal of re-qualifying for 2019. Failing that, I’ll focus on the prime events on the QS schedule next year and focus on some special projects I have going.”
From all of us at the Zag, keep your chin up boys! We’re looking forward to a strong Hawaiian finish.