20 April, 2020 20 April, 2020

The Fat Black Lip – Our Fave Heats… Ever!

If there’s one thing this lockdown has allowed us, it’s to stop and smell the roses. Cause there ain’t nothing to do. Unless of course, you work online, then it’s probably business as usual. Surf media has stagnated to a standstill, there are no WSL events and we can’t surf. That leaves us with an excess of our favourite commodity…time. I must admit I consume surf media like a fat piggy. I used to smoke entjies and after every task at work, I’d reward myself with a cheeky rollie cigarette. But I quit smoking, so now I reward myself with cheeky 2-3 minute surf edits or an interesting article. It pretty much means if it’s out there, I’ve probably read/watched it. Now, there’s a lack of surf media and I’ve come to realise how much I consume. My appetite is insatiable. I’m often unappreciative of the media I consume. If it ain’t groundbreaking I’ll probably be scrolling through Instagram while I watch. What have I become!? 

The last FBL I wrote about was about free surf clips on Youtube – and it was the first time I had rewatched many of those clips. I noticed some incredible details I hadn’t before: videography, angles, colours, music. I Shazam’ed songs I had skipped past before and celebrated unique lines the surfers drew. It was a revelation, and one I could only have come to by slowing down.

So in celebration of the roses which we walk by and never stop to smell, here are four of our favourite heats from years gone.

Jordy Smith vs Conner Coffin


Corona Open J-Bay 2017: In heat 3 of round 5 of the 2017 Corona Open J-Bay, Jordy Smith came up against Californian Conner Coffin. Jordy Smith proceeded to deliver Conner with a powerful, crowd-pleasing hiding. You know, the kinda hiding you received when your father was gatvol of your crap. Snowball effect beating – the more he beat you the angrier he became. But while the action continued – rumours began to circulate about a heat re-surf; Conner vs Jordy – on account of the judges missing one of Conner’s waves. 

After round 5 had completed, the powers that be made it official: Heat 3 of round 5, Jordy vs Conner Re-surf. Jordy was livid! Raging. He emerged from Cheron’s pathway like an angry lion in the Savannah and slipped through the keyhole. Jordy hustled the first wave off Conner and proceeded to paint that thing red with rage. Massive layback gouges, deep rail arcs. Conner got the second wave, better, bigger, hollower. Conner gets a three-section barrel, but he rides it like a manhandling a hot potato; reserved and safe. The judges awarded Jordy a 9.37 for his efforts. It was one of my first assignments for Zigzag: covering the 2017 J-Bay Open and I was viewing all action from the Media Room. Just then G-Force (Jordy’s dad) walks into the Media Room right in time for Conner’s wave replay. Moustache as thick as a fat cat’s tail dangling like a juicy banana from his top lip. “That’s not a 9.37” He stated and walked out the door. “Last of Conner, an 8.67.” The commentator reads out – bang on was G-Force and that filthy Moustache. Jordy proceeds to surf his next wave perfectly; 10 point ride, burying Conner Coffin alive for the second time that a day.

John John Florence vs Taj Burrow


Fiji Pro 2016: After a long and illustrious career, filled with world title battles and era-defining movies, Taj Burrow decided to throw in the towel to his professional surfing career at the 2016 Fiji Pro. And what a perfect event to do so. Going to Fiji is pretty much like enjoying an island vacation with a couple of heats in pumping surf thrown in for good measure. And if you do well, you might just end up walking away with a couple extra hundred grand in your bank account. Where do I sign up? Oh yes, you have to go through hell (the QS) to get there. No thanks. Anyway, I digress, while in Fiji Taj had thrown a soiree of epic proportions. He and his mates all gathered together in paradise to bid him farewell. An Australian’s dream. Thus it was questionable as to whether TB would take his round 3 heat against JJF seriously. JJF going for a world title and TB (maybe) wanting to gift pro surfing with a lasting impression upon departure. But from wave one, it was clear that Taj Burrow was going to give JJF hell. The waves pumped, a festival of barrels, 8-10 foot picture-perfect Cloudbreak. Like something out of a dream. Taj Burrows’s backhand attack was electrifying, lightning bolts through the lip. Drifting the tail on 10ft waves like he was stealing candy from a child. The heat was a see-saw affair, lead changing hands multiple times. Final exchange and JJF drops a 9.33 to take the lead off TB. Taj Burrow gets the next wave. A screamer. lengthy barrel, wrestling multiple foam balls like a demon from hell to emerge on the other side, redeemed and elated. With pure ecstasy pumping through his veins, Taj Burrow could only stand in awe, unable to finish the wave off with a turn.  Needing a 9.56, Taj gets a 9.4. The question is, if Taj had garnished the final wave of his professional surfing career with a turn, would he have acquired the score? And maybe even won the event? Who knows…

Mick Fanning vs Kelly Slater vs John John Florence 


Billabong Pipeline Masters 2015: It’s the final event of 2015, the Billabong Pipeline Masters and Mick Fanning is going for his 4th world title. He and Brazilian Adriano de Souza are in a battle till death. Mick Fanning leading the ratings, wearing the yellow jersey with a rabid Brazilian, Adriano wanting to rip that thing off him. Adriano needed to place one heat ahead of Mick to claim the title. Unfortunately for Mick, he was on the more challenging side of the draw. Now before you raise your pitchforks and burn my house down, I’m not saying there are any walkthrough heats on the WT, but certainly, there are easier heats than others – especially at the mother of all waves, Pipeline. For example in round 4, Adriano faced Josh Kerr and Adam Melling, while Mick forged battle against Kelly Slater and John John Florence. Kelly the king of Pipeline and John John the prince. You tell me what heat you’d rather surf? 

In Mick’s round 4 heat the waves were absolutely pumping. Huge 8ft log cabin bombs. Wider than one of those outrageously decadent wine glasses they use at fancy wine estates. Mick was the underdog, but they all went blow for blow. Kelly dropped an 8.17, Mick an 8.00 than John John a near-perfect 9.83, the crowd goes wild! Kelly snags a huge backdoor bomb for a 7.33 and takes the lead convincingly. The ocean goes dead. Pipeline on a lunch break. And when it rumbled back to life Mick found himself a dream wave! Stalling himself into the depths of hell where he fought off a demonic foam ball, before emerging out the trough of the barrel into glorious daylight. The crowd goes wild!! Mick wins the heat and remains in title contention. 

The crazy thing about the whole saga was that Mick had found out that morning that his brother had died in his sleep. What a warrior!

John John Florence vs What’s Possible


Drug Aware Margaret River Pro 2017: It’s extremely difficult to pick out one heat from John John’s 2017 Margaret River campaign – they were all just so incredibly groundbreaking. JJF redefined what was possible at the main break and dare I say, made it exciting to watch. Let’s be honest here for a second, The Box and North Point are world-class, challenging and death-defying waves. Many a famous movie part has been shot at both. And a couple of the biggest alley-oops have been landed at North Point. But firing Margaret River main break has never struck envy in the hearts of men. Not until John John Florence 2017. JJF is credited with the first human in history to actually make people want to surf Main Break. There should be a special award for that.

John and Pyzel had recently developed the Ghost surfboard model together and it looked like JJF and the Ghost were made for Margeret River. Besides round 1, JJF’s heat score totals read, 19.27, 19.16, 18.04, 19.27 in the semifinals and 19.03 in the finals against Kolohe. In fact John John combo’d every single one of his opponents except Michel Bourez in the Quarterfinals. In his semifinal heat against Jack Freestone, after one huge breathtakingly beautiful carve, Ronnie Blakey said, “Can you pass me that box of tissues Pots, I’m about to cry… that was so beautiful.” And that pretty much sums up JJF’s 2017 Margaret River performance. He had grown-ass men, battle-harden warriors from all around the globe weeping in pure elation. It was like Babylon had set the captives free to return to the Holy City, Zion. Oh, what a blessed day! Let the people weep for joy. And let them not forget all the boggy turns we endured in previous years.

The WSL has been putting out some phenomenal content to keep us all on track in the head. Be sure to check the likes of; The WSL Rewind, The WSL Vault, their new series Lawn Patrol and the second season of All in. 

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