All Hail the Gath, Who is Really World No.1, and Puuuuuumping Pre-Event Chopes!

30 Aug 2019 2 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Icons being iconic.

Icons being iconic.

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was August 30, 2019

1. Owen Takes Chopes, Gabriel Does Big Jump up Rankings As Expected

How unreal was this?! In a repeat of last year’s final of the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, it was Gabriel Medina and Owen Wright who were battling it out for the trophy, the main difference this year, however, was that the surf was kinda pumping. Oh, and the result too. Owen Wright finally got the win at Chopes, an event he’d finished second at twice before and a wave where he’s been an absolute standout year on year on year – notably taking out the Andy Irons Commitment Award in 2014 when the surf was bonkers. You should read Sean Doherty’s report from an epic final day to get the best perspective on the greater story. But I’ll add a couple stray observations here.

– Where’s the Andy Irons award gone?There would have been plenty of contenders for the Andy Irons Award… only I didn’t hear it mentioned anywhere on the broadcast or see it handed out,” wrote Doherty in his report. “Did I miss something?” I don’t think you did, Seano. Bizarrely, an award that’s become synonymous with one of the premier surfing events we have seems to have disappeared. We could speculate that this has something to do with Billabong no longer being the title sponsor of the event, and competitor Hurley too now on board as the “presenting” sponsor. If that’s the case, it’s a really weird thing for our sport to have the legacies of legends past, as well as awards that we’re building our sport around, tied to the whims of a commercial property disconnected from the governing body of the sport itself. A sudden disappearance of the award undoes all the work put in earlier to build it into something prestigious, and screws around with the legacy of Andy, cheapening the sport of surfing in the process. Silly. Silly. Silly.

– Who is really World No.1? Now that we have seven of the eleven events behind us, it’s time to take a look at the rankings and do some bad maths to work out who’s where. Filipe Toledo, with a 9th in Tahiti leap-frogged Kolohe (who had a shocker 17th) to take the world no.1 spot. Jordy Smith getting to the semis also pushed him up significantly, jumping four spots and also past Kolohe to second on the rankings, while Medina’s expected push north towards a World Title campaign has begun, with him fitting snugly into fourth now, which is his first time in the top 5 since Bells. But as we know, the rankings we see listed on the WSL site only kinda sorta tell the full story. Let’s do some subtracting of each surfer’s two worst results, as is done at year's end to determine the World Champ, and switch it all back around.

So, the current top 5:

1. Filipe Toledo (36,600)
2. Jordy Smith (35,450)
3. Kolohe Andino (35,175)
4. Gabriel Medina (34,695)
5. John John Florence (32,690)

Now let’s adjust them. FYI, if you have a 17th and 9th (Filipe, Jordy), you lose 4650 points. If you have two 17ths (Kolohe, Gabriel), take away 2660 points. John John, who has two did-not-start injury pull-outs to his name, has 530 points taken from his total (the same as two 33rds).

The adjusted top five then becomes:

1. Kolohe (32,515)
2. John John (32,160)
3. Gabriel (32,035)
4. Filipe (31,950)
5. Jordy (30,800)

– Gath Hats. Gath hats are back, and they’re back in a big way. Owen bloody well won the thing in a Gath. He wrote on Instagram, following the big penultimate day, “I remember saying to myself ‘just go... you have a helmet on’!!” Jeremy Flores also wore a Gath, as did local wildcard Kauli Vaast. This is the coolest Gath Hats have been since I was 10 years old on holiday at Apollo Bay and saw an intimidating teenager riding his bike down the street wearing one – peak Gath era. Thats a 20 year turnaround and I am here for it.

2. Teahupo'o Was Quite Big Before The Event

These summaries of the ten main things from the week in surfing on the internet are meant to be brief. The above one about the Tahiti Pro is over 600 words. I'm sorry about that. The rest of these are going to be much shorter. Like this:

Before the event window of the Tahiti Pro Teahupo’o, Chopes was met with some unbelievable swell. This here is an edit of unridden waves from said swell as seen from the Channel.

3. Koa Rothman's View of the Big Teahupo'o Swell

Another pre-event, Tahiti swell clip, this time from Koa Rothman's YouTube vlog series: Here’s an unrelated Kurt Vonnegut quote altered to be relevant to the swell and it missing the Tahiti Pro:

“Good Swells are good swells. They do not change. They do not lend themselves to event windows or explanations. They simply are. Take them moment by moment, and you will find that we are all, as I’ve said before, a bunch of kooks staring at a webcast.”

4. Conner Coffin at the Surf Ranch

Now that Tahiti is done, it’s time to set our sights on the next event, which is the man-made wave comp, the Freshwater Pro held at the Kelly Slater Wave Company Wave Pool Surf Ranch Long Name place. Here’s Conner Coffin’s recent visit to the venue. The comp starts on September 19, depending on the forecast (nyak nyak nyak).

5. Matt Banting's Lost Tapes

Part two from the Matt Banting-is-back-and-he’s-ripping celebration we’re having at the moment, dropping clips from the past year and a bit shot in South Africa, Portugal, France and home in Australia. Let’s go, Matty Banting!

6. Quite Solid Skeleton Bay

This clip is probably very good – it’s by viral surf clip guy Bret Barley and features absolutely pumping Skeleton Bay – but there’s no escaping the fact that this clip is 35 minutes long and I’m refusing to click play on it till someone builds a little thing in the scrub bar of YouTube clips that signposts when different part of the video are. I just came up with that idea now and definitely didn’t get that idea from another website.

7. Here's a Grungy and Cool Freesurfing Clip Without Any Dudes

A nice and trippy/atmospheric clip from Vans that features the stylish Lee-Ann Curren and powerful Basque Country surfer Ainara Aymat shredding across Indonesia. More more more more of this please.

8. Jamie O'Brien Surfing Small Ours

Jamie O’Brien’s tour of Aus continues with the Hawaiian YouTube surf Vlog king taking in Ours/Cape Solander/Cape Fear on the southern tip of Sydney. I don’t understand the “all the female things”…“like diseases” line.

9. Tia Blanco Surfing In Fiji

Do you know how many more clicks I could have gotten with a screenshot of this video as the thumbnail? Honestly, thousands more. But they aren't the clicks I want, I want to earn the clicks. No shortcuts. No butt screenshots. I'm doing surf internet the old fashioned way. Anyway, here's two-time ISA champ, Puerto Rican pro Tia Blanco surfing some really fun-looking waves in Fiji.

10. When Big-Wave Paddle Surfing Came Back

Red Bull Surfing has been producing these really high-end You-Tube documentary series lately, and they’ve been serious quality. The last series, documenting the modern history of big wave surfing in Central California, has been no exception. The final episode looks at Mavericks and the renaissance of paddle surfing (over jet-skis).

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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