Jack Robbo's Sunset Surfing Was Legend-Making, Chippa Wilson's Clip of the Year Contender, and the Road to the 2021 CT Begins In... China?

6 Dec 2019 4 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

Photo: WSL/Heff

Photo: WSL/Heff


Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was December 6, 2019

1. Carissa Moore is the 2019 World Champ

Carissa Moore became the first Hawaiian to win four World Titles this week after holding off Caroline Marks and Lakey Peterson at the final event of the year, the lululemon Mau Pro at Honolua Bay. To read the best recap of the event, hit up Sean Doherty's report, it's good.

Despite not being a World Title showdown within Australian contention, it was a bloody good event for the Aussies, with Steph Gilmore taking the win – knocking out World Titlers Carissa Moore and Caroline Marks in the process – and Tyler Wright having a near perfect return to competition, making the final after 17 months out of the water due to illness. 

On top of that, Nikki Van Dijk who was in a do or die situation with qualification for 2020 surfed her way into the quarters and above the brutal cut-off. It means there will be eight Australians on the women's CT next year – that's pretty much half the tour.

But back to Carissa, congratulations to the Champ! She rules!

2. Jack Robinson Put On One of the Best Performances of All-Time

Jack Robinson won Sunset, and he qualified for the 2020 CT. That's quite a day.

Don't be fooled by the fact that the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset is a QS, and not a CT – a Sunset win is about as prestigious and legendary as surfing comps can get. To get your name on the trophy is a special thing. To win it the way that Jack did, is quite simply iconic.

I don't really care too much for the "highest score ever" record that is being celebrated from Jack's surfing in the final, because heat scores are relative to the context of that individual heat as well as the context of that era being surfed, but one thing that is irrelevant to context is Jack's performance relative to his peers – and what he did in both the semi-finals, and final of the event should really go down in history as one of the best performances ever at one of competitive surfing's most challenging venues, comboing an elite field.

To put on top of that the fact that Jack had qualification to the Championship tour hanging in the balance... and a lifetime of massive expectations not yet reached for the once teen prodigy and once-considered second comong of John... it's just an amazing example of clutch surfing.

Jack responded to the win in his first opportunity on the mic following his chair-ride up the beach with one of the best responses (or worst responses, depending who you are and your taste for such things) ever. Asked how it feels to finally be on tour, he shrugged with an earnt NBA athlete like arrogance, and said in his half Australian, half Volcom-house Hawaiian/American accent: "Yeah... we ready..."

I thought it was sick.

3. Chippa's Clip is a Late Contender For Best of the Year

For hip sunnies brand Epokhe, Chippa Wilson drops a ten minute video put together by none other than Kai Neville. It’s wild how Chippa Wilson, who exploded into the surfing consciousness late for a pro free surfer – at the beginning of his 20s – has constantly improved and never plateaued. His airgame is unparalleled, and his attitude is too. When Chippa wins, we all win. And Chippa is winning right now with this 

4. A Master Class In Twin-Fin Tuberiding

Speaking of one of the best clips of the year, how about this one? Riding a 6’10” Simon Jones channel bottom twinnie, Torren Martyn puts on an epic performance during a recent-ish Indonesian trip amongst some serious swell. Not for the first time, this guy has sitting back and taking in his unreal lines on epic waves. Clips with better style put out in 2019 would be a short list. Get around it.

5. Does Zeke Lau Have a Case?

What I didn't mention in the write up of Jack's historic win earlier was the incident in the early stages of the final, where Zeke Lau blasted out of a barrel and into the paddling back out Jack Robbo. It's an incident I can't remember seeing in competitive surfing, and had no idea how it would be called. The judges, it seemed, either deemed it not to be an interference, or – my style – just kind of pretended it didn't happen and hoped it would go away in lieu of making a tough decision.

The wave definitely would have been a good score, perhaps an 8. Zeke broke his board in the fall-out, and Jack was not penalised for any kind of interference. Yesterday Zeke Lau – who understandably is pretty frustrated, given he needed to win the event to secure his spot on the 2020 CT – took to Instagram to argue the collision was wrongly judged, by the WSL's own rulebook. You can see his post below.

The rule officially in question here is this:

"When a Surfer is put in a position while paddling out that they cannot get out of the way and a collision happens due to this, it is up to a majority of the Judges to call interference based on whether it is determined to be accidental or not"

After quoting said rule, Zeke – who it must be noted has been pretty graceful and respectful in defeat with his posts first up – wrote:

"My opinion is that we are professional surfers'. The best of the best! Going off the rule, surfer in white COULD have gotten out of the way. From this video clip you can see surfer in white has enough time to make a conscious decision where to paddle. Just so happens that the line he chose is directly where I drew my line to come out of the barrel, which is the ONLY option I had. The surfer paddling out has options to avoid the surfer on the wave. He should be in the channel paddling back out. It should come down to who had priority over the situation. These 2 surfers are not equal in this specific case and the rules should benefit the surfer on the wave utilizing priority.
This ride would have been the first major score of the heat, but was deemed incomplete because surfer in white chose to BAIL his surfboard causing me to fall off, hindering the scoring potential of my wave, breaking my board, and leaving white with priority. How is it okay for the interfering surfer to gain so much advantage from a collision and an interference not be called?"

Jack Robinson commented on the post too:

"Everyone has there opinion, but when you are in the moment the only thing I thought of was to get to the shoulder and also not get ran over it was safety first for me. I have the highest ever respect for you Zeke so I would never try and get in the way of you 🙏🏽"

I think what Zeke is arguing is that Jack could have made a better decision and paddled to the inside so as to not get in the way... unfortunately for Zeke, that's not an argument that matters to this rule in any way. What the WSL rule states the judges have to make the call on here i: "whether it is determined to be accidental or not". I think we can all agree that there is no way this wasn't an accident on Jack's part, a wrong decision, sure, but there is absolutely no way that Jack got his body and board in the way of Zeke exiting the tube as a DELIBERATE act, right? In that spot, at that wave, that would be bonkers.

Zeke's right that he's been hard done by, and this is a shitty situation that did change the momentum of the heat, and it did ruin what would have been one of his best scoring rides of the heat, but his argument has to rest on the idea that Jack Robinson – or "the surfer in white" as he describes him – deliberately cooked him so, and I'm not sure even Zeke want to make that kind of accusation, does he?

Now, if we wanna talk about the rule being wrong, that's another story, for another day... I'm checking out though, it's lunchtime and I've got a peanut butter sandwich that isn't going to eat itself.

6. Mick, Parko and the Boys Sold Their Beer

Just four years after pro surfers Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson, Josh Kerr and Bede Durbidge – alongside industry vets like Stirling Howland  and others – launched their beer brand, Balter, they've been bought by Carlton United Breweries. Apparently the beer and its operations will remain exactly the same, it'll just be put out by CUB and.. I'm guessing... Mick and the boys made a real pretty penny in the sale. Like a couple of million each. That's a guess though, my knowledge of business comes from Year 9 Business class back in 2001, and all I remember from that is a muddled understanding of the term "opportunity cost".

7. Billabong Women's Team in the Ments

Alessa Quizon, Laura Enever, Jaleesa Vincent, Flick Palmateer and more do a freesurf boat trip through Indonesia and some pretty fun waves. It's really rad that we're getting more women's freesurfing videos put out by brands these days, but just one note: Could we maybe get a little more actual surfing in here? You know... full waves, longer clips, etc.? In a video that's just 2.53 long, the first footage of one of the team riding a wave is at 1.09, (that's about 40% of the way through the clip, FYI), and that shot is a weird arty, blurry, double exposure thing shot from distance. Deserves better. Shouts to Le Shiv with the sick song on the soundtrack, though.

8. Soli Bailey's Quiver For Hawaii

Who likes surfboards? We do! Who likes Soli Bailey? We do! Who likes clips of Soli Bailey talking about the boards he rides in Hawaii? We... they're okay.

9. Let's Watch Mason Ho Ride a 5'2" Fish

If you had told me at the beginning of this week that Mason Ho would be releasing a clip of himself riding a tiny surfboard in fun waves breaking perilously close to some rocks, well I would have totally believed you and continued on with my day eating a peanut butter sandwich. All good things.

10. The 2020 QS Begins Jan 5 in... China?

Yesterday the WSL announced that its new look QS will begin with a QS 5000 (which by the way is a point-weighted event we haven't had before?) at the lefthand pointbreak of Riyue Bay, Hainan Island. It'll be a men's and women's event and called the Corona Open China hosted by Wanning. Well, okay! Here is some footage of the wave:

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

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