Mikey Wright Rules Again! Koa Smith's Epic Pipeline Angle, and the Biggest Pro Surfing Changes Since Man-On-Man Heats?

1 May 2020 2 Share

Mike Jennings

Senior Writer

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things from Surfing & the Internet on the Week That Was May 1 2020

1. Your Weekly COVID-19 Surfing Related Update – WSL Made Big Announcements!

Which is your favourite of the WSL's major announcements this week? (To read more about them, read our interview with WSL CEO Erik Logan here, and definitely check out my guy Sean Doherty's waxing lyrical on what this could all mean, and what'll happen next)

Is it the announcement that the WSL will again be postponing all events through to June 1? Probably not.

Is it the announcement that the WSL will revamp the way World Titles are decided from 2021 on, with a Surf-Off final event? Maybe, maybe.

Or is it the announcement that the QS and CT will no longer be run concurrently? That's my favourite.

With the Pipe Masters often ending just before Christmas and Snapper getting things going again in March, the WSL CT season is just far too long. Too long for the audience to stay meaningfully engaged with that one race, and too long for surfers to stay switched on, fit and ready to compete for World Titles year on year on year. Surfers have gone whole careers without meaningful offseasons. Add to that the duel load the backmarkers have to navigate by doing the Qualifying Series as a safety net at the same time they're preparing for CT events... it's just too bloody much. By splitting the year between the two, the top dogs will get some time to rest, or, if they have the yearn, time to focus on creative projects, while those in the basement can dedicate themselves properly to qualifying during a designated qualifying season. On top of that, the QS race will be more defined and easier to follow for us surf fans. Everyone wins.

That said, it's all kind of speculation as to how this will play out, isn't it? What happens to the Triple Crown? Will they end the QS year at Sunset, and start the CT year in January at the Pipe Masters? What snacks will I eat on the couch to watch them play out? So many questions, so so many questions.

2. Mikey Wright Is The Rad

The Weet-Bix kid is back! Back from injury, back ripping the absolute crap out of everything he paddles into, and back dropping knee-rattlingly good surf clips. What a damn damn shame we haven’t had a chance to see him surf on the CT this year. What would it mean for surfing if a bloke like Mikey Wright won a World Title? He’s got the game, he’s got the work-ethic (ever seen a video of the guy doing gym work? Yikes) and he’s got the competitive pedigree, it’s something that could definitely happen one day. But what sliding doors would be moved for the future of surfing and surf culture if he was a World Champ, you think? None? You think none? Yeah, fair enough.

3. Torren Martyn at Deserts

Thank You Mother is a feature length surf movie by Ishka Folkwell starring twin-fin glide-lord Torren Martyn. It also features narration from Morning of the Earth director Albe Falzon. This here is eight minutes of that movie, the Desert Point section. Beautiful stuff.

4. Mason Ho Surfs Bombing Pipe on a Single Fin

We so often get caught up talking about Mason Ho’s radical approach to wave riding that we often forget to make comments about what a wonderful bouffant of hair he’s been growing lately. Look at that thing! It’s wonderful! Where are the quarantine podcasts coming out of the woodwork to talk about that? Anyway, this clip has Mason surfing a Timmy Patterson single-fin shaped in the late 90s for Donovan Frankenreiter. Seeing him take on 15-foot Pipe with the thing is further proof that Mason Ho is the best and most interesting dude in surfing.

5. Koa Smith Nails Wild Pipe Angle

The Koa Smith brothers YouTube vlog the last Pipeline swell of the season and include some of the best Go-Pro angles ever taken out there. Given it’s the most photographed and videoed wave in the world, that’s quite a feat. Also interesting to see how commonplace Gath hats are out there now. How many would there have been at the same session five years ago?

6. Get Ripped With T-Wright's Exercise Secrets

The best thing about this series of training videos by our two-time World Champ is just how accessable and free most-all the exercises are to do. Apart from that one resistance band, the one other bit of equipment you'd use she made out of some tie-downs, old PVC piping and a tree. Shame about the wind audio though.

7. West Aus Dude Ben Gradisen Doing West Aus Things (Charging Tubes, Surfing Unreal)

Relatively unknown 18-year-old Ben Gradisen hits it for six with this short, sharp and shit-hot edit this week, making us all big big fans. The underrated highlight though is the filming credit he gives in the YouTube description: "Filmed by the old boy, mates. Yew."

8. Italo, The World Champ, Rules

I’m so stoked that Italo dropped a video in black and white that features him running on the beach in slow motion. It rules. The clip would rule anyway, but that touch for the intro is killer. Note the end-credits too: Creative Director – Italo Ferreira. It’s been said before, but Italo really does surf like one of those old wind-up toys. Energy energy energy energy energy energy.

9. The Origins of Surfing and Bodyboarding

Andy Burgess is a camera-facing millennial filmmaker from London who has spent the last eight months working on short docos about the origins of “extreme sports”.  This is his crack at surfing’s history for Red Bull. What do you reckon? Perhaps a bit cringe in parts, but it does feature some absolutely beautiful paipo and alaia boards.

10. Remember That Epic John John Margies Event?

The WSL have this week been dropping full heats and footage from the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro in 2017. In this event John John scored nine 9-point waves in his six heats. It's one of the all-time great performances in a surf contest, by anyone of any era. What was incredible about it wasn't just how well John John was surfing, it was the chasm between him and every single other person in the comp. It was as if the ocean was speaking another language and John was the only guy who'd downloaded the DuoLingo for it. Here are a bunch of those 9s.

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

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