Stab Magazine | A Few “Bombs” Graced The Teahupo’o Lineup Today

A Few “Bombs” Graced The Teahupo’o Lineup Today

Using Barton Lynch’s patented approach, we were able to thoroughly enjoy the Tahiti Pro’s Day 3 action.

news // Aug 18, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 7 minutes

At the start of the webcast this morning, Barton Lynch gave an insightful analysis into the world of competitive surfing.

Barton explained that when he’s watching the ocean before a heat, he’s both qualifying and quantifying what he calls the “four different wave types”.

According to Barton, there are your “throwaway waves”, which don’t offer much if any scoring potential. Then there are your “starter waves”, which are good to get a small number on the board but are not desired in the scoreline come heat’s end. There are your “keepers”, which provide ample scoring opportunity and can happily go toward a surfer’s two-wave total. And lastly there are the “bombs”, which have nines and tens written all over them if and only if you can find yourself in the right spot to catch them.

Back in his competitive heyday, Barton would watch the ocean and count how many of each wave type came through the lineup in heat-long intervals. With that info in mind, Barton would develop an informed heat strategy regarding what waves he should or should not take, thus increasing his chance of victory.

The best part is, this strategy can be applied regardless of conditions. It works at 10-foot Pipe the same way it does at, say… three foot Teahupo’o.

So let’s cast our tubular preconceptions aside and consider today’s conditions in a vacuum.

Who caught the starters, the keepers, the bombs?

Who strategized best?

Round 3 Heat 1: Jordy Smith vs. Michael February

While Jordy sat there waiting for the “bombs” that would never come, a few scorable “starters” slipped under his priority, allowing his compatriot February to swing a few half-snaps on his way to victory. As a Tour pro, it’s worth remembering that the points earned at this event, no matter how bad the conditions, count the same as those earned from Pipeline, Snapper, and Lemoore. This fact is oft forgotten when the waves go pear, leading to countless World Title snafus and, on one occasion, Keanu Asing winning a CT event.

Round 3 Heat 2: Zeke Lau vs. Michael Rodrigues

As much as I hate to project surfing stereotypes, Zeke looked very Hawaiian today in his committed and reef-savvy approach, whereas Michael looked incredibly Brazilian with his arms splayed out and rails skipping through turns. Zeke won easily.

Round 3 Heat 3: Wade Carmichael vs. Jesse Mendes

Wade and Jesse both surfed as well as they could have on the few waves provided in this heat – so similarly well, in fact, that they almost tied. However Wade won by several facial hairs.

Round 3 Heat 4: Owen Wright vs. Joel Parkinson

Owen owned this heat in an impressive but unsurprising fashion, but what really matters here is Parko. Joel Parkinson, the guy who’s been obsessed with sinking his shortboard’s tender rail since the age of (probably) four, was riding a full-blown groveller today – short, fat, and probably epoxy! This little board was slipping and sliding all over the place, meanwhile Parko struggled just to hold on. Might we see him go straight for the alaia at Lemoore?

Round 3 Heat 5: Adriano de Souza vs. Kanoa Igarashi

In an otherwise sleepy heat, Adriano provided a dynamite ending by twice-tagging and once-poo-floating a wide west bowl, giving him just the 7.5 he needed to take the lead. Not yet knowing that he needed a score, Kanoa took off on a crumbly runner and threw a couple windshield-wipers at the lip before barely surviving an end section snap. As the horn finally sounded, the judges decided that Kanoa had gotten the score by two tenths of a point. Now seven events into the season, our 2015 World Champ has yet to claw his way into the quarters.  

Round 3 Heat 6: Filipe Toledo vs. Tikanui Smith

Tahitian wildcard Tikanui Smith slid out and fell on the best wave of the heat, likely the result of the busted knee he earned in the wave-rich trials. Like the savage predator that he is, Filipe preyed on that weakness and beat the hell out of Teahupo’o’s translucent walls, which after the wave he caught here a couple weeks ago, must have felt like a helpless punching bag to the 2018 World Champion.

Round 3 Heat 7: Gabriel Medina vs. Wiggolly Dantas

Despite several impressive power hacks, Wiggolly’s failure to mix turns with tubes left him chasing Medina the entire heat. And there’s no beating Medina at Teahupo’o on turns alone.

Round 3 Heat 8: Kolohe Andino vs. Frederico Morais

There’s no doubt in anyone’s mind that Kolohe Andino pours his heart and soul into competitive surfing. The emotions he expresses (both good and bad) in the heat of the moment give a direct insight to his passion for the sport. That is admirable.

Today, caught in the throes of a seesaw match with Freddy Morais and needing a high six, Kolohe threaded the best tube of the heat before throwing a mid-wave claim, finishing with two turns, then claiming again.

While this initially made me cringe, Strider reversed my logic when likening Kolohe’s post-wave emotion to that of the Brazilians, and how almost everybody on Tour has adopted that type of overt competitive spirit.

Strider’s reasoning, which is quite profound if you ask me, is as follows: “Surfing creates all these crazy emotions inside of you, so why not just let it go… when you feel it?”

Round 3 Heat 9: Mikey Wright vs. Yago Dora

Yago Dora caught one “keeper” and one “bomb” but got the scores reversed on account of safety-surfing the most bulbous tube of the heat. No matter, Mikey’s wave selection was piss-poor and Yago slid through with ease.

Round 3 Heat 10: Michel Bourez vs. Connor O’Leary

If the WSL weren’t so forthright in their business strategy, you’d have to believe that they’d script a Tahitian victory for Michel Bourez. But no, the WSL is far too pure for that.

One thing worth nothing from this heat is that Michel was beaten in every. single. exchange. For each two wave set that approached the lineup, Michel either had worse wave selection or worse surfing than the on-fire Connor, who used the same barrel-smack approach that earned him a final berth at Cloudy last season (plus today’s only nine-pointer).

Round 3 Heat 11: Jeremy Flores vs. Adrian Buchan

Jeremy Flores is stubborn as an ox and it does him such good. Every time he’s won a tube-riding event (two Pipe Masters, one Tahiti Pro) the competition has finished in far-from-stellar conditions, but because Jeremy is willing to sit there and wait for the one “bomb” in each and every heat, he often finds himself atop the the podium.

In his matchup against Ace today, Jeremy got a couple fives then sat out the back and watched as Ace built an increasingly threatening house right along his fence line.

Jeremy sat as Ace scored a high-5 for three big turns, and he continued to sit as Ace slipped out of a tube and narrowly missed the 4-point-whatever he needed to win. In the end, Jeremy’s patience paid dividends as he was gifted the only “bomb” of the heat, leading to a win that looks wider on paper than it did in real life.

Round 3 Heat 12: Italo Ferreira vs. Ian Gouveia

In the opening stanza, Ian Gouveia stroked into position on a fun-looking left when OUT OF FUCKING NOWHERE Italo motorboated his way deeper and hooked in behind his Brazilian comrade. Peter Mel believed that Ian’s immediate ejection was some smart competitive tactic, but it looked to me like Ian got the ol’ leash tug from his mate Italo. With no interferences awarded it was water under the fins, and Italo stole victory despite his noticeably damaged hammy. Seriously, the guy’s turns were 80% front leg and 20% back.

Round 4 Heat 1: Wade Carmichael v. Zeke Lau v. Michael February

Throughout most of this heat the positions flip-flopped around like a group of vacationing Euros, and it wasn’t until the last three-wave set that the winners were decided. On the first wave, Wade Carmichael negotiated an ultra-ribbed tube before stinging the lip with a masculine hack. Next was Michael February, who threaded a much cleaner tube with the presence of a child cookie thief, tip-toeing his way out of the kitchen before mom could see him. Now needing a score and on wave three of the set, Zeke got partially clipped then totally clamped, leaving him just outside of a quarterfinal berth.

Round 4 Heat 2: Owen Wright v. Filipe Toledo v. Kanoa Igarashi

In his post-loss presser, Kanoa made an initially inane, but on second thought startling (if true) observation. “Whoever makes the least mistakes in a heat usually wins. So [this loss] is my fault.”

But is it true? Is the surfer who makes the least mistakes actually the one who wins most often, making factors like natural talent and luck ultimately moot?

To me this sounds like something a good coach (Snake) would tell an athlete who’s less naturally talented than his peers (Kanoa —-> Owen, Filipe), but maybe I just need to dig into the Heat Analyzers more.

Round 4 Heat 3: Gabriel Medina v. Kolohe Andino v. Yago Dora

And for one beautiful moment in broadcast history, we were able to see Strider’s lizard (or perhaps it was dog) brain battle his professional oaths, when a random but altogether attractive woman in a channel-bound boat revealed that she was in Tahiti… alone… for a month.

Why Strider was interviewing a completely random person in this setting remains unknown, but the dialogue following this revelation was spectacular.

“A month in Tahiti on vacation, and you just happened to show up and the event’s on…” Strider said. “Well, she said she’s here solo for a month so… everybody, come on down to Tahiti, enjoy it, watch some heats, looks like we’re gonna wind this one down.”

You could almost see Strider reminiscing about the days of 10-foot tubes and adoring surf groupies, but as a 40-something commentator with a lovely wife and children at home, Strider knew those things were in the past, despite this present reminder.

Besides, this woman clearly wasn’t there for him, the ex-pro commentator. If anything, she wanted the fresh meat in the lineup.

Shortly after that encounter, and of course completely coincidentally, Kolohe Andino rode a wave and lost his wedding band on the toilet bowl section. Again, just a coincidence, but how weird right?

Brother eventually finished second to a rampaging Medina, who has no real or metaphorical ring weighing him down in any aspect of life.

Round 4 Heat 4: Jeremy Flores v. Connor O’Leary v. Italo Ferreira

Jeremy kept up his elite wave magnetism, this time nabbing two legitimate “bombs” in the space of 35 minutes. This left his competitors fighting eternally for second – a battle that was once within the Australian’s grasp but swung into Italo’s favor when he dropped Fat Man and Little Boy (dual devastating air revs) on Connor’s poor head.

And with that, we bid today adieu.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4

The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.

Dec 2, 2022

‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California

Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.

Dec 1, 2022

The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023

Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?

Dec 1, 2022

What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?

The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.

Dec 1, 2022


Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?

Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.

Nov 30, 2022

After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow

"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay

Nov 30, 2022


Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel

No Contest does Tel Aviv!

Nov 29, 2022


Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF

And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.

Nov 29, 2022

An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf

Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.

Nov 28, 2022


Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg

“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."

Nov 27, 2022

What If You Bought This Sumatran Surf Camp For $690k?

Making a blue print out of surfing's most recurring day dream.

Nov 27, 2022

Sierra Kerr On Greasing Full Rotes, Making Dad Cry & Her Concussion @ VSHPBME 

'I haven’t got my license yet, but I'm thinking of buying a little truck.'

Nov 27, 2022


“There Definitely Needs To Be More Girls That Try Airs”

Caity Simmers' thoughts on her Vans Pipe Masters debut.

Nov 26, 2022

Preview: Who’s John John Florence Flushing Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl?

The final event of the CS schedule is almost upon us. Let's dissect.

Nov 25, 2022


Dane Reynolds Said These Clips Weren’t Good Enough

Could'a fooled us.

Nov 25, 2022

Watch Now: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’

Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…

Nov 24, 2022


How A Magic Island Birthed One Of The Most Radical Surf And Skate Scenes In The World

Mateus Herdy, Pedro Barros and friends in Red Bull x Stab's No Contest, Brazil.

Nov 23, 2022

The Uber Driver Turned Crypto Millionaire Who Denounced His US Citizenship And Whips Into XXL Nazare

"I do what I want, I don't have a boss." -Toby Trouble

Nov 23, 2022