Brazil Transforms Into An Ugly Giant, Filipe And Jordy Take Off Its Head
Storm swell brings new excitement to the Oi Rio Pro.
The Men’s and Women’s elimination rounds passed in my sleep.
A brief scroll through the Analyzer showed that Taina Hinckel, who Renato so badly wants us to believe is not his daughter, squeaked past Sally Fitz and Nikki Van Dijk in small, lumpy conditions. In the following heat, Brisa Hennessy failed to punch the lip with as much knuckle as her competitors, delivering the Costa Rican her first 17th of the season.
On the men’s side, Alex Ribeiro took a dirty turd (33rd) against Andino and Zietz, whose quick and vertical backside snaps couldn’t be matched on the face.
Krystian Kymerson took the injured Mateus Herdy’s place in Round 2, then proceeded to smash both Jordy Smith and Ace Buchan despite being severely underscored.
Seriously, check Krystian’s 5.1 for an alleyoop, cutback and air rev compared to Jordy’s 5.5 for a bog, late lipper and breezy drop-wallet. The judges are so neoprene-biased it hurts.
The swell finally showed in heat three of the elimination round, where Conner Coffin found himself elevator-dropping from a second story balcony for the day’s first eight. Meanwhile, Jeremy Flores couldn’t find enough passion to defeat Jack Freestone and Wade Carmichael.
The WSL opted for overlapping heats in the Round of 32—a great call. Spectators get to watch more surfing, it cuts eight hours of competition down to five, and the surfers get 10 extra minutes in the water. Rarely is there an aspect of competitive surfing that suits everybody’s agenda; this is certainly one of them.
Adriano v. Filipe looked a dead even match in the large, burgery left-handers of Praia Ituana. The commentators shared this ambivalence, with Kaipo citing ADS as the more likely winner and Pottz taking up team Filipe.
The 2015 World Champ put the pressure on early, nailing a 7.5 on his opening ride for quintessential de Souzian surfing. Feeling the weight of that number, Filipe launched himself into a decidedly massive full rotation, floating effortlessly to the flats before landing too much on his front foot, leading not just to a fall but also a critical board-break, forcing Filipe shoreward to reset.
After grabbing a fresh blue beauty from his caddy—who was conspicuously not wearing a jack o’ lantern top (where y’at, Ricardo?)—Filipe re-entered the water and dominated the Saqua storm surf, obliterating lips with a cobra-like sting and eclipsing Adriano with ease.
To Pottz’ point, Toledo sure has come a long way in the pursuit of power surfing. He can now compete with anyone on Tour via his rail, besides Jordy and John.
It was revealed that Slater rode his Akila Aipa yesterday—the one he jockeyed to great success at Keramas—not the No Brainer I’d perceived. Either way, Kelly knew he had to make a change in today’s burly conditions, so he hopped on the Wade Tokoro pintail that he’d ridden to excellence in Margaret River.
The Hawaiian rails dug deep into the chunky walls and propelled Slater to powerful, agile maneuvers. Our minister of Michelob looked right at home in the backhand slop, which in a way made sense—the conditions didn’t look dissimilar to a large nor-easter in Brevard County, FL.
A shameless brag: I wrote that last line prior to Slater making the Florida reference in his post-heat interview. Have I finally, after all these years, wormed my way into the mind of the supreme round-earther? I fear that would be as terrifying as it is unlikely, but it’s always nice to dream.
After punishing a few lips for sixes and sevens, beating out big Ricardo Christie in the process, Kanoa talked about getting a legitimate hold-down in his heat.
The fall in question was pretty brutal. Huge lipslide off of a towering wall, stuck in the lip, freefall to the bottom face-first, and catches the explosion straight to his chest.
“I got all the wind knocked out of me,” Kanoa explained. “Then I was just getting tossed around underwater. I tried to find my leash and climb it to the surface, but I ended up taking it off by accident. That’s what all the training is for, though. I got back up and was like, ‘Where’s the next wave?’ I was good to go.”
Igarashi made quick work of his Kiwi competitor, who as recently as last year, would have been the favorite in these types of conditions. But Kanoa is a different beast in 2019.
Joan Duru bested Owen Wright with a long, steep left and Italo Ferreira had a shocking performance against Frederico Morais, who supplied enough meat n’ potatoes for a Portuguese village to feast for weeks.
Michael Rodrigues caught one of the best waves of the day—a large, clean, perfectly tapered right with shades of Margaret River Main Break. The air-savvy stud looked completely lost on the open-faced wall, performing a half-hearted cut-down into a soft tap off the lip and closing with a weak carve.
If John John, Slater, Jordy etc. had caught this wave it was a nine all day. The judges gave M-Rod a generous 5.17—I would have given it a four, perhaps out of spite. Recognizing his rail-to-rail deficiencies, Michael motioned for a board change, opting to swap his 5’10 for a 5’11, which seemed like a comical under-correction.
How would one inch of rail-line fix that major faux pas?
To M-Rod’s credit, he won the heat with a couple of well-surfed, medium-sized lefts.
John Florence had a nondescript victory over the wildcard Krystian Kymerson, whose surfing is both electric and refined. Yago Dora looked an entirely different surfer from yesterday’s performance, likely due to today’s waves being three-times the size.
Mr. Dora has an infinite performance ceiling but a limited conditions threshold—he’s good in head-high and under beach breaks and tubing reefs. He’d probably be great on a left point, but one of those doesn’t exist on the CT.
Yago will need to expand his palette if he wants to maintain a place on this Tour, which takes place in all manner of surf. Meanwhile Dora’s competitor, Wade Carmichael, nailed the highest score of the day with an 8.5 and slipped into the Round of 16 with a negligible backup.
“Jordy like big wave,” is what I imagine Jordy Smith said before paddling out and dominating the double-overhead walls. Big J had the highest heat total on the day, primarily on the merits of two mammoth hacks.
Griffin Colapinto won his heat before it even started.
“I’ve been trying to take the pressure off by having fun and stuff,” he explained to Pete Mel after his victory over Ryan Callinan. “Before my heat there were a couple beautiful girls walking by, so I just hopped the fence and got their Instagrams, so I can maybe talk to them later and make another friend. I like friends. We have a good time.”
Griffin’s other friend Kolohe Andino is still trying very hard to win heats, and it’s still working. Impressive as this is, I do wonder how sustainable Brother’s hyper-focus really is, but I suppose we’ll see come year’s end. He’ll either end up number three in the world or speaking tongues in a madhouse.
The surprise performance of the day came from little Deivy Silva, who was one of few goofyfoots that actually connected with the lip, earning himself dual sevens and a thoughtless victory over fellow-rookie Seth Moniz.
Michel Bourez defeated Caio with literally one turn and Gabe Medina took a sloppy victory over Jadson Andre.
It should be said that Medina really hasn’t looked himself since that loss to John at Bells. He was the best surfer of the year up until that point, then he had the surprise loss to Mitch Coleborn at the QS 3,000, followed by a Round 3 falter at Keramas against Leo Fioravanti, and again against Caio Ibelli at the Box.
But tomorrow is a new day, and perhaps Medina can ignite a flame that won’t expire till Pipe.
Oi Rio Pro Women’s Elimination Round (Round 2) Results:
Heat 1: Taina Hinckel (BRA) 11.10 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.00, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.53
Heat 2: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.40 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.57, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 7.16
Oi Rio Pro Women’s Round of 16 (Round 3) Matchups:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 3: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 4: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Taina Hinckel (BRA)
Heat 6: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)
Heat 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 8: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Oi Rio Pro Men’s Elimination Round (Round 2) Results:
Heat 1: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 12.77 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.00, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 7.33
Heat 2: Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 11.43 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9.67, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 7.54
Heat 3: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.83 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.73, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 7.54
Heat 4: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.77 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 9.10, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.46
Oi Rio Pro Men’s Round of 32 (Round 3) Results:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.26 DEF. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.27
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 11.93 DEF. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 8.20
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 13.67 DEF. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 10.37
Heat 4: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.40 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.13
Heat 5: Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.27 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 7.13
Heat 6: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.06 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 6.20
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) 8.90 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 6.10
Heat 8: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.60 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 11.10
Heat 9: John John Florence (HAW) 11.83 DEF. Krystian Kymerson (BRA) 9.24
Heat 10: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 12.37 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 11.40
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.83 DEF. Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.00
Heat 12: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 10.73 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 7.57
Heat 13: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.87 DEF. Soli Bailey (AUS) 8.56
Heat 14: Deivid Silva (BRA) 14.83 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.33
Heat 15: Michel Bourez (FRA) 11.44 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 6.10
Heat 16: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.00 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 10.90
Oi Rio Pro Men’s Round of 16 (Round 4) Matchups:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 2: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 3: Frederico Morais (PRT) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 6: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (FRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
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