Brazilians To Rule The Surf Ranch Pro In 2018
Who’s gonna beat Fil, Ferreira, Medina, and Silvana?
To win a normal CT event, a surfer needs several things to go his or her way.
He or she needs to be surfing well, needs to catch the right waves, needs to not come up against Zeke at Bells. Etc.
To win a CT at the Surf Ranch, a surfer needs only two things: ability and tenacity.
Because there are no head-to-head matchups, success at Surf Ranch will be based solely upon personal performances, and to have an impactful performance, one must be in the top 10% of ability levels (on the CT) and have the confidence to surf their best in such a strange, static environment.
“Solid” surfing will not win this event. It might get you to the finals, but certainly not to the podium. The man who wins this event will be forced to land multiple high-impact airs on his road to victory (regardless of whether or not the new air section is in play).
I hope like hell the same is true for the women.
With all of that in mind, I’ve made a few predictions about which men and women will be in the pool on Finals Day in Lemoore. This event will either be the easiest to predict in CT history or the hardest.
I guess we’ll know shortly.
Filipe Toledo: I mean duh, right? Filipe’s riding that Teahupo’o charger high and is the most gifted small wave surfer in the world. He owns the only 10 in Surf Ranch history and his beard is looking more Middle Eastern by the day, leading me to believe Filipe will be dropping bombs in the desert. Civilian casualties probable.
Italo Ferreira: Italo checks all my boxes. He’s good in the air, he can squeeze his 5’6 frame deep into that tiny little tube, and he’s too happy a person to ever get nervous. If this guy isn’t raining nines throughout the event I’ll be befuddled.
Gabriel Medina: Medina is the fucking Terminator, and without another surfer to boss around the lineup, he’ll take out all of his aggression on the wave itself, which will be devastating to the WSL’s water bill for the event. Oh, and in the final round of the Founders’ Cup, Gabby put on the best backside tuberiding display I’ve ever seen in the pool. It deserved a nine in its own right.
Griffin Colapinto: Sadly Griffin wasn’t able to compete in the Founders’ Cup, but from what we’ve seen of him in the pool in conjunction with what we read in his most recent WSL interview, Griffin is not only one of the most skilled in this arena but also one of the most prepared. The kid has his waves planned turn-by-turn. So long as he doesn’t fall on two of his rides, he’ll be a shoe-in for Finals Day.
Michael Rodrigues: This guy can just fucking surf, plain and simple. Should he land one of his massive rotations after bashing the hell of the lip eight times, there’s no way Michael doesn’t drop a nine. The only issue I have is with his ability to perform in such a high-pressure scenario, but I’m gonna give Mike the benefit of the doubt.
Yago Dora: With arguably the highest strike rate on Tour, I’d be amazed if Yago doesn’t leverage his aerial abilities into a final berth at the Ranch. As his abilities are beyond reproach, this event will be a test of Yago’s competitive mettle more than anything else.
Michel Bourez: Oh what, you think big men can’t fly? Well you’re wrong! (But not necessarily about Michel.) It’s true the Spartan will probably avoid punting at the Surf Ranch Pro, but that’s okay, because he brings something to the pool that no other surfer has been able to achieve: the appearance of power. After watching Michel live in the Founder’s cup, it was clear how much more ferocity his turns evoked, leading to an easy stream of eights despite his fins never leaving the surface. Another advantage of the Spartan: his Firewires seem to work great in freshwater.
Kelly Slater: Like Michel, Slater doesn’t really fit my criteria for one to compete in this event, but he does have one advantage over his peers – he’s caught more waves in the pool than all of them combined. After watching his stellar performance in the Founders’ Cup, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Kelly drop a couple eights and limp his way into Finals Day.
Stephanie Gilmore: As the best tuberider in the pool, bar none, Steph will have to severely fuck things up for herself to miss out on a finals berth here. That said, the 6x Champ did falter a bit at the Founders’ Cup, raising concerns that this particular pressure is not one she’s used to dealing with. I certainly wouldn’t take my money off her though.
Carissa Moore: Riss has had a shitty 2018 season, but she’s far too talented for any sane man to give up hope. With a world class carve a few baby airs in her back pocket, Riss has every tool necessary to make it to Finals Day.
Lakey Peterson: I’ve chosen Lakey for the simple fact that she’s surfing incredibly well this season. Her turns seem to have both more power and flow than ever before, which in most cases would be contradictory traits, but Lakey seems to have found that Goldilocks zone of performance and aesthetic. She also refuses to fall, which will certainly help at the Ranch.
Silvana Lima: Sure, I’ll say it. Silvana Lima is the only woman on Tour who does proper airs – you know, the kind that are hucked to the flats rather than being grabbed at the first opportunity and spun daintily into the whitewash. This, I believe, will be a huge difference-maker for the Brazilian. Should she stomp one of her poppy rotations, Silvana will glide into Finals Day like bowling shoes on an ice rink.
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