Gabriel Medina Continues His 2017 Struggle
Yago Dora almost beats John Florence, Mick Fanning says he won’t surf the Olympics, Brazilians face elimination and more from round one at Saquarema.
Rio’s no beacon of wave quality. Adjectives like “tough”, “difficult” and “tricky” echoed in today’s post heat interviews. But, let’s look at Brazil’s new playing field through an optimistic lens. Between the mid-face setup turns, backwash, and flat spots, a few ramps and sections cleared way for high scores. Plus, following the right hand, windshield wiping nature of the Aussie leg, it’s nice to see the screwfoots take the opportunity to surf off their forehand. It was also consistent. We’ll take steady mediocre surf over idling for rare, missed opportunities at North Point any day. And, viewing the world’s best surf slightly overhead Saquarema is humanising, relatable but still poses the question: Does Rio belong on the “dream tour”? Kelly, judging by his disabled record in Brazil, would say no. Although he’s stated he doesn’t know how long he’ll be out, something tells us we’ll see him in the Fiji event he (or Outerknown) recently sponsored.
Stab’s “Better than Postinho” Round One abridged:
Other than a semifinal finish at the start of the season, Brazil’s first world champ has been suffering. Plagued by the familiar backhand of Nat Young, Gabriel Medina was pushed into round two elimination. Nat put up a six and a seven early and left Gabby chasing throughout the back half of the heat. After a decent rotation on a weird, trying wave, Gabriel’s 7.10 would stop him .74 points behind Santa Cruz’s fav toe-headed crustacean.
Adriano de Souza, while ranked fourth overall, still eludes the title conversation. Throughout the Australian leg, the gent remained in form with quarterfinal finishes. He’s the forgotten World Champ, remembered only by the cocoa cylinder of Kelly Slater’s wave. Nevertheless, in an all-Brazilian round three heat, ADS out surfed Jaddy Andre and Wiggolly Dantas.
A moment of praise for the wildcard, Yago Dora. The most stylish surfer to come out of Brazil would have won almost any other heat if he didn’t have the draw against John Florence. For John’s surfing, no wave is a disservice. He and Yago made Miggy irrelevant in round six. In the back half of the heat, Mr Dora lifted an off-axis rotation from a messy section for a single manoeuvre score of 9.27. He showed his true Brazilian blood by reddening his palms in celebration. Still, he fell short of JJF, losing 14.67 to 14.64.
“I’m just trying to keep up with Parko,” said Mick Fanning following his successful round one heat. After his best finish of the year (a fifth) at Bells, the competitive zap harmonious with Mick has returned. “If Kelly came, we (Joel) would have been in the same heat. That would’ve been fun.”
The commentators are exhibiting all the signs of Olympic fever. When asked about 2020, Mick said, “I don’t think I can surf well in the waves at Chiba. By the time 2020 comes around I’ll be using a cane and hobbling down the beach. I’ll let the younger kids take the Olympics.”
The so-called Brazilian storm in 2017 has been downgraded to a drizzle with the chance of thunder. At home, the Brazilians surfed well but showed no signs of dominance. Only Filipe Toledo, ADS and rookie, Ian Gouveia moved onto round three. Leaving seven out of ten Brazilians gazing into elimination.
Will Julian Wilson finally surf an event to his ability? He stayed occupied in heat 12 vs Stuart Kennedy and Caio Ibelli posting the highest wave score and heat total of the day, a 9.77 and a 16.34. Jules is currently in the 16 spot, however, based on skill alone, he should be in the title race every year. If he can turn a good result at Brazil, the pressure will alleviate (slightly) for the remainder of the season.
Finally, who licensed that Flogging Molly imitation band for the commercial interlude? A cat crying to classical piano would be easier on the ears than having to sit through that song for the rest of the event. We recommend you keep the mute button handy during the breaks.
Now the girls are on in deteriorating conditions. You ejecting from your skin with excitement yet?
Heat one: K. Andino, Y. Dora
Heat two: O. Wright, B. Lopes
Heat three: G. Medina, J. Mendes
Heat four: M. Wilkinson, L. Fioravanti
Heat five: M. Bourez, J. Andre
Heat six: S. Zietz, E. Ewing
Heat seven: C. Ibelli, J. Duru
Heat eight: C. Coffin, B. Durbidge
Heat nine: C. O’Leary, S. Kennedy
Heat ten: A. Buchan, M. Pupo
Heat eleven: F. Morais, J. Freestone
Heat twelve: E. Lau, W. Dantas
Heat one: N. Young 13.84, G. Medina 13.10, E. Lau 10.60
Heat two: A. de Souza 12.26, J. Andre 10.16, W. Dantas 8.97
Heat three: J. Flores 14.44, O. Wright 13.97, L. Fioravanti 10.10
Heat four: J. Kerr 14.27, J. Mendes 12.63, K. Andino 11.84
Heat five: J. Smith 11.20, B. Lopes 11.06, J. Freestone 8.16
Heat six: J. Florence 14.67, Y. Dora 14.64, M. Pupo 13.40
Heat seven: F. Toledo 16.26, E. Ewing 10.84, F. Morais 7.70
Heat eight: I. Gouveia 14.40, A. Buchan 13.53, M. Wilkinson 6.23
Heat nine: J. Parkinson 16.20, J. Duru 15.70, C. O’Leary 7.00
Heat ten: M. Fanning 14.44, B. Durbidge 12.60, M. Bourez 9.13
Heat eleven: K. Igarashi 13.77, C. Coffin 13.60, S. Zietz 11.26
Heat twelve: J. Wilson 16.34, S. Kennedy 12.86, C. Ibelli 3.17
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