Jake Paterson On France: “No One Had An Answer For Keanu!”
Snake talks highlights, lowlights, and what it all means for the title race.
France has always been a hard place to work out. With extreme tides and shifting sandbanks, the boys really had to be on the top of their game and have good game plans to survive the early rounds. Surprise losers early included Jordy, Parko, Ace and Kelly. I don’t think I have ever seen Kelly surf as bad as he did in round two. He did say he wasn’t really feeling it in his interview, and tried to surf his way into the heat. Unfortunately, I don’t think we will see him in Portugal unless the big swell predicted sucks him into going to get barrelled off his head!
Ryan Callinan finally showed his potential, pushing John John all the way in round three. Old Bones Ottz looked at home and surfed smart heats for his best result of the year. Matt Banting was just getting the job done, time and time again, and made it all the way to the quarters – he kept saying he was going to stop playing it safe, but never really did.
Wilko, Wilko, Wilko!! Looking the fittest he has ever looked and he was ripping, but just seemed to be trying too hard. Never trusted the ocean! Never wanted to sit and wait for a good wave, and always seemed to be in a rush to get things going, which in the end was his demise, along with his world title chances in my eyes.
Keanu Asing: King of the World! Not sure if the general public realise how hard it is to win one of these events? What a dream run! I’m sure his eyes lit up when he saw the contest bank was a rip bowl left. He got the job done early in the event by winning heats with low heat totals, then dodged a rocket launcher in the quarterfinals against Stu Kennedy. Stu gave Keanu a wave in the last 20 seconds to go and it was the best score of the heat.
Finals day was all Keanu’s; Small, running lefts and strong offshore wind, which just made him full of confidence. Reminded me of Trent Munro the year he won Bells, when it was moved to Phillip Island. Keanu destroyed John John in the semifinal and then set himself onto Gabriel in the final. No one had an answer for Keanu’s powerful backhand attack. It was great to see the underdog smash the top dogs, even if it did cost me a fortune along the way! Ha!
Another contender for heat of the year went down in round four: John John vs Filipe, and Stu Kennedy got to sit and watch (laughs). Filipe is a freak. Not many surfers on tour can pull out a 10 in those kind of waves, needing a 9.97. Prior to that, John had the heat all but wrapped up with a nice barrel and a coupe of crazy airs. Very entertaining for the 5,000-strong crowd on the beach.
World Title Race? Two-horse race that will go down at Pipe, no matter what happens in Portugal. The forecast is for it to be big, so I’m sure that John John and Gab won’t have much trouble with the wildcards and should make it to the quarterfinals without much effort.
If you have the time and money, book yourself a ticket to Hawaii for the Pipe event, because I think it’s going to be one of the best endings to a world title race in a very, very long time.
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