Stab Magazine | John Florence Will Not Win The 2018 World Title

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John Florence Will Not Win The 2018 World Title

…and Mikey Wright slides his way to Round 4!

news // Jun 1, 2018
Words by Jake Ciaramella
Reading Time: 6 minutes

As head-high lines broke toward a rising sun in Bali’s east, John Florence and Jesse Mendes took the lineup at Keramas for Round 3 Heat 1.

Typically such a pairing would be weighted heavily in the Hawaiian’s favor, but considering John’s lackluster 2018, a victory was all but guaranteed.

With one minute remaining in the heat and nothing above a 6 on the surfers’ scorelines, Mendes needed just a mid-5 to steal the win from the 2x World Champ.

As Jesse dropped into his final wave, the commentators called for two backside lippers to nail the score. Instead, Jesse pumped down the line, eyed off the sections, and sent a high-velocity backside punt toward the beach.

The first major moment of a whirlwind day at Keramas.

John is (probably) done.

After watching Jesse’s punt, John realized his lead was no more.

After a quick mental equation, the Champ would have known he needed something near an eight to regain the lead, which is why his last two waves featured desperate attempts at high impact aerials – first a frontside loop, then a backflip. Both ended badly, and John returned to the beach a loser, again.

And just like that, barring an unprecedented run on the back two-thirds of the season, John Florence’s 2018 World Title hopes have been squashed.  

When asked how he felt about the loss, John seemed his typical, nonchalant self, saying that he “really loves when heats end like that,” despite the fact that it meant he lost. “It’s bad for me but it’s good for surfing,” John concluded.

That’s an incredibly noble statement. It also makes me question how much of John’s competitive spirit is left after his two victorious seasons. (Sorry Ross.)

Michel the Urchin Crusher!

Prior to his Round 3 heat against an in-form Ezekiel Lau, Michel Bourez stepped on something small and spiny on his way out to the Keramas lineup. “The doctor thinks maybe it was a stonefish,” Bourez proclaimed after his dominating performance.

Having recently watched the new Baywatch film (featuring The Rock, Zac Efron and other such heartthrobs), I have a different theory. It’s my belief that what Michel actually stepped on was The Devil’s Urchin: a nasty crustacean echinoderm that first fills its victim with a shot of adrenaline – allowing them to perform superhuman feats – before eventually killing its host.

Michel surfed today’s heat with hummingbird speed and turns that sent water to Lombok. So is it possible that Michel was stuck by the infamous Devil’s Urchin, thus leading to his Herculean effort, or was it merely a stonefish and he fought through the pain?

Hopefully neither because the thought of Michel dying or being in physical distress hurts my heart.

He’s the second favorite at this event behind Sir Toledo [Note: and Mike didn’t even witness Toledo torture Asing]

WSL will move exclusively to Facebook starting mmmmmm… now!

Ronnie Blakey said so it’s true — the WSL is moving its broadcast exclusively to Facebook starting with the JBay event. Which really fucking sucks, if you enjoy watching CT events on your TV’s WSL app while simultaneously writing contest wraps on your half-broken laptop, or, also if you cannot stand the sheer idiocy of most people who comment on Facebook.

At least it’s still free?

Paywall? Not yet. Here’s Mikey barrelled and Bali-Bellied. Photo: WSL/Sloane

Rodeos are only hard if you can’t do them.

I can’t do a rodeo flip. Not even close. Every time I try my board flies one way, my body the other, and I’m typically left doing a back flop in the flats. So I’m not saying rodeo flips are easy by any measure, but having intensely studied the world’s best surfers for the past 15 years, it’s my understanding that rodeo flips are easy for those who can do them.

Like Pat Gudauskas, Jordy Smith, and Brendan Buckley.

…And Brendan Buckley’s Championship Tour doppelgänger, Matthew Wilkinson, evidently.

Wilko has pulled the ol’ Texas flip multiple times throughout his competitive career, and as Joe Turpel likes to remind us, has never won a heat in which he’s completed one. That changed today.

…Wait! No it didn’t!

In the dying minutes of his Round 3 heat against Griffin Colapinto, Matty Wilko (after sticking a cute lil rodeo) suffered a devastating loss after G threw a man air on the end bowl. After wrestling the fluff for a couple fortnights, Griffin rode away from this punt with the utmost flexterity, nailing an 8.67 for the win.

So are rodeos doomed by some cruel sense of fate, or is Willy just the unluckiest human since that fella who was attacked by a bear, shark, and cougar all on the same night out on the town?

Jules down!

And ain’t that Bali Belly suffering Mikey Wright a little menace to the CT, knocking World Title hopefuls and champions like he just don’t give a damn? Current Jeep Rankings leader Julian Wilson was the latest casualty of the Mullet, after a questionable* buzzer-beater gave Mikey the win.

In an unprecedented turn of events, Stab is passing on the contest wrap baton mid-heat! Ciaramella out, Embrey in.

He’s up against a razor-tongued, Kael Walsh in the Uluwatu make-up event, where he (most likely) won’t be in the yellow jersey any longer – sad for any Julian lover.

The only positive is that we’ll no longer be subject to the yellow Wiggle cosplay outfit Julian’s been donning for this comp, if that’s a positive. 

Gab’s keeping his airs for later.

Who was Gabby versing again? Because they got absolutely decimated by Gab’s new and improved backhand snap extravaganza.

The expected aerials were nowhere to be seen and poor Mikey Feb suffered the consequences of proper wave selection and a hootin’ and hollering Charlie Medina.

Flores flogged Freddy.

Suffering an HP hangover from the previous heats progressive flairs, this heat matchup looked like a bit of a snore.

This was wrong.

Contrarily, Flores went berserk and slid his way to Round 4.   

Cliche Alert! Jordy did a “man turn.”

The oversized Zaffa’s himself know’s he’s had a shocking 2018, but when an open face opportunity presents itself, Jordy wouldn’t miss it for a new pair of kicks.

Jords got tubed, did a “gouge” – as Pottz likes to call it – copped a 9.43 for his efforts and left Conner Coffin combo’d.

Jesse Mendes holding on here by a heel, but comfortably riding out of his Round 3 matchup with Mr Florence. Photo: WSL/Sloane

Adriano can do airs.

Turns out he still can…and well. 

He did one; Joel didn’t; Adriano won despite Joel’s best comeback efforts.

His five-year long reining Keramas title is no more.

Italo can do airs but didn’t.

And why would you when there’s no need.

‘Nooners’ are back(hand) in vogue and when you have them on speed dial like Italo, you may as well slide on through without risking it all on a backside punt. 

No surprises here.

Keanu was virtually vaporised by the non-single use plastic supporting father of two, Filipe Toledo. 

The only safer bet today was the comp being called as soon as the winds swung ‘air’.

Noteworthy notes!

After beating Owen, and already letting off a little priority stitch-up steam during his heat, Willian Cardosa came in for an on-air light-up over what he considers foul play from Owen. To be honest, he should probably just be stoked that he made it through his first ever Round 3 heat in the first place.

There’s been a bit of a virus floating around the island’s East Coast and Mikey Wright was the latest to suffer it’s faucet-like fate.  

He managed to hold it together through his heat, just long enough to skid past Julian Wilson and possibly place himself on the Keramas throne. He should probably consider stopping the grab rail carves for a while until he recovers – just in case.

*highly, highly questionable. Mikey surfed that wave extremely well, but three turns on a crumbling inside burger bewildered all of us watching in the Sydney office. Jules himself seemed surprised in the post-show interview with Kaipo that Mr. Wright received the score.

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.34 def. John John Florence (HAW) 11.37  
Heat 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.17 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.97  
Heat 3: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.00 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 10.37  
Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.40 def. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 8.83  
Heat 5: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.84 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 15.40  
Heat 6: Mikey Wright (AUS) 12.27 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.83  
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.70 def. Michael February (ZAF) 9.44  
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.04 def. Frederico Morais (PRT) 13.50  
Heat 9: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.36 def. Conner Coffin (USA) 9.00  
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.30 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 10.10  
Heat 11: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.13 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.46  
Heat 12: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.43  def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 8.43

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 4 Matchups:
Heat 1: Jesse Mendes (BRA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)  
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)  
Heat 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)  
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)

Corona Bali Protected Women’s Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)  
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Keely Andrew (AUS)  
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)  
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)


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