Stab Magazine | John John Isn't Invincible And The Brazilian Home Court Advantage

John John Isn’t Invincible And The Brazilian Home Court Advantage

And more predictions for the Oi Rio Pro.

news // May 8, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

I’ve had such a bad run this season up until Bells it feels wrong to gloat, even after that glorious win by the big fella. But really the only thing that could have made that win better was if Jordy had given John that beating in the finals. And while we were all horny for a John and Jordy final, the fact that John dipped out earlier was probably better for the long-term picture. 

Now with Brazil starting in the next day, at a new venue with a bit of swell shaping up no less, I think it’s going to be a good event. I’ve been to Saquarema before and it’s a great wave. Think North Narrabeen: A fun left that gets a little wobbly on the high-tide which causes a fun little right bowl to start up. And the good thing about Saquarema is that the wave gets better if the swell is growing. So, if for any reason, the same size storm from last year kicks in, we’ll be in for a treat. So without time to waste, here’s my latest and greatest picks to bet your house on…

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.21.26 PM

Gabs finished third overall at last year’s Brazil contest, bowing out to eventual event runner-up Jack Freestone.

Gabriel Medina. 
He’s overdue for a monster result… and a win in Brazil. Gabs has had a bad start to the year and it’s beginning to look like his competitors believe they can beat him. Now in the past Gabs has always paddled out and started each heat on the inside or extremely aggressive, which has earned him a nasty rep. But also helps him win a lot more. Recently, however, he’s looked like he’s been a bit more chilled out and thinking he can just leave it up to his surfing. And I still believe Gabs is the most well-rounded surfers on the tour and on the long-running lefts he’ll put some huge scores on the board. I’m expecting that we’ll see some huge combos. 

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.25.46 PM

Julian is entering this year’s Oi Rio Pro ranked 16th overall.

Julian Wilson.
This is the last chance I’m taking on Jules. It’s beyond a numbers game by now, so for this I’m thinking maybe he’ll perform where I don’t expect him to. Julian has one of the top three backhands on tour, he does this carve down that creates some foam or a lip which he gets back up and over on quickly. A sort of two for one combo. Plus, he’s got the big airs. I’d really like to see Julian take a different approach in heats because clearly what he’s been doing for the last few years isn’t working. 

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.28.16 PM

Maybe Michel’s power game will pay off in Brazil’s beach breaks? We’ll find out.

Michel Bourez.
Past winner in Brazil and really good in these sort of waves. Michel has really figured out how to surf well in gutless beaches with a bit of length to them. On his forehand, he’s able to do one huge wrap or power turn in a tight pocket and repeat when the wave opens up again. On his backhand, he hits it hard and with power behind him his backside carve is spicier than the others.

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.30.11 PM

John won in Brazil last year, but will he repeat? Perhaps not. 

John Florence. 
I don’t think John is going to get the win but I’m calling a 5th or 9th. John’s backhand looks like it’s improved a lot and he’s got some momentum behind him from the last three events. I think he’ll end up losing to someone that has the heat of their life, or in a wave starved heat altogether. No middle ground. Actually sorta the only way he can lose. But we the fans need an early’ish exit to keep things exciting throughout the year. 

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.32.25 PM

Adriano is searching for a statement performance when he’s on his home soil this year. 

Adriano De Souza.
Oh De Souz, so good and slowly becoming less and less significant on tour. Which is sad. He’ll continue to win heats and get good results, but it’s getting really tough for him. Guys like Caio are smaller but have the same, if not more, power and spark to beat him. He’s going to need his old friend consistency now more than ever. Oh, and he tends to do well with the local crowd behind him and rightfully so because Adriano is a king in Brazil.

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.35.07 PM

Jeremy will come into Brazil ranked an equal 16th on the leaderboards alongside Julian.

Jeremy Flores.
I remember watching Jeremy out here a few years ago and he was really good. He had some huge heats throughout the event and made the wave look a lot easier than it was to surf. I think he ended up getting third in the prime but it was only because his competitor got tubed. He’s also had a tough go this year despite surfing incredibly well. But I’m sure Jeremy is feeling the pressure and he knows if he doesn’t put something together soon, it could get real tough for him later on in the year if he gets to spots like Fiji, Chopes and Pipe and they aren’t firing.

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.37.44 PM

Miguel will be another Brazilian looking to defend his home turf.

Miguel Pupo.
Yeah, we already know he’s surfing for his family, sponsorship and baby on the way. That’s not why I’m putting him in. I’m putting in Miggy because he’s been ripping this year. He’s lost so many heats with great scores and I feel like this event it might just click for him. He gets a bit soft sometimes but that silky style kind of makes up for it. We don’t get to see him enough on his forehand, especially in lefts with a bit of length. So I’m really looking forward to seeing him open up a bit while throwing in some big airs.

Screen Shot 2017 05 08 at 4.40.18 PM

Ian only has two CT heat wins on the year, maybe he’ll be able to improve on that?

Wild Card Pick: Ian Gouveia
It’s been fun watching the rookies (except Zeke) get kicked around this year. And all my picks for this event feel very wrong so I’ll keep it going and say I think Ian is going hit a bit of streak and squeak through a few heats. I don’t necessarily think he’s ready for the tour yet, but sometimes it forces people to develop their surfing quicker. And I think Ian’s issue is his size so hopefully he can put together a few big airs and get one decent result for the year.

Here’s the round one draw:

Heat one: Gabriel Medina, Frederico Morais, Ethan Ewing.
Heat two: Adriano de Souza, Zeke Lau, Nat Young.
Heat three: Owen Wright, Wiggolly Dantas, Jadson Andre.

Heat four: Kolohe Andino, Jeremy Flores, Leonardo Fioravanti.
Heat five: Jordy Smith, Josh Kerr, Jesse Mendes.
Heat six: John Florence, Jack Freestone, wildcard.

Heat seven: Filipe Toledo, Adrian Buchan, Ian Gouveia.
Heat eight: Matt Wilkinson, Connor O’Leary, Joan Duru.
Heat nine: Joel Parkinson, Mick Fanning, Bede Durbidge.

Heat ten: Kelly Slater, Conner Coffin, Kanoa Igarashi.
Heat eleven: Michel Bourez, Caio Ibelli, Stu Kennedy.
Heat twelve: Sebastian Zietz, Julian Wilson, Miguel Pupo. 


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