Jordy Smith just won the 2014 Hurley Pro, Lowers
Photos by Tom Carey Jordy Smith just beat John John Florence in the final of the 2014 Hurley Pro, Lowers. This year goes from strength to strength on tour and while we never really saw perfect Lowers at this event, we never saw dullness either. Here’s everything Stab particularly loved about finals day on the other side […]
Photos by Tom Carey
Jordy Smith just beat John John Florence in the final of the 2014 Hurley Pro, Lowers. This year goes from strength to strength on tour and while we never really saw perfect Lowers at this event, we never saw dullness either. Here’s everything Stab particularly loved about finals day on the other side of the tracks…
Words by Damien Fahrenfort
Steph Gilmore’s performance.
Steph Gilmore is the best female surfer of all time. There won’t be a woman who surfs as well as her for the next decade. And it’s more than her style, which is so beyond the rest of the women. Her timing, her flow, her power is better than the back 12 of the men’s world tour. Sally looked like a little boy in comparison to Steph. Miss Gilmore’s 10 left the crowd dumbfounded. It was like she was doing a different sport to Sally Fitzgibbons.
“Steph’s 10 in the final would have scored a 7.5 at least in the men’s,” said John John Florence. “She surfed that wave better than a lot of men on tour could.”
Before Jordy paddled out, he sat and shook his head after she rode the 10. He was baffled. “This chick is so fucking good it’s actually unbelievable. There’s no way any other girl on tour should ever beat her.”
Steph won the opening event of the year and, having missed the title last year, she’ll be straight danger for Sally in the coming weeks.
Fact: Steph Gilmore is the best and most stylish female surfer of all time.
The form surfer of the contest never wins.
It’s true. John is a legit original and reads a wave like no other surfer on the planet. The line that he takes when he’s bottom turning is flatter than most and then he pushes with more power on the outside rail and holds that turn all the way to the bottom. He’s also turned air reverses into functional manoeuvres. Yesterday, he clocked five nine-plus rides in one heat. Against Kelly Slater. His 9.93 and 9.80 (the last two rides) in particular were the best high performance surfing ever done in a jersey. Yeah, John John looked like he could do anything on his board.
Joel Parkinson was the best at Snapper this year. Julian Wilson was the form surfer at Bells. Kelly Slater and John John at Chopes. The form surfer never wins the contest.
In the last two events, it came down to the semi finals between John and Kelly. In the last semi, John got a last minute wave and didn’t get the score. This time Kelly got a last minute wave and didn’t get the score. Semis like this are mentally draining. Just as Kelly didn’t have enough in the tank to beat Gabs in the final at Chopes, John didn’t have enough in the tank to beat Jordy today.
Fact: John John Florence was the best surfer at this event.
Ace beating Gabs.
Last week, I wrote a form report and said Gabs is in world title mode and will finish in the quarters. As I said, he’s not looking for places. He’s looking for results that count because he knows it’s all about consistency. Quarters or better each event, and the title is his.
But, he choked after doing the biggest air of the event. He went for a stock air and fell on the landing. This would’ve been the only 10 of the event (on the men’s side).
Credit to Ace for sticking to his game and riding each wave as his ability allows. He played to his strengths and didn’t fall into chasing Gabby’s air game.
Ace has been having a pretty bad year before Chopes (let’s not forget he won an event last year), but you can never count a guy like Ace out. He’s one of the smartest surfers on tour.
Fact: Ace Buchan is one of the five smartest competitors on tour.
Lowers is a big wave contest.
No matter how mad anyone goes on an insider, they won’t get a score. Or at least, not above an eight. But, here’s the kicker: the best waves at Lowers are the insiders. They hit the cobblestone properly and they allow you to go up and down, not carve. There’s no downtime and they reveal any flaws in your surfing.
Fact: Small waves do not score high at Lowers.
Why Jordy won.
He went back to the basics. He stripped it all back. Started doing what he knew has always worked in the past: trusting himself, and not worrying about the other surfer. Giving himself more opportunities. Which is quite interesting: “I’ve been filming for so many clips and sections and movies, carves to the beach get quite boring,“ he said.
The surfing that gets him through heats is not usually the kind of surfing he wants to be doing.
Advice from Jordy’s confidantes today was simple. “You’re gonna see John John trying airs. Don’t get sucked into John’s game. You see everyone surfing against him trying airs. They start pulling away from what their ability allows them. Do not try any more laybacks.”
“Why does he keep going for those laybacks?” asked Joel Parkinson, before adding: “I feel like Jordy is the most underrated surfer in the world.”
Before this event, Jordy’s had two last places, two 13ths, a ninth and a fifth. Jordy is a top five surfer and this has moved him to 11th. He’ll finish back inside the top 10, easily.
Fact: The surfing that gets Jordy Smith through heats is not usually the kind of surfing he wants to be doing.
Kelly’s world title #12 dreams are over.
Forever. And it absolutely pains me to say. Here’s why: Gabriel Medina is going to win the world title this year. And, once he does, John John, Julian, Jordy and Filipe are going to realise it’s within their reach, too. It’s been a battle of the dinosaurs the last few years. No one under 25 has been a World Champ since Andy Irons’ won his first World Title back in 2002.
While Kelly’s losing motivation, Gabriel is going to be giving all these other guys motivation. Kelly said in Tahiti he has to really motivate himself to get excited to surf events now. And the only way he gets excited is when the waves are good. While the ASP have had a lucky run of waves this year (Tahiti, Bells, J-Bay, Lowers), they might not be so lucky next year.
He will probably be the best surfer at Fiji and at Teahupoo til he’s 50, but the dream tour isn’t always a dream for every round of event event, unfortunately.
Fact: Kelly’s finding motivation to compete harder to come by.
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