Kolohe Andino To Win The Quiksilver Pro France
And what’s up with Tyler Wright?
It’s been almost a month since the League’s pool party concluded, and with all the chaos surrounding Stab High, we nearly forgot the CT season was still chugging along.
Nearly, but not. Here’s a quick refresher:
After taking the early season lead, Julian Wilson forfeited the golden shirt to Italo Ferreira, who then lost it back to Julian, who lost it again to a rampaging Filipe Toledo. Despite his typical early season troubles, Gabriel Medina has fought back something fierce in the mid-season, winning the last two events and cutting Filipe’s lead to just 4,000 points. At this point it’s practically a three-horse racre between Filipe, Gabe, and Julian, but if history tells us anything the Title will be handed to Toledo or Medina come Pipe’s end.
Because Julian ain’t exactly known for being clutch.
There are three events left on the 2018 Tour schedule, and France is first on the docket. The (final) Quikky Pro starts in three days and the forecast looks interesting – small to start with some bigger, longer period energy on the backend, and promises of a marvelous bank in Hossegor. But if there’s one thing to know about contests in Europe, it’s that you can’t really know anything at all. Thank the massive tide swings and shifting sands for that.
Based on nothing more than a feeling in my gut, I’ve selected a few men and women who might (possibly) succeed in France. But again, take this with a big swig of Bordeaux, as Europe is famously unforecastable.
He’s had a circadian season but there are few surfers I’d pick before Italo in shifting beachbreak peaks. Whether it’s with tubes or punts, this guy can rain nines on his opponents in devastating fashion. And remember Italo’s still (kinda) in the World Title race…
I surfed with Filipe at Lowers last week, and honestly he didn’t look great.
Toledo fell a lot, mistimed sections, and looked generally out of sync with his boards. Without any outside context, I’d never have guessed he was the best surfer in the world right now.
But of course, he is. Just look at the CT rankings. And despite an average training session, there’s good reason for Fil’s place atop surfing’s totem: he’s one of the few people who surfs his absolute best in competition. Slater and Medina are two others who fall into that category, while Julian and Jordy scratch only their 75% of their potential when in jersey.
And at the end of the day, it’s Filipe’s ability to perform when it matters that will push him to succeed in France, and to eventually snag that damn title.
If you were to look at the Men’s Championship Tour event schedule right now, you’d see Gabriel Medina’s face four times in a row. That’s because he’s won the last two events of 2018 (Chopes and Lemoore), and he won the next two events (Portugal and France) in 2017.
It’s no secret that Gabby thrives in the back half of the season, and historically France is his most dominant venue in surfing (remember his perfect heat in KOTG?). If you’re Filipe, that 4,000-point lead has got to feel pretty damn tiny heading into Europe. Medina is rampaging.
This kid just works so damn hard, it’s time we throw him a bone. So here it goes: Kolohe Andino will win his first Championship Tour event at France this year. I’ve never made a claim like that before (I don’t think) and I hope to never make it again. The time is now Kolohe. Prove everybody, but mostly the judges, wrong. Shake the tree. Drink the bubbly. Win something!
After a win in Huntington, a third in J-Bay and Lemoore, and a second in Portugal, Kanoa’s confidence is at 12 midnight, and atop those bladey Sharp Eyes he looks poised to drop another huge result. I don’t think Kanoa has fallen more than ten times in the last three months, so don’t be surprised if he semis here.
Michel’s frontside turn is more impressive than anyone’s currently on Tour, and his ability in swinging peaks is not to be ignored. Michel is an inconsistent competitor on his best days, but I think he’ll pull through with a quarterfinal finish in France. The place really speaks his language.
Coming off a third-place finish in Lemoore and a Ryder Cup celebrity championship, Slater looks primed to regain his dominance on the surfy surfy tour. Except wait, he’s not in the fucking heat draw!
As it turns out, Slater’s foot gets extra sensitive when he leaves the comfort of a country club, be it of surfing or golf. So despite the toe-curling turn he pulled on the Ranch’s end section (see above), Slater has deemed his injury too severe to compete in France, and likely Portugal, before his inevitable return at Pipeline. I’d bet my beard on that sequence of events.
Riss has had a rough season, but she’s still the most adept female competitive surfer in the world. After a win (finally) in Lemoore, I see Carissa punishing the last couple events of the season, never threatening the 7x-fated Steph but instead giving herself the necessary hutzpah to attain her fourth in 2019.
Courtney is strong, mentally and physically, and you’ll need both to succeed in the sweeping sandbars of France. She’s also got nothing to lose this year (due to her earlier injury) and therefore can afford to let it all hang out.
Local(ish) gal, impressive rail game, rarely falls, seemingly unafraid of heavy sections. Checks all the boxes for me.
Tyler’s out again, and if you weren’t already concerned with her African-born illness, now is the time to be. Since posting last month that she would miss the inaugural wavepool CT, Tyler’s IG has consisted mainly of baseless, sponsored content, leaving her fans confused by the severity and duration of this “flu”. Stab has reached out to Tyler’s camp on multiple occasions, but we’ve yet to yield a response. Whatever’s going on over there, we just hope she’s okay.
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