Laura Enever Falls Off, Sally Fitz’s World Title Nightmare, And Bikinis Are Growing
Checking in on the Maui Pro.
Honolua is a fickle spot. One that requires a swell angle that dodges The Friendly Isle to turn on. But it’s an A+ quality wave when it’s working and the women deserve to have it to themselves.
They spend most of the year playing second banana to the men, waiting for the tide to turn or the wind to come up before they paddle out. They deserve a top-notch venue that’s all their own.
At first glance the early rounds looked on fire. High-speed perfection with the occasional tube ride on offer.
On closer examination it was sectioning, running off. Lumps moving up and across the face, grabbing rails and throwing surfers off balance. Lots of bobbled top turns, missed sections, blown opportunities.
I suspect some of that was due to the lack of physical mass inherent in many of the competitors. Pushing through a turn in powerful surf requires quite a bit of heft, something sorely missing more often than not. It brings to mind the noticeable difference in male surfers post-puberty, once they’ve begun packing on muscle. When their body catches up with their ability. It’s almost impossible to overpower a beefy section when you weigh in at a buck twenty.
It’s her lower body strength that sets Tyler Wright apart. She uses those muscular haunches to get low and plant her heel-side rail, hammering through turns better than any other woman on tour. Even with a wrapped up right leg, she surfed with more power than any two of her fellow competitors combined.
Her round one scores weren’t anything to write home about, just barely enough to sneak into round three ahead of Weston-Webb. But I can’t help but love every iota of her approach, that wide stance low center of gravity style. Which is why I’ve never been the biggest fan of Steph Gilmore.
I know that verges on blasphemy, but it’s not a comment on the blonde Aussie’s ability. Just personal preference. Just how I swing.
Carissa Moore’s another one with a proper semi-stocky, albeit tiny, frame. Holding through turns rather than flicking past them. A totally timeless approach.
I dream of how Coco Ho would surf if she could magically pack on another twenty pounds of muscle.
Sally Fitzgibbon watched her title campaign die during round two as the ocean went flat and a come-and-go squall pissed on her dreams. It was a crushing moment. No matter who you’re rooting for you couldn’t help but feel bad for her.
Pauline Ado embarrassed herself by hitting the eject button instead of pulling into one of the better waves of the day. Maybe it wasn’t makeable, but giving up straight away shows a real lack of heart.
Laura Enever fell apart in her round one heat. It was an abysmal performance. I believe she’s off tour no matter what her result, but it’s still gotta sting. One can only assume she’s still suffering some lingering problems post-injury. She came up against an on fire Gilmore in round two, but Gilmore didn’t beat her. Enever beat herself.
I’ve noticed that bikini bottoms have gotten larger, some of the women are even wearing shorts! Despite that I still I saw a few repeatedly digging lycra out of their asses. While the red-blooded misogynist in me loves the display, I can’t help but wonder whether they’re using the best athletic gear possible.
Tatiana Weston-Webb has not embraced the style shift.
The afternoon saw cleaner faces and slightly smaller sets. It was a combination that let the ladies light up. Hesitancy disappeared and performance skyrocketed.
Stephanie Gilmore dominated her round three heat. Coco Ho and Silvana Lima couldn’t touch Tyler Wright. Malia Manuel snuck through despite a very good bob and weave tube ride from Courtney Conlogue.
As always I was mildly annoyed every time I heard Carissa Moore say she just happy to be there. I want passion from my athletes!
The final heat of the day was very slow, so I mixed a pineapple and vodka cocktail and made some phone calls.
Today’s takeaway is that there’s still a gaping hole in many competitors’ games when it comes to surf much larger than a couple feet overhead. My theory about body type may be true, or it may just be sexist. Whichever the case, it’s something they need to work on in the off-season. Maybe do more squats?
I don’t know. I’m better at finding problems than solutions. If that weren’t the case I’d be a far better surfer.
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