Stab Magazine | Mick's On An Inexorable Path To Victory

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Mick’s On An Inexorable Path To Victory

Top seeds crumble at the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach

news // Apr 3, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

This morning in the great state of Vicco, the Top 34, or rather the 18 remaining of the Top 34, woke up to a large, Bowl-pleasing swell with light offshore winds. It could be said that Kieren Perrow has a difficult, often unenviable occupation, but when the conditions are like this, his job is easier than pancakes on a Sunday morning.

It was on.

Aside from questionable tactics Zeke can also surf. Photo. WSL/Cestari

John John’s Kryptonite

John’s Round 3 heat, which was easily one of the most interesting I’ve watched as a surf fan, will change the way our Champ approaches competitive surfing from here on out. Click here to find out why.

A rare moment where JJF slipped out of Zeke Lau’s strategic shackles. Photo. WSL/Cestari

The slow collapse of Joel Parkinson

Joel looks tired, disenchanted, and a little bit sad to be surfing at Bells–almost as if he’s wondering, “Why am I not retiring, too?”

In his heat against Frederico Morais, which went down in pretty-pumping Bells conditions, Joel lacked the energy and focus necessary to complete what were once throwaway maneuvers in his vast arsenal of tricks. Long gone is the 2011 Parko, who traded bombs with Fanning in the Bells final, the two friends alternating between first and second until a buzzer-beater 10 brought Joel to victory.

Today Joel struggled, and ultimately failed, to drop a five against a younger, more excited, but much less talented version of himself.

“I had a shocker,” Joel explained after the heat. “But at least we’re going to WA after this. Whenever I lose early at Bells, I always walk up the stairs thinking, ‘Just hurry up and get me in the barrel. I can’t wait to get in the barrel’.”

But surely Joel must know there would be more barrels in retirement than in Western Australia.

Being a goofy isn’t always bad news at the Bowl. Photo. WSL/Cestari

The Heat of the Day, surfing-wise

Visibly unbothered by the bumps and bruises that plagued today’s early morning surfers, Filipe and Italo put on a bothside clinic; demonstrating exactly how Bells should be surfed by members of their respective stances.

Filipe appeared smooth, powerful, and electric with his combination of carving and snapping maneuvers, while Italo looked… more or less the same, except backside. Ultimately it was wave choice that decided this bout, with Filipe falling victim to long, disjointed lines and Italo connecting with shorter, more concentrated walls, which allowed him to build a beautiful rhythm between maneuvers and conclude his rides with freefalling lip-hangers.

It really is a shame either of these boys had to lose. The way they were surfing, this heat easily could have been a final. Italo advanced despite an uncouth gesture to his Maker.

Jezza never forgets

After a controversial call at the Quikky Pro, Jeremy got his revenge against Ace, or was it the the judges(?), in an otherwise boring Round 3 clash between two of surfing’s elder statesmen. The cult of Jerermy Flores grows stronger by the day.

(Most) Red jerseys crumble

In the back half of Round 3, all red jerseys except for one–Gabriel Medina–were executed by their axe-swinging brethren in blue. Heading into Round 4, only two current Top-10 surfers (Owen Wright and Michel Bourez) and one past Bells champion (Mick Fanning) remained in the draw. Weird event, hey?

Have you ever seen a man squat so powerfully landing a lipbash? Photo. WSL/Sloane

Michel Bourez might win

Did you watch as Michel Bourez cauterized those Winkipop walls with his white-hot wrap? If he finds the right waves on finals day, ain’t nobody but nobody who can stop this power-hungry killer.

…But Mick can’t lose

Remember that in the new CT format, a Round 4 loss means an expedited ticket to WA, or in Mick’s case, retirement. Which is to say Fanning’s heat against Patty G and Wilko had serious implications.

Patrick Gudauskas looks like he might fall on every turn. I’m not trying to be rude, it’s just a fact. But because Patty’s confidence is peaking on that yellow-highlighter craft, he’s able to consistently pull off committed, high-risk maneuvers, which is exactly what the Pritamo has been asking for in his daily text to the surfers. Pat nailed two highly aggressive sevens early in his Round 4 heat, leaving his competitors, Matt and Mick, scratching their heads.

This might not match Pritamo’s progressive agenda, but Mick still draws the cleanest lines on tour. Photo. WSL/Sloane

Pat’s early lead made things stressful, but also hilarious, when Mick handed Wilko the best wave of the heat, only to laugh incredulously after watching him pelt it all the way to the beach.

With Mick’s retirement looming, I’ll admit I felt a twinge of terror. “He can’t actually lose like this, can he? In Round 4 against Patty and Wilko?”

Of course not!

Clearly on-board the #cheersmick train, the judges gifted Lightning a couple questionable sevens for the heat win. He would have beaten Wilko regardless, but the Patty G padding sure didn’t hurt!

Lima’s well and truly recovered from her torn ligament in 2012. Photo. WSL/Cestari

The Gals

Getting the short end of the stick conditions-wise, the women’s quarters were exciting not for their surfing per se, but for the internal fires that fueled our tenacious wahines.

Carissa vs. Silvana had a brilliant ending sequence, with Carissa nailing a go-ahead score in the last three minutes of their heat. Then, just before the buzzer, Silvana hit back with an even better ride to steal a passionate victory. Like with Filipe and Italo, the difference in this heat came in the form of wave choice, with Silvana picking the shorter, steeper lines and Carissa choosing long disjointed walls. The judges have consistently preferred non-stop combos and Silvana responded in kind

Do you think Jesse is jealous of how his girlfriend surfs? Photo. WSL/Cestari

Caroline ‘Carillupo’ Marks faced Johanne Defay in the third quarter, and despite a valiant comeback attempt, Johanne simply couldn’t match the power and precision of surfing’s new 16-year-old star. On her final wave, Caroline put up two massive reos for a 7.5 and was visibly elated with the feeling. Hopefully she brings that energy into her semifinal, where she’ll face the greatest female surfer of all time, Ms. Stephanie Gilmore.

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Remaining Round 3 Results: 
Heat 7:
 Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.07 def. John John Florence (HAW) 9.76
Heat 8: Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.60 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 9.07
Heat 9: Conner Coffin (USA) 9.83 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 9.63
Heat 10: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.60 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.40
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.86 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.73
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.16 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.30

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Round 4 Results:
Heat 1:
 Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.77, Owen Wright (AUS) 12.00, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 10.60
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.33, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 14.00,  Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.17
Heat 3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.57,  Frederico Morais (PRT) 11.16, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.10
Heat 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.33, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.17, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.00

Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: 
Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
QF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
QF 3: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT) 

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: 
Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.27 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.53 
QF 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 14.50 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 10.73
QF 3: Caroline Marks (USA) 15.10 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.57
QF 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.36 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 11.07

Rip Curl Women’s Pro Bells Beach Semifinal Matchups:
SF 1: 
Silvana Lima (BRA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
SF 2: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)



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