(Small) North Point’s Juice Ain’t Worth The Squeeze
The highest male heat total today was 10.34.
I was genuinely excited to wake up and watch the end of Round 1 today, but the swell, it’s gone! Joe and Pottz kept telling us about all the great rides in the morning freesurf, but I don’t know man. It really looked like the swell was on its last legs, which was confirmed by the men’s heat totals today (7.3 being the average winner’s combined score).
In terms of highlights, there were few.
Ace blew one of the few good waves today in his heat against Griffin and Willian. If he’d been on his forehand, no doubt Ace would have made it. North Point is a notoriously difficult wave for the goofies, as speed control is crucial and it’s incredibly difficult to read a wave when you’ve gotta look over your shoulder the whole time.
Willian then pulled back on the best wave of the heat, but he still won because everybody else sucked. I must say I would have expected more from Griffin, who’s got all the tube chops and aerial swagger (see below) that a boy could need, but today he looked confused in the North Point lineup.
Kolohe was one of the few surfers today who appeared hungry to compete. His opening barrel-to-air combo was highly committed and just the type of surfing we should expect to see on the elite tour. Unfortunately Kolohe didn’t ride out of the lofty, half-rotation huck, but at least he’s trying to surf on a world class level.
Paradoxically to that last statement, Kolohe won his heat by barrel-dodging and twice tagging a buzzer beater wave. That’s not a knock on him, just the kind of day it was.
Parko paddled out with a dirty stache on his lip that Pete Mel compared to Agent Javier Peña’s in the Netflix drama Narcos. In classic Peña form, Joel got down and dirty in the last heat of Round 1, taking off on inside ledges and hucking a couple wild air attempts. This was a welcome reprieve from the blatant displays of indifference we’ve come to expect from the 2012 Champ.
At this point in his career Joel just wants to get barreled, and considering his last win was at Keramas in 2013, who can blame him? He’s clearly not trying that hard to win events, let alone Titles at this point in his career, which raises the question: Why stay?
In fact, if Joel doesn’t retire after this season to go on The Search with his buddy Mick, then I really understand nothing about the human condition.
Today the Women’s CT paddled out at North Point for the first time in history. A momentous occasion marred only by the small, windy conditions on hand.
North Point gets significantly harder to surf as it decreases in size. The barrel disappears and the wave becomes too fast to perform maneuvers, which is essentially what the gals had to deal with today.
Sally and Steph had a couple clean turns, Carissa and Coco shot what was left of the tube, and Tati banged a couple sections for a nine, but the women’s inaugural North Point experience was little more than a symbolic gesture of equality. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but given the conditions they faced, I’m not so sure it was a good thing in this particular instance. At least this novelty experiment happened in a no-loser round.
The day’s most interesting moment came when Malia Manuel got stranded on the inner shelf, after which she rescued by a jetski that ran directly over a rock, knocking Malia off in the sled in the process. It was a weirdly stressful moment on an otherwise innocuous day of professional surfing.
I never thought I’d say this, but I hope the comp goes back to Main Break tomorrow. Unless North Point is pumping it’s not really worth competing there.
Although, there’s a rather large swell looming for the backend of the contest period, and I’m certainly not opposed to coming back for that. Despite a lackluster day of competition, this event is shaping up quite nicely.
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