Stab’s picks for the 2014 Moche Rip Curl Pro, Portugal
Words by Damien Fahrenfort Portugal is probably the hardest event to pick a winner out of all the stops on tour. I had the vision the last two comps that Jordy and John John were gonna win and you probably didn’t believe me. Okay, last one was obvious but that Jordy shit, that was a […]
Words by Damien Fahrenfort
Portugal is probably the hardest event to pick a winner out of all the stops on tour. I had the vision the last two comps that Jordy and John John were gonna win and you probably didn’t believe me. Okay, last one was obvious but that Jordy shit, that was a huge call. So for this time I’m a bit hesitant to ruin my perfect record on an event that someone like Kai Otton can win or worse, did win. I’m not taking anything away from Kai, I was pumped for him to win, but it’s madness that someone can win a contest these days with out scoring over a 15 point total in the entire event.
The potential is there for the waves to be great with a forecast later next week that looks promising. So, based off the swell I’m seeing, here’s what I think is going to unfold…
1. Kelly Slater
Like a wounded African Buffalo, Kelly could potentially be at his most dangerous coming into Supertubos.
This man is probably having one of the worst years of his life on tour, despite how well he’s surfing. He’s making mistakes he normally doesn’t make and things just haven’t clicked from start to finish in an event yet for him this year. Good news for you though Mr Slater, you’re my pick to win. In my last two event picks I’ve called the winner and I have a perfect record. But, here’s why I think Kelly is going to win: In the last two years at this event he has lost early, one time to Raoni and last year to some local kid. This doesn’t happen very often for Kelly and will not happen a third time in the row. Title wise, Kelly’s coming in as an underdog and he loves nothing more than pretending like he’s not in contention for a title and then putting himself right back in there.
P.S. Kelly please don’t ruin my perfect record because I love nothing more than being able to tell the pricks that write the comments below: I told you so.
2. John John Florence
Mr Florence is everything right now. Ever seen so much heat on someone not leading the title race at this stage in the year?
A third, a second and a first in the last three events. He’s been the best surfer at all three of these events and will be the best surfer at this event. Other than Filipe, John’s airs are superior to anyone else’s on tour and we all know he’s not too shabs in the tube. JJF should win this event but for some reason I feel like he’s going to get unlucky in the semis. Still keeping himself in the running for the title race. Anyone that thinks JJF is mellow and not too competitive because of that laid-back style is a fool. The man loves winning and now he knows how to do it.
3. Michel Bourez
Michel exits through the gift shop. ASP/Kirstin
Big barrels or large mounds of water is where Michel thrives. It’s the places you’d expect him to do well this year he hasn’t. And after two wins and a third it’s gone down hill drastically for him and he wants to finish out strong. A top five finish leaves these guys with a very healthy bonus and you gotta strike while the iron’s hot. France was a missed opportunity for him and you could feel his pain.
4. Josh Kerr
Kerrzy is a man everyone that’s not on tour wants to see win something. Anything! C’mon Josh. ASP/Cestari
Kerrzy is a worker. Not a worker in the sense of the way he rides a wave but more so about how he works a lineup. He gets busy and makes things happen. It’s because he spends so much time in the water. Portugal suits guys that froth out because one heat will be on and the next will be off. Kerr seems to find himself on top of those heats where the waves are off. Plus, both barrels and airs are his forte. Kerr’s first World Tour win in Portugal? I can see it.
5. Julian Wilson
Julian hucks the equal biggest alley oop ever done in contest (jury is Still out between this and John John’s Bali jump). ASP/Cestari
This pick is chosen purely on premise that surely Julian isn’t going to lose early at seven contests in a row. You can only get kicked in the teeth so many times before you get up and fight back. Portugal will break the bad spell because it’s the only world tour event he’s won (and remember that alley oop last year?). With guys like Jadson spontaneously getting seconds in France and jumping up the rankings, Jules needs a big result to ensure a somewhat decent ranking for 2015. It’s weird how things can change in a year and this year Julian was on the unlucky side. He and Jordy, both having a bad year, faced off in a heat at Lowers that didn’t have many waves. He lost and Jordy went on to win the contest, get his confidence back and nail a third in the following event. This could quite easily have been Julian and will be from here on out. Just gotta slow the claims down.
6. Filipe Toledo
Filipe is up there with John for most exciting, regardless of conditions. ASP/Kirstin
I’m going to keep putting this guy in my picks because he’s probably my favorite surfer to watch right now other than JJF. He’s doing the most exciting surfing on tour regardless of the conditions. It doesn’t matter the size of the waves, this guy can stomp an air off any section and his completion ratio is higher than any other surfer in the world. His turns are a still getting there but punchy beachbreak conditions are perfect for him. It’s hard to believe his best results this year have been a couple of ninths, when he’s produced some of the best surfing at multiple events.
Wild Card: Owen Wright
O’s been a picture of momentum lately, despite results. He missed this event last year, but will be front and centre in 2014. Photo: Damea Dorsey
Each event he’s gotten more and more confidence back. He’s having fun and doing good surfing that could win contests. He’s got Matt Griggs in his corner and they make a good team and nothing would make me happier than to see Owen get a win. He also once broke three boards in one heat out at Supertubos so he’s gotta have some good karma coming his way here.
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