John Florence And Kelly Slater Fall Out Of Sunset On The Same Wave - Stab Mag

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John Florence And Kelly Slater Fall Out Of Sunset On The Same Wave

This event is wild.

news // Feb 17, 2022
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 6 minutes

It’s supposed to be hard, right? The men’s second day at Sunset Beach saw the return of overlapping heats, and all the hope and heartbreak that comes with it. The swell dropped considerably from yesterday, but that just made things more entertaining in the water. 

The consensus around Sunset is that regularfooters have the upper hand, but the results from the Round of 32 beg to differ. Out of the four goofy vs regular matchups, three goofies advanced. 

So what’s the deal? Yesterday, compared to their regular peers, goofyfooters had to navigate avalanches with their backs to the wall, leaving them little time to set up maneuvers. 

With Wednesday’s dropping northerly swell, the goofies had more time to wait and play tag with the end section, earning good scores consistently. Case in point, Nat Young over Morgan Cibillic, Connor O’Leary over Griffin, Jadson over Frederico. 

That said, the Round of 16 was consistent with Sunset’s historical trend. The quarters are loaded with all regulars, some of whom you’d expect and a few you probably didn’t. 

Highlights: Wildcard wins. A manageable swell. Close finishes and Jake freaking Marshall. 

Lowlights: Interference calls and technicalities. Fantasy surfing rosters. Connor O’Leary’s slam.

Boof. Nat Young debunking the goofy curse. (Photo by Tony Heff/World Surf League)

A day after finishing ahead of Jack Robbo, Jake Marshall, the rookie from Encinitas who finished 17th at Pipeline, had the upset of the season, eliminating John John Florence in the Round of 32. Jake surfed a damn-near-perfect heat, smashing his way to the lead with 8.60 with eight minutes left. Plenty of time for John to get 6.94 with priority, right? You would think so. 

Chaos ensued in the final two minutes with John chasing a score. He stood up on one but then pulled out, handing the priority back to Jake. Rather than block John, Jake went on another wave looking to improve his 5.3.

Then John took his turn again. To complicate things even further, John, in the priority heat, dropped in behind Kelly, and the judges flagged the GOAT, in the second-tier heat, with an interference. John got one wrap that was nowhere near what he needed before the wave clamped. That was all she wrote. Though Jake’s margin of victory was just .66 points, it should do wonders for his confidence for the rest of the year. 

I’ll tell you what — for a wiry frame, Jake packs some power into his punches. (Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League)

I thought the call on Kelly was unfair. He did cross paths with the surfer with priority, and per the WSL rulebook that’s an interference. But John was still popping up while cocooned in the foamball and probably couldn’t even see that yellow jersey. Bottom line, I don’t think Kelly interfered with John’s scoring potential. Kelly’s always been one for firsts, and word on the street is that interference was the first time in the history of the overlapping heats that a surfer in the nonpriority heat interfered with a priority heat. 

To add insult to insult, Kelly had already taken a haymaker from Matthew McGillivray in the form of a 9 to start the matchup. With no second scoring coming for Kelly, the heat was basically decided on a technicality. Needless to say, Kelly looked heated. 

“One more reason I love Sunset,” Kelly said laughing from the beach. 

While Kelly’s day ended, Jake was still on fire. Now in the quarters after beating Connor O’Leary, who looked shaken after a scary fall on the end section in the Round of 16, resulting in a board with a collapsed rail. We’re still not sure what part of Connor’s body did (and received) the damage.  

After my heart rate came down following the John John-Kelly exchange, things in the water also settled down. Jack Robinson looked impressive taking down Callum Robson in Round 3, and Matthew McGillivray the next. Callum gave it a good run, but Jack wasn’t losing to rookies two heats in a row. With John John bowing out, Robbo looks like the man to beat. He had Matthew McGillivray in combo land for most of the next round with the turns silkier than his new signature boardies. 

More surprises today. Griffin Colapinto got bounced (narrowly, 15.70 to Connor O’Leary’s 15.93) and now has two 17ths to his name. Zeke Lau (10.23) and Jordy Smith (9.50) was another close matchup. Two powerhouses with similar skillsets, but Zeke with the advantage of local knowledge. Jordy needed just a 5.17 to pass Zeke and get into the quarters, but his wave came a few seconds too late. Zeke onwards into the quarters.

Barron will most likely be in the top 10 after Sunset. (Photo by Brent Bielmann/World Surf League)

Kolohe got payback over Lucca Mesinas in a decisive win that had to feel good, after getting eliminated by the Peruvian rookie at Pipe a few weeks ago. But then he ran into Caio, who looks more than ready to stay on tour. Caio narrowly slid past Conner Coffin in the first heat of the day, as surefooted as he’s ever been. Back-to-back quarters for Caio — he may be wearing the yellow jersey in Portugal if he keeps this up. 

Speaking of sure feet, I wondered how Filipe Toledo would look against Billy Kemper after bypassing his matchup with Joao yesterday (Kai Lenny pulled out due to illness.) The Brazilian looked sharp and soundly dispatched the most experienced Sunset surfer in the draw. 

I had high hopes for Filipe’s next matchup, and it did not disappoint. Despite both Ethan and Filipe having some of the most similar scintillating forehand wraps on tour, we haven’t had the chance to compare them side by side. Their only matchup was in 2017 when Ethan won in Tahiti. 

After looking good but not great the first few rounds, Ethan was clearly more engaged/connected/powerful on his board than Filipe, burying his rail and navigating a difficult tube. Then the Brazilian took the lead for a two-turn 9.17, which to me felt overscored. Still, Ethan only needed a 7.94 to win. He got 9.67 just to be sure, for linking three sharp turns on a much bigger wave — the second highest single-wave score of the day, and the third quarters appearance for Ethan in his career. He’s never made the semis.

The quarterfinals look to be stellar with the forecast looking stable throughout the week. Women likely to run on Thursday.

Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Round of 32 Results: 

HEAT 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15.00 DEF. Conner Coffin (14.26)

HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.66 DEF. Lucca Mesinas (PER) 8.57

HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) ​​16.23 DEF. Jackson Baker (AUS) 14.10 

HEAT 4: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.50 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.50

HEAT 5: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 14.40 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10.60

HEAT 6: Deivid Silva (BRA) 14.44 DEF. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 9.60

HEAT 7: Nat Young (USA) 16.13 DEF. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 13.67

HEAT 8: Seth Moniz (HAW)13.60 DEF. Joao Chianca (BRA) 11.53

HEAT 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.47 DEF. Billy Kemper (HAW) 14.50

HEAT 10: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 15.50 DEF. Samuel Pupo (BRA)14.76

HEAT 11: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 15.93 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.70

HEAT 12: Jake Marshall (USA) 13.93 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 13.27

HEAT 13: Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 15.67 DEF. Kelly Slater (USA) 2.50

HEAT 14: Jack Robinson (AUS) 17.67 DEF. Callum Robson (AUS) 13.73

HEAT 15: Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.33 DEF. Frederico Morais  (POR) 10.27

HEAT 16: Kanoa Igarashi (JAP) 11.04 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 8.63

Hurley Pro Sunset Beach Round of 16 Results:

HEAT 1: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.10 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.57

HEAT 2: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 10.23 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF)

HEAT 3: Barron Mamiya (HAW) 12.90 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 12.77

HEAT 4: Seth Moniz (HAW) 8.67 DEF. Nat Young (USA) 7.63

HEAT 5: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 18.24 DEF. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16.50

HEAT 6: Jake Marshall (USA) 9.66 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 6.50

HEAT 7: Jack Robinson (AUS)15.84  DEF. Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 10.37

HEAT 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JAP) 16.10 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.54


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