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The John John And Gabriel Rivalry Is The Best Thing In Competitive Surfing

I saw a grown man with a WSL tattoo. 

It was on his calf, and about the circumference of a tennis ball. Near him, a group of young adults had laid out a tray of charcuterie and wine on a table in the middle of a shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. There was also a family standing on stilts, a crew that clearly hadn’t yet finished their Friday night, people laid out looking all dead like it was Dunkirk, people standing at cheering at every single wave, etc. Nearly everyone was clothed though — you’d have to go a few kilometers up the beach, traversing a forest of foreskin, if you were to see the topless cliches. 

Suffice to say, it was an interesting crowd at the final day of the 2017 Quiksilver Pro France. Especially considering it was over 10,000 deep. 

Plenty more swell is on the way and there will almost certainly be some moments of glory in the remainder of the waiting period. However, today, a Saturday, the sun was shining and the waves were fun and it felt like the entire beach wanted to party. Except for maybe the guy with the WSL tattoo — he looked like a walking acai bowl. So, why wait? Just grab a beer and enjoy. There’s probably a French saying for that. Fuck French sayings.  

The day’s highlights: 

Joel Parkinson vs Nat Young 

Fortunately for everybody’s hangovers, the comp didn’t start until just after 11 AM. And much like everybody’s hangovers, things were slow at first. The whole of Round 5 went on without anything notable, aside from this 8.70 from Parko. It’s worth watching because you don’t know how many more chances you’ll get to see it. The retirement rumors have been swirling for years and in his Quarterfinal heat with Gabriel, he looked like the guy at your office that is on the verge of maximum benefits, refuses to adapt to change whatsoever and genuinely doesn’t give a fuck. He sat out the back, waited for mysto waves and stuck to his guns (of which he had none due to Australia’s reasonable legislature). It was good for a total of 1.20 points. 

Sebastian Zietz vs Miguel Pupo  

To put it nicely, you’re an asshole if you don’t like Seabass. He’s one of the Tour’s premier tubesmiths (see above) and always paints color on the typically manilla walls of the post-heat interview. In one, he said he was all about going tail-low on airs instead of tail-high. If you can’t beat Toledo, join Slater I suppose. 

John John Florence vs Mick Fanning

19.67 points? Jesus Christ man. 

Kolohe Andino vs Marc Lacomare 

This year, it seems like Kolohe has always been good for a good score, but has had trouble tapping into that excellent range. I think he toned down the whole “innovative” thing when he got on tour. I also think the rise of Griffin Colapinto is lighting a fire under his ass and bringing that side back. Five-year outlook: more airs and some World Title contention. 

Also, hell of an effort by Marc to make it the Quarters and shake up the Title Race. 

John John Florence vs Gabriel Medina 

This is the best thing in competitive surfing. It’s a fucking rivalry and don’t act like it’s not. They’re the two best surfers on tour, the only two under-25 World Champs in well over a decade and can be the source of the fire we need in this too-scared-to-be-divisive soft cock modern world. 

It was a great heat, featuring the best 2.07 I’ve ever seen. It’s laughable that the judges didn’t score John’s air as a make. Their scoring of Medina’s flip thing was funny too, because I feel like they would’ve given Aaron Cormican a 6.73 for something similar at a QS in 2007. Still, Gabriel won that heat flat out — it’d be great if he was in the Title race this year. And it’s wild that John almost wrangled his way out of combo-land under priority the whole time. 

Carissa Moore vs Lakey Peterson 

These two sure as fuck haven’t been training like Sally ™  —  you see how they were surfing? Carissa has to be the most powerful woman in surfing. And, for my money, Lakey is the most progressive. Pretty great matchup for a final in waves like this. But, as history has taught us, power always wins. Great surfing by Carissa. 

Sebastian Zietz vs Gabriel Medina 

Seabass looked like he was in a funk from the beginning, so Medina didn’t have to do much to take it home — just big turns mixed with more big turns.  So, just like that, he became the Quik Pro champ. And the rivalry is on. 


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