The Seven Deadliest Men At Teahupoo Are:
Fearless selections plus a rookie hopeful by Dooms Fahrenfort.
Well, hasn’t this year started shaping up nicely? The dreaded wonder child of Brazil is back in the running, and Hawaii’s golden child is catching up quick. Matty Wilko’s grip has loosened but he’s still surfing incredible, and each event is surprising me with his new found confidence. Spoiler Alert: The poor WSL has been cursed for surf this season; with a lack of waves on the horizon for Teahupoo, things aren’t looking great. Regardless, we’ll stay glued to our screens and the surfers that know how to thread the smaller softer tubes will prevail.
John John Florence:
Like, duh. I’d be an idiot not to pick him as a front runner. With John’s tube riding skills a notch above the rest, Tahiti should be the place where he closes the gap. Sure he lost to Gabs last year, but other than maybe Kelly, Gabs is probably the only person that could beat him in the tube. John has a title on his mind and needs to become a young world champion because becoming a world champ at 28 or 30 just ain’t sexy. It takes away the prestige of the title because, at that point, it’s expected – hell, it’s expected right now. Winning when you’re young, like Kelly, Mick or Gabs is what gets people hard.
Jeremy has had a shocker this year. He hasn’t managed to capitalise on a few easy heats and his back’s against the wall – which is when Jeremy steps up. Remember two years ago when he got suspended from competing at Chopes, then came back last year and won, wearing a Gath Helmet? Jeremy’s fuck you attitude is what gets him out of sticky situations and with Tahiti being like his second home and place where his lady lives, you know he’s going to post up a serious result.
I’d love to see this guy get a win. After his qualification, I had serious doubts about him, but he has become one of my favourite surfers. His unrefined approach allows him to surprise himself and avoid predictability. The last two events haven’t gone well for Italo, but his surfing is continually improving. Italo’s an insane tube rider, and although it will be just his second year going to Tahiti, I think he possesses the same gift the Hobgoods and Bobby Martinez have out there. They have the ability to get real small and compact when Chopes is under head-high, and the barrel is not as round.
His confidence is booming because his country’s hosting the Olympics (and apart from a few hiccups, it’s going well). His patriotism is at an all-time high and now’s his chance to bring more glory to the motherland. That and he’s phenomenal in the tube and has the capability to turn waves that most surfers let go, into a scoring ride. Remember how I previously mentioned the way he controls the heat, well Chopes is where he shines at that. He will start off inside every time and before the other surfer has posted their first score Gabs will have two scoring rides.
Life is good for Seabass right now. He just dropped the knee and gained a wife a few weeks back at the US Open, but his next task is staying in the top ten. Bass is very similar to Wilko in the sense that they both need something to click before they catch fire, but when they do it’s exciting. Improving his consistency has been huge for him this year, and I think his ability to get small and slow down on his backhand in the tube will be beneficial this event. He hunts the lineup for waves and stays busy which often is his downfall when it’s pumping but works well when it’s slow and small. I’m predicting a quarter-final finish at least for the tour’s happiest man.
Kelly Slater: This is getting depressing. My perception of the supreme commander is slowly fading, and I miss him being on top. I don’t think he’ll ever win another world title, but surely mother nature can swing some luck his way and give him a few chances for one more win. Kelly’s greatest rival, Andy Irons won his last event here, and this would be a fitting place for Kelly to win and retire. I think he’ll win a few more in his time, but it’ll be as a wildcard at Pipe. I’m not sure if Kelly has been surfing that much which is how he has always operated but hopefully he has a bit of motivation and hunger out in his heats. The splashing of water after a disappointing loss has to stop….
Best Rookie Result: Ryan Callinan
Ryan’s stylish but often looks like he’s moving at a snail’s pace. I’m not sure on account of his style or if it’s how he harnesses the power of the wave but I do think this will work for him at Chopes. The goofy-footers often have trouble slowing down, but Ryan’s slow approach will complement the speed of the barrel. I’ve seen him ride the tube; he’s good, and he’s due for a result.
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