Will The Judges Overcompensate Gabby Medina In France?
Stab’s picks for the Quiksilver Pro, courtesy of the one and only Dooma Fahrenfort.
Things are getting exciting, and I think it’s about time we thanked the judges. While we were all bitching at them because our Fantasy Surfer at Lowers–one by one–they were busy ensuring a damn exciting title race. Oh and remember when I told you guys Jordy Smith was the best at Lowers and you wrote horrible things about me, well fuck you, I told you so. Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s how things are shaping up for France. It currently looks like the first day of competition will fire; after that, well, it’ll be a bit more unpredictable. So because one hot day doesn’t make a summer this makes it tough to choose a few winners and guys like Kai Otton and Jadson Andre have a chance at taking out the top dogs in the ever-shifting sandbars. I’ve mixed in a few wildcards below and while they probably won’t win they might get a big result and wreak havoc on the rating’s board.
John John Florence:
While John’s ankle might not be 100 percent, he’s still stomping big airs. He’s the people’s favourite, and after missing a great opportunity at Lowers, he won’t make the same mistake twice. John is a past winner in France, and with the surf being very similar to the Brazil event it’s his contest to lose. He will be world champion this year because surfing needs it.
So there’s this weird thing that happens in surfing and sports that have subjective judging. The athlete will get ripped off by the judges, have a big whinge and then in the next event the judges with over compensate and either overscore him or push him through the close heats. We saw it with Jordy after J-bay, and we’ll see it here too. Gabs also happens to be the best surfer in the world.
It’s hard watching this guy lose, two and a half event wins in his career is shameful for how good a surfer he is. He has flawless technique but over thinks. Jules keeps tensing up in heats, and I can tell what he’s going to do on a wave, but when he free surfs, he’s the best guy in the lineup. Fortunately for Julian his wins are big and his good heats and memorable. He’s taken second in France before, and I think this event could be his chance to come out on top for a change.
Italo’s one of the surfers I’m most excited to watch compete; you just can’t predict what he’ll do. Although he has flatlined lately, it’s time for a big result and if not a win. He’s strong in the tube and he can transition from a barrel into a big air which will play well in France.
Mr Smith’s coming straight off a win and into two weeks of pumping surf at home. Jordy’s fired up and the most excited on competitive surfing in a long time. Surfing well is one thing but enjoying competing is another. I haven’t seen Jordy like this in years so that’s why I’m putting him in again. He might not win, but he’s going secure a solid finish.
Things haven’t gone well since his win at Margies, other than getting a yes from the gal of his dreams. Since then Seabass had a 25ths and 13ths. Just when I thought Sebastian was finally going to live up to his ability, things went a little off track. Now that he’s down in the rankings (16th) and in jeopardy of falling out of the top 20, Bass needs to come through with a big finish at Hossegor. France suits his surfing, and if he can stay on his board and not get out of rhythm by poor wave selection I think he’ll put himself back in the safe zone for a big 2017.
Wildcard Result: Jadson Andre
This dude is about to flare up. I’m always pretty harsh on Jaddy when it’s perfect barreling waves, but unpredictable barreling waves suit him and here’s why: Jadson wasn’t made for surfing and I don’t know if it’s hard work or natural talent, but he makes it work. When the waves are perfect and he has the chance to ruin the barrel he usually does, but when it’s shifty and you expect him to fall or be out of place he adjusts to the situation. He’s the king of the Hail Mary. So while Jadson definitely won’t win this event, I think he’s going to get a good result.
Best Rookie Result: Conner Coffin
Conner’s due. He’s 25th in the rankings and way down on the qualifying series; he needs to step it up. He performs under pressure and is a great tube rider. I haven’t seen Conner go left much and while I’d expect his backhand to be worse than his forehand; it’s not. It’s just a different style of surfing, it’s tight and allows him to fire multiple snaps off in a short distance of open face. He’s also pretty handy at taking off late in the tube which helps in France.
Round One Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson, Nat Young, Matt Banting
Heat 2: Kelly Slater, Kanoa Igarashi, Keanu Asing
Heat 3: Jordy Smith, Jadson Andre, Kai Otton
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson, Miguel Pupo, Leonardo Fioravanti
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina, Dusty Payne, Ryan Callinan
Heat 6: John John Florence, Conner Coffin, Joan Duru
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan, Stuart Kennedy, Jeremy Flores
Heat 8: Italo Ferreira, Wiggolly Dantas, Alex Ribeiro
Heat 9: Julian Wilson, Caio Ibelli, Alejo Muniz
Heat 10: Kolohe Andino, Sebastian Zietz, Jack Freestone
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo, Josh Kerr, Davey Cathels
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza, Michel Bourez, Adam Melling
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