Jordy and John In Title Fight Til The End!
Will Kolohe wiggle from his shackles? Will Italo fly? Will Filipe continue his killing spree? Will John make his run for the crown, or will Jordy put him down? Here's Damien Fahrenfort's French favs.
Well Lowers was a snoozefest, and we weren’t allowed beyond the wave pool's gates. So, the best thing that’s happened since Lowers is SITD.
The forecast for the event in France is looking rather shite; regardless, here’s a hot, hot title race being stoked, and on the back burner, there are a few guys fighting for their careers.
Takeaways from Lowers: I told you so.
Julian and Mick got destroyed by Kanoa, in fairly proper Lowers, which should have all the old boys scared: the groms have realized they can beat the top dogs. (That said, we may as well just give Filipe the next three- to five Lowers titles.)
So here's my France favorites, a mix of a few guys that I think you'll agree can be counted on right now for a good result (though, I'd watch out for the dudes like Kerr and Freestone, that have nothing to lose at this stage).
The murder train will keep on track. He’s honestly just too good to lose right now, one of those guys that creates his own opportunities. If you’re surfing against Filipe and have priority you have to keep your eyes out for fucking closeouts, shit waves, because leave 'em open and he’ll take and turn them into scores. And big ones. He looks like he’s enjoying competing right now, taking his losses like he takes his wins, which makes him really dangerous.
While he might not be in the running this year (unless he wins a few more), I'll say the same thing most have said the last three years: a title is a real option for Filipe next year. No, seriously.
At Lowers, it didn’t look like Jordy could fall off his board. He looked confident and the only person capable of stopping him was Filipe, who did.
Now with France up next, Jordy has a ton of confidence, some good boards and some great momentum behind him after his performance in Stab in the Dark. Jordy has done a great job of giving himself real opportunities this year. He’s figured out what waves he can score on and I think he’s about to hit that fifth gear we've always known he has. His backhand is better than it’s ever been and the tricky rip bowls in France can be dead ringers for the waves Jordy grew up surfing in South Africa.
The title fight is really going to come down to John and Jordy. Johns won here before, rather spectacularly, but Jordy has a great track record in France's beachbreak barrels, too. If it was decent size, lumpy big tubes, I’d choose John to win. But it’s looking like it’s going to be small. John has been in this position before, he knows what the pressure feels like, and he’s got nothing to lose, which is John's total comfort zone. He also happens to be riding 2 x SITD winning boards, so you know they’re good.
Zeke has a big result in the QS now and will more than likely re-quailify there, if needed. He can relax and do the surfing we see him do sans singlet. Zeke’s surfing looks best in shorter punchier waves, when there’s less room to see the flaws in his flow etc., and he can take to the skies and do some big airs. I think the judges will score that surfing from him high, because it's not the surfing they’re used to seeing from him. Watch out for guys that tend to use airs as exclamation points instead of commas or periods.
If Zeke and Filipe do the exact same air, guaranteed they’d score Zeke higher, which he should use to his favor.
San Clemente's favorite manboy deserves a break. I heard him recently refer to himself as the new Adriano, minus the title. Confidence is low; he needs a little picker upper. I think he needs to get out of his own head, drop the insecurity. Sure he hasn't lived up to everyones absolutely massive expectations, but who cares—he’s young and has time on his side, still. It won't last forever, but he's still the Little Rascal.
If Brother starts just surfing for himself and not the judges, he’ll start looking unpredictable, which is what his surfing needs.
Interesting how Jordy talks about the Mayhem board sitting above the water, because that’s how Brother and Taj surf on them, maybe he needs to try a few other sleds, see if anything sparks that he can bring back to his beloved Biolos. (OK Last Stab In the Dark reference, promise.)
This guy deserves a win. He’s really fun to watch, seems like a proper legend and just caught a bit of form at the Cascais comp, did a few huge airs and ended in second. Like Filipe, Italo is capable of creating space in small areas.