Stab Magazine | Mirrored Tour: Who’d Thrive And Who’d Be Screwed

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Mirrored Tour: Who’d Thrive And Who’d Be Screwed

When lefts become rights and rights become lefts.

style // Jul 28, 2017
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

What do we have on tour? Five right points (includes Trestles because the judges still seem to score length of ride in 2017), two left barrels, three beachies and the (Backdoor) Pipe Masters. When it comes to Pipe, there is bound to be one or two rounds of Backdoor every year that sufficiently slaughters any goofy hopefuls, therefore chalking it up to a clear regular-foot advantage. Of the two lefts on tour, I’d say only Cloudbreak’s challenging setup has a clear forehand advantage (except for Ke11y, obviously), while Chopes is mechanical enough to where sack size seems to outweigh stance advantage.

I’m not going to waste anymore time explaining why certain spots favour certain stances; obviously regular-footers have a blatant advantage with the current tour schedule. It’s not even close.

So, for shits and giggles, lets analyse the current top 10 if the tour’s waves were mirrored.

M WSL Wilko

Photography

WSL

1. Matt Wilkinson

Wilko would have been off tour years ago. He has a mean backside and can adequately pack a forehand barrel. He is undoubtedly the goofy surfer who has benefited most from the tours right points. His forehand surfing is nothing extraordinary and his backside barrel riding is… non existent. Has anyone, anywhere ever seen him get barreled backside? If his aggressive avoidance of anything resembling a barrel at kegging J-Bay is any indication, I think the answer is no.

M DameaDorsey JJF2

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Damea Dorsey

2. John John Florence

All his wins have come at beachies, so clearly he can go forehand and backhand. However, he has the most versatile and unique forehand power/progressive combo in the game and would only be handicapped by having to go backside for most of the tour. Then again… it’s John John and he’d adapt.

As far as barrel riding goes, he may oddly be disadvantaged on his forehand. Why is he the best barrel rider in the world? Because of his backside expertise. There is an exponentially bigger gap between him and the rest of the tour in regards to backside barrel riding than forehand. While he may still be better than the rest in forehand barrels, the gap gets smaller and the rest of the regular footers suddenly have a chance.

RM JS

Photography

Ryan Miller

3. Jordy Smith

Jordy would be screwed. While he would be able to happily avoid backside barrel riding, everything else would suffer. His frontside rail surfing is second to none; take that away and the top ten would be as elusive to him as a world title is now.

RO OW

Photography

Rod Owen

4. Owen Wright

Owen would thrive. His frontside rail game is seldom seen but unreal and his backside barrel riding is the best on tour out of all the goofies. His exploits at the Box and P-Pass prove it. If the tour’s waves were mirrored, Owen would be a consistent runner up to a teammate of his further down this list…

M RM ADS

Photography

Ryan Miller

5. Adriano de Souza

After his backhand showing in Brazil this year, I believe Adriano would thrive in our mirrored world and forcefully commandeer the ‘wind up doll’ analogy currently bestowed upon Wilko. His backhand rail-grab bottom-turn to top-turn combo was a thing of beauty and would translate well to the long points that make up the tour. Dude can pack a forehand barrel as well (rewatch his 10 at the Box last year), so he’ll do just fine.

M RM JP

Photography

Ryan Miller

6. Joel Parkinson

Unfortunately, I think Parko would suffer the same fortune as Jordy. As someone who is almost entirely known for their forehand rail game, a mirrored tour would do no favors for Parko and he would slowly drift away into the sunset of his career. Or, he does the Kai Otton and bags a few huge results per year at forehand barreling waves (now Fiji and Chopes) and hang out on the right side of the elimination cutoff for a few more years. I would prefer the latter!

M RM FT

Photography

Ryan Miller

7. Filipe Toledo

This is a tough one. After seeing what he did at J-Bay, I think the evolution of surfing on tour would take a serious hit if all the rights became lefts. While he has a mean backside air game as well, I see the variety he has frontside forever changing the way people approach waves like Bells and J-Bay, forcing the judges to stop over-rewarding safe power surfing. I like power surfing as much as the next guy, but there’s a reason no one else was matching his progression on big, long J-Bay walls: they can’t… yet. Filipe would however be positively thrilled to surf the big barreling waves on his forehand.

M RM JW

Photography

Ryan Miller

8. Julian Wilson

While Julian has the stylish forehand of a master tactician, Filipe’s J-Bay showing basically rendered it irrelevant. If he hasn’t won a title yet on the merits of his precision and style, it’s not gonna happen now. To succeed on your forehand these days, more risk is needed and it seems Julian has been drowned out by the progression of his younger Hurley teammates. This stylish approach would however translate beautifully on his backhand in our mirrored world. Clean, consistent backhand surfing tends to score and Julian would thrive.

M RM GM

Photography

Ryan Miller

9. Gabriel Medina

Medina would be world champ. Unfortunately, forever. No surfer has been gypped by their god given stance as much as young Gabi. He should fire his papa coach for not having the foresight in the late 90’s/early 2000’s to force him to become a regular footer. Sure, he dominates in Fiji and Tahiti and has begrudgingly sharpened his backhand, but he would obliterate the field on his forehand in long, roping waves. Also, his backhand barrel riding isn’t the prettiest thing in the world, but he did come runner up at the Backdoor Masters a few years ago and raced a few challenging tubes at J-Bay just a few days ago…

M RM Connor2

Photography

Ryan Miller

10. Connor O’Leary

I’m going to go out on a limb and say Conner would be disadvantaged in our mirrored world. He seems to be scoring very well on his backhand and the fact that he is in the top 10 at this stage of his rookie year shows that reality agrees with him. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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