Morgan Maassen’s 2018 Power Rankings
The looming recession edition!
And thus concludes another stellar year of the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves, in the most sorta-kinda-maybe-ish way. What did everyone ask for from Santa Clause? Pumping Snapper at next year’s first comp? Amoebas to disband the hopefulness of Wave Pools? A brand new Hypto Crypto?
I am nothing but a lowly cameraman, but I do enjoy me some good ‘fake news’ every morning while I watch the Surfline Sandspit camera… and the economy is looking perilous!
So, in reality, a sparkling-new HaydenShapes most likely didn’t materialize under every Venice Beach warrior’s tree, but here’s to hoping for the unveiling of a family-wide Trump indictment as the Republicans once again nuke a stable economy and any traction your 401K and job security made the last decade.
I think the surf world will get significantly leaner next year, with QuikBongVA up-ending salaries and contracts across the globe… But with the Olympics not far off in the future, a Coca Cola-esque brand could be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Here, let’s examine not only who surfed well this year, but who is safe from the ever-shriveling finances of surfing…
10. Italo Ferrera: Not that Felipe has grown long in the tooth, but this guy is the new rabid beast loosed from the Brazilian pen. Free-surfing clips are cool… but contests turn him on, and he brings an unparalleled energy and hunger to the table. That Bali performance. Wow. And He won three events this year… that’s three beach houses in Brazil.
9. Kanoa Igarashi: Not a particularly dramatic year for Kanoa, but the slow burn for the youngster continues. Great surfing in J-Bay to further dispel his Huntington Hop stigma, and he was so at home in the Wave Pool.
I’m holding my breath until his stardom eclipses all the other tour combined, because “Big in Japan”… there are Waffle Houses in Tokyo that have bigger marketing budgets than Quiksilver… Now it’s time for his agent to connect the dots to the Godzilla-franchise reboot.
That is one mighty fine image of Mr. Michael Wright.
8. Zak Noyle: Did you see Zak’s cover of The Surfer’s Journal, shot with an iPhone? This guy is Tim Cook’s baby.
Most Hawaiian photographers visit the mainland to show face at Surfer Magazine and plead for a ½ page in the Hawaii issue; Zak flies private to Cupertino to eat Nobu and request new features in the iPhone Z.
It’s terrifying and amazing watching this guy push photography, with just a phone.
7. Seth Moniz: Welcome to the tour, Seth! Incredible surfing all year, marquee’d by a ridiculous air at the US Open and one of the most progressive waves ever ridden at Pipe. Did he just set the standard with an amazing barrel to air reverse…. On a 6’6?
And with his newly-proven superfood diet of Spam Musabi ($1.99 @ Foodland), Seth is iron-clad to pocket 99% of those heavy earnings next year, and to snatch up some North Shore property on the rebound in 2020.
A beef fueled by berries.
6. Sambazon: Marketing geniuses. To have the dexterity to seize the most interesting thing to happen in surfing all year (Tanner vs. Mrod) and immediately offer free Acai bowls to both sides… I declare Sambazon the smartest people in the room. Jim Kramer says BUY!!
5. Griffin Colapinto: The great hope. I am so goddamn proud of this kid and his incredible surfing; what a treat to watch him on the tour this year.
While his competitive prowess has some ground to cover, he is the crème of the crop amongst the lineup of youngsters who are slowly replacing the old guard.
I think his sophomore year he will grow immensely, and in 2020 own the American flag.
While Dane avoided any and all attention to himself and his surfing, Griffin wants it. Griffin is the windsock for the future of surfing celebrity in the USA, if he can get his character out there; I’ll be very curious to see how he is appropriated to mainstream.
4. Kelly Slater: Kelly’s empire has come together nicely, chipping away at manufacturing every product you would need, wear, eat, touch, smell, or even think about as you paddle into your first wave at the Surf Ranch.
A recession would be a divine test to his team of teams, who continue to close the Surfing Experience Loop. One must wonder how many private amusement park visits and Breitling watches one must move to keep the cash flow positive, but watching him surf so amazingly in the Pipe Masters at the age of 46… He is still our leader.
3. Filipe Toledo: The two surfers I will wake up any time in the night to watch a heat for are Jordy Smith and Filipe Toledo.
This young Brazilian just gets better and better… and after putting in time at Teahupoo, looking way more comfortable at Pipeline, two smooth event wins, and a close shot at the title, he has only solidified his place at the top even more.
What is equally as impressive though, is his conquest learning English, while juggling his performance and young family. If only he was born in the USA, he could run for President and I’d be first in line at the voting booth. Swoon.
This guy already brings home the bacon, but expect a Babybjorn or Johnson & Johnson sponsor on the hood of his board when the Olympics roll around, and he is vying for that Gold.
2. Gabriel Medina: Medina busted his multi-year mysto-celebrity-Instagram-ego-superstardom slump in the most fantastical display out at the Pipe Masters this last week. Abrasive would be a polite way to put his character and posturing against fellow competitors, but I’ll be damned if the fire wasn’t in his eyes as he blew yoga teachers’ minds worldwide with some of the most contorted claims I’ve ever seen.
Righteously so, he is back at the top. When his hip-hop album drops, we are doomed.
1. Ryan Miller: Surprised? The Remora to Gabriel Medina’s Great White Shark, this guy will be sitting beside his fireplace in freezing New Jersey with a glass of cheap red blend in-hand, invoicing over a thousand Brazilian companies for their unauthorized usage of his pictures.
No budget, “we thought we could just repost” excuses? DMCA takedown time. Imagine living the life of speedos, wine, flying first class everywhere. This guy owns ice cream shops, he might as well be Trump’s next pick to run the Federal Reserve. Badboy is single-handedly propping up the economy right now.
If you see him at a surf event, thank him. He is the 1%, but he is working for us.
Gonna charge us for this one badboy?
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