Category Archives: power rankings

PHOTO DISPATCH: TEEN CHOICE AWARD BOARDS

As the naughties grind towards their inevitable close, the time has come to take stock of the decade and consider the progression of surfing since 2000.

Surf Culture has blossomed and grown strong since the millennium.  What better way to chart this development than through the progression of Teen Choice Award board design?

2000

2000: The stock-standard thruster has been finely-tuned into a high performance machine via two decades of collaboration between Al Merrick and the world's best surfers: Tom Curren and Kelly Slater.  Hardcore surfers like Britney Spears are ordering their Teen Choice Award boards at 6'0" x 18.25" x 2.25".  Not visible: Britney's soon-to-develop cheeto-rich hips, and the vestigial Merrick hip present in the back third of this high- performance template.

Stefani, Gwen

2001: The Teen Choice Awards soldier on, despite the recent tragedies of Septemeber 11th.  Event promoters are rumored to remark, "The Teen Choice Awards are America: and like our great nation, they are worth dying for."  Driven by nostalgia, award board design alludes to the halcyon days of 1980s, when Curren was king and Ronald Reagen benevolently watched over us all.  Gwen Stefani invokes the flag of our great nation in her choice of bikini top and belt; her award board features a flatter rocker, fuller rail, and slight swallow tail.

20022

2002: Influenced by the recent dominance of blond Hawaiian powerhouse Andy Irons, Britney Spears' award board features a Hawaiian flower print, an Eric Arakawa inspired single-to-double concave and a slightly gunnier outline, with less volume present in the nose.  Still recovering from her devastating break-up with Justin Timberlake, Britney adds two inches to her standard award board to help with paddling and stability through backside bottom turns.

2003

2003: As Kelly Slater returns to form and challenges Andy Irons for the world title, Hollywood is once again smitten with low-volume rocker chips.  Dominant douche-riders like Ashton Kutcher go as small as 5'9" x 17" x 1.75" in an attempt to slipstream a little of Kelly's magic slipper mojo.  By all accounts, the lack of volume in award board equipment challenges most top Teen Choice Award recepients.

2004

2004: Thin is in.  Influenced by celebutards Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, thickness stays under 2 inches on most award boards, but length is increased by at least 4 inches on average.  Swallow tails make a comeback, as Ms. Hilton notes that the term "swallowtail" sounds "so hot," as opposed to the term "square tail."  Their lifelong friendship strained by working relations on The Simple Life, Ms. Ritchie is rumored to in fact call Ms. Hilton "a dirty swallowtail" in the wake of Ms. Hilton's sex tape.

2005

2005: In the wake of the shut-down of Clark Foam, many core celebrities begin experimenting with alternative epoxy construction in their award boards.  Rachel McAdams finds success via a stringerless, parabolic-railed epoxy composite with FCS fin system.  Due to security concerns, fins are not included in Teen Choice Award boards.

2006

2006: In a return to the elegance and restraint of old-Hollywood, key new performers such as Rihanna opt to leave swallowtails behind and embrace square tails.  Computer-shaping machines allow celebrities like Rihanna to duplicate magic boards, like the Tex-Mex 6'1" pictured above.  After a flood of complaints, fins are again included on award boards.  Little does Rihanna know... finless will be hip soon enough.

2007

2007: The green trend begins in earnest, spurring environmentally conscious young celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens and Zac Efron to change the design of their award boards.  Both Ms. Hudgens and Mr. Efron choose to ride highly toxic polyurethane-based equipment.  However, they note that inspired by "An Inconvenient Truth," they have opted to use green rails on their award boards.

2008

2008: As surf culture becomes ever-more environmentally conscious, core performers like The Jonas Brothers opt for wood-based award boards.  The Jonas Brothers, inspired by craftsman/shaper Danny Hess, rely on perimeter-framed cork and poplar with wood-skinned decks.  In a tip of the hat to Tom Curren and Tom Carroll, award boards feature the acronym TC instead of Teen Choice.

2009

2009: Green and Retro are in.  Despite their glamor and beauty, core "it" girls like Megan Fox choose down-to-earth user-friendly designs. Ms. Fox's award board features a traditional fish template inspired by the work of Skip Frye.  For the first time in Teen Choice history, twin fins push aside thrusters as the fin set-up of choice.  In order to preserve the environment for future generations, all award boards are painted green.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 1-5

slater

Kelly Slater

Why is Kelly Slater back at number one in the Power Rankings?  Because he holds the fate of the ASP in his hands.  If that isn’t power, I don’t know what is.  The question now is will Kelly use his vast influence for good or evil?  Lately, ASP insiders are looking at their talented figurehead and seeing more than the physical doppelganger of Lex Luthor.  Trouble is, the only Superman who can save the ASP is also Kelly Slater.  In each of his contest appearances over the course of the last couple months, Slater has played both roles: dominating Brazil, ruling the barrel at J-Bay and Superman-handling Huntington like, well, Superman.  But there’s been allusions to dissolution there, too: Kelly slapping the water at J-Bay as the ocean let him down, Kelly slapping the water at Huntington as the ocean let him down again.  He moved his frustrated hands across the surface of the waters with a vengeful callousness that hinted at the genesis of a super villain - Lex Luthor en utero.

More seriously, as Mr. Slater faces the grave responsibility of deciding the ASP’s future, I’m reminded of fact instead of fiction.  Although a new tour sounds good in theory, Kelly may find himself walking into a quagmire beyond his control, just as US military forces did in Iraq.  Destruction is easy -- overthrowing the existing regime will take only another flick of Slater’s Lex Luthor wrist against the surface of professional surfing’s waters.  But the process of rebuilding a stable governing tour may prove more difficult than Slater has envisioned.

I foresee two major problems:  First, the concept of contest results having validity at all is a bit of an illusion, kept in place by faith in the system.  The fact that we even begin to accept the fairness of completely subjective judging decisions is largely due to our familiarity with the current paradigm.  A bit like the way religious fanatics believe their belief system makes sense, simply because they’ve been raised in it.  If the format changes completely, once-devout fans may inevitably spot the holes in its logic.

The other issue is this:  How will they cull numbers with any semblance of fairness?  If they take the current Top 16 and ditch the rest, Tom Whitaker will be in and Dane Reynolds will be out.  But if they draw up a dream team of the subjectively most-talented surfers on earth, the new tour will be nothing more than an imperialistic popularity contest.  Look no further than Surfing Magazine’s recent article, in which they declared that Mitch Coleborn should be on the new elite tour… while current world #3 Adriano De Souza should not.

Reality isn’t easy, and change doesn’t come cheap.  Kelly may not like where he’s at, with title 10 out of reach.  But if he doesn’t buttress his idealism with informed advisors instead of yes-men, the king may find that Fiji looks more like Fallujah than he ever could have imagined.

parko

Joel Parkinson

The decision has been made.  The role has been cast.  Now it’s time for the extras to follow the script, and play out the rest of the scenes.  Joel Parkinson will be world champion.  As with Slater in 2008, the universe seems to be ushering Joel towards this fate, and other contenders away from it, like a sheepdog nipping at heels.  How else to account for the inexplicable early-round losses of every other contender? Does Billabong’s influence run that deep?  It’s now easy to mistake 2009 for 1989; like Martin Potter, Parko seems to have suddenly snapped awake with a whiff of smelling salts, and convinced the field in a single event that he’s The Man.  In addition, it was intriguing to see how little Parko gambled on his way to victory at J-Bay – nearly every turn was low-risk, on rail, beautiful and timeless.  His approach was anything but futuristic - closer to Tom Curren circa 1992 than even Slater circa 1996.  The fins barely got loose over the course of his entire calculated run.  It was a performance even children of the 60s could relate to – call it neoclassicism.

cj

C.J. Hobgood

There’s a bit of Mr. Miyagi in CJ Hobgood these days – he’s transitioning into his role as resident Sensei of the World Tour.  CJ’s proving to be the rare veteran who keeps progressing, pushing himself farther as his body ages and the competition creeps up.  Watching him attack the lip in Brazil this year, one got the distinct suspicion that Mr. Hobgood sleepwalked through the formative years of his career.  (Yes, I am excluding his anomalous 2001 title from the argument.) Simply put, there is an awareness to CJ’s approach that was lacking through many of his early seasons.  He’s taking risks that others are not, and finding that, like Slater, he has a gift for improbable recovery.  Although Kelly took the victory in Brazil, CJ placed the most consistently risky, radical bets of the event, going "all in" with each defining turn on each mediocre wave.  At J-Bay, CJ was felled with a strain of swine flu, leaving him weakened and lucky to make it through even his first heat vs. Miky Picon.  Watching CJ’s heat and then Damien’s was like watching Tom Hanks degenerate in Philadelphia, in reverse.

adriano

Adriano de Souza

Overconfidence is an interesting thing.  It causes humans to lose the ability to discern between things we can control and things we can’t.  Adriano De Souza’s career nestles snugly within the rewards of this overconfidence maxim.  To quote a recent New Yorker article by Malcolm Gladwell:

"The psychologist Ellen Langer once had subjects engage in a betting game against either a self-assured, well-dressed opponent or a shy and badly dressed opponent (in Langer’s delightful phrasing, the 'dapper' or the 'schnook' condition), and she found that her subjects bet far more aggressively when they played against the schnook. They looked at their awkward opponent and thought, I’m better than he is. Yet the game was pure chance: all the players did was draw cards at random from a deck, and see who had the high hand. This is called the 'illusion of control': confidence spills over from areas where it may be warranted ('I’m savvier than that schnook') to areas where it isn’t warranted at all ('and that means I’m going to draw higher cards')."

It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that Adriano is still viewed as the tour schnook, despite being firmly entrenched in the Top 3. In Brazil, Adriano was underestimated by Jeremy Flores, Bede Durbidge, and Joel Parkinson on his way to the finals.  Only Slater remained wary of him.  At J-Bay, the tables were turned on De Souza: he viewed Nathaniel Curran as the schnook, and lost accordingly when the ocean went flat.  Some things even world title contenders cannot control.

mick

Mick Fanning

I remember reading a brilliant essay by Mickey Munoz years back, in which he envisioned the perfect surfer, and the perfect session.  I’m paraphrasing here, relying on a deficient memory ravaged by alcohol, but what Mickey pictured was this: a formless, out-of-shape surfer patiently studies the ocean.  He then surfs an entire session without expending any energy at all – floats out in a rip, catches a wave without paddling, gets barreled without engaging a rail, kicks out, lets the rip suck him back out, and does it again.  To Mickey, surfing wasn’t about athleticism and aggression.  Surfing boiled down to knowledge and flow.

That’s one way to see it.  Mick Fanning vs. Michel Bourez at J-Bay is another way to see it.  The Spartan vs. The Machine – two muscled gym-rats pushing each turn farther than it should go while Tom Curren watches, his right eyebrow raised a thousandth of a millimeter in an act of protest.  Mick put up 17.17 and lost the heat.  His year is dust.  Bourez has now beat Parko, Bede, Kelly, and Mick man-on-man in his short career.  He beat Fanning off a 10 that included three barrels and two claims.  If Mick had won Brazil and J-Bay, we’d still have a title race to look forward to.  Instead, Fanning was laid down to rest by surfer who probably does a fist pump claim when he grunts out his morning shit.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 6-10

damo

Damien Hobgood

You don’t finish runner-up at J-Bay twice by mistake.  Unless you’re Damien Hobgood, that is.  Shades of Peter Sellars in Being There, as Damo somehow won heat after heat, despite being seemingly only dimly aware of his surroundings, what year it was, and perhaps even what his name is.  A touch of Zen, too, as Hobgood planted himself firmly in the moment: each section another section, each heat simply another heat.  Against Taylor Knox, Damo squared off and committed to every blast, blissfully unconcerned with making the wave.  J-Bay rewarded his hubris – where others raced only to get left behind, Damo slowed it down, confident in the moment, and somehow made the wave. It was just enough to beat the stronger regularfoot.  And that is a good summation for Damo’s J-Bay effort: he took down Chris Davidson, Bede Durbidge, Taylor Knox, and Dane Reynolds consecutively – all by less than a point.  I dare you to find another instance of a surfer making an ASP final without ever definitely winning one heat.  All the same, this result represents redemption for a former title contender who looked set to drop off tour towards the end of 2008.

bobby

Bobby Martinez

Are the judges intimidated by Bobby Martinez?  Or are they simply fans?  It's hard to tell sometimes.  Bobby Martinez surfs rights with the confidence of someone who's been told many a time that they surf backside better than everyone else.  The hulking grace, the precision, the style… the marketed ghetto roots and street tattoos… Bobby is a surfer that commands almost fearful respect from the ASP machine. Judges respect his backside carve like they respect no other goofies' since Occy.  For most backsiders, turns must be vertical to garner any serious points.  An open-faced backside carve is now considered a set-up turn.  But when Bobby does his version, he's consistently rewarded for it.  Despite this, he's never been able to make a final backside - while he's won four events in lefts.  Something doesn't add up here.  Martinez gets an 8.5 off a few set-up turns and one doggie-door pit to down Dunn, but gets smoked by Parko.  Actually that probably explains it all; Parko's frontside power swoops are even more well-respected than Bobby's backside grunters - call it a marketing bout of signature turns.

taj

Taj Burrow

I’d like to believe that I’ve deservedly had zero-effect on how the general surf media covers the tour.  Sometimes, however, I fear that’s not the case.  Influence through imitation: it’s occasionally a terrifying thing.  Reading ASP write-ups from the majors, I’m sometimes reminded of a trailer-trash heifer in a g-string: she thinks the look suits her, but it does not.  Where once there was tepid marketing prose, I now see a grimy reflection of my own dubious work: controversy for the sake of controversy, wild claims, absolutism, indignation, nationalism and lame attempts at ironic humor.

Don't believe me?  Recently SurfingMag referred to Taj as a surfer who has been "prematurely aged" by the tour, but who might prove to be "the Benjamin Button of the bunch."  Sounds familiar...although that moniker is reserved for Drew Courtney on PostSurf.  What does this have to do with Taj Burrow?  Well, I’ve put Mr. Burrow in the discount bin labeled “Tapioca Fuckwit” many a time in the last few years.  Simply put, he’s an easy and deserving target.  In addition, fate has not exactly dealt the dolt a cruel hand – so what’s the harm in teeing off on him?  A few years ago, when I started in on him, Burrow was the media’s darling.  Now, he’s referred to as “The Cheyne Horan of the 2000s” in nearly every write-up.  I almost feel sorry for the guy.  He’s out of style - and I feel partly responsible for that.  What doomsday proclamations should be made about Taj’s future after his loss to Sean Holmes in R2? Let’s leave it as this: Sean Holmes is a fucking pimp.

bede

Bede Durbidge

Speaking of bathwater gone cold: Bede has quietly screeched his freefall to a halt with his nails dug deep into the concrete on the side of the building.  After two consecutive first heat losses, Bede punched the clock at high noon for a 5th in Brazil and 9th in South Africa.  Durbidge racked up some high-scoring heats (17.50 at J-Bay, 16.90 Brazil) off the usual emoticon turns – meaning his surfing is lethal but lacks subtlety.  It’s reminiscent of Jaws’ approach in the mid-70s Bond films.  But just as Roger Moore will never be a favored Bond, Bede is unlikely to ever be a favored contender.  At the best of times he attacks the wave like a Parko-Tribute Act on Angel Dust -  but he’s never lost the wide-eyed stare of an Okie straight off the bus.  Against Damo Hobgood, Bede fell decimals short – the difference was an end-section boost over the bricks that Bede couldn’t stick.  Like Slater, Bede is finding that lucky wins are so 2008.

dane

Dane Reynolds

I feel for Dane.  It’s professional courtesy - one false messiah tipping his hat to another.  It’s a tough business, leading from on high, tacked on that cross.  Yes, it’s a stretch to compare our predicaments, and it’s also a stretch to compare Dane’s predicament to that other guy’s.  But my point is this: each time Dane rises to his feet, fans expect a miracle.  Every turn must be a revelation, every air must revolutionize the sport.  Dane is expected to lead a dying and battered breed to redemption, even though it's a forum he barely cares about and a job he’s not sure he wants any part of.  Normal Americans can do what they want with their measly lives.  But Dane Reynolds is the awkward voice of a generation, and therefore he must do what the fans want him to do.  If he doesn’t do it, those fans have an idling bus ready to throw him under.  Their entertainment is far more important than Dane’s personal well-being.  At J-Bay, Dane dutifully stopped fidgeting and returned to the job of surfing savior.  He delivered what the masses wanted – miracle barrels, miracle airs.  Dane may not believe in himself, but the machine sure as hell believes in him – after all, there’s profit in it.  That’s where we differ.

POWER RANKINGS LAY DAY

layday

With south swell hype increasing, actual paid work commitments looming, and hangovers holding steady, PostSurf.com has officially called a Power Rankings lay day.

7 days into the two week waiting period, 35 power rankings have been completed.  Only two days of drunkeness are now needed to complete the Power Rankings.

Check back tomorrow for an offical announcent as to when the rankings will commence.  In the meantime, please review all the replays at PostSurf.com.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 11-15

jordy

Jordy Smith

Jordy Smith has an image problem.  He’s a winner, but he’s not a likeable winner.  Worse yet, he’s not even winning.  But if he were to win a title, or even an event, he’d be the least likeable champion since Andy Irons.  Confidence is necessary; but Jordy’s arrogance is icing on the cake.  I love it.  I wish he’d stop trying to feign modesty and simply turn the egotism up to 11.  Right now he’s like Shooter McGavin in Happy Gilmore - a bit too much vinegar in his douche mix.  He brags about doing anal with cougars and robbing young children and old people.  He’d be better off channeling Will Ferrell’s Chazz Michael Michaels from Blades of Glory.  Jordy should present himself as testosterone-laden sex on a surfboard.  After he lost to Barca in Brazil, he should have walked straight up to the hottest girl who wanted his autograph, quickly and vigorously masturbated in his hand, and then smeared it on her bikini-clad chest.  Then declared “You’ve been signed by Jordy Smith! BOOYAH!”  He could have proceeded to anally rape that weird old guy who dances around in the Spiderman costume… just to put an exclamation mark on the morning. Alas, he did not.  Opportunity lost.

At J-Bay, Jordy was improbably paired with Dane Reynolds in his first heat.  Jordy met Dane last year at Chopes and came up short, blasting turns and airs with a hint of desperation while Dane casually slotted the victory.  Pretty much the same story at J-Bay. Jordy opened up with an erect 8.5, off a keg and a 6-pack of porn-star carves .  But at the end of his wave, he played it humble - instead of masturbating in his hand and flinging it towards GT, he kicked out.  Opportunity lost.

taylor

Taylor Knox

One of the few interesting interviewees of the whole B-Bong media fuckfest was Taylor Knox.  At one point, when asked about J-Bay, Taylor responded in a justifiably smug manner, with something along the lines of “I love it – J-Bay exposes surfers’ weaknesses.”  The inference, of course, was that on a fundamental level, Taylor believes his surfing is rock solid, while some of his peers have developed their careers on shaky ground.  Taylor is right.  He approaches J-Bay’s begging sections with the same arrogance of an A-list celebrity being interviewed on Inside the Actor’s Studio – each hack is a chance to give back – to teach other aspiring power surfers how it’s done.  Yes, Taylor did contribute to the possible death of the ASP by beating old friend K.Slater in R3.  Many devastated fans will attribute Slater’s loss purely to a lull – but Taylor did put the pressure on with an 8.0 opener.  I doubt Knox  would ever admit it, but it must have felt good to down Kelly after losing to him so many times  - for instance, in that legendary clash at Lowers in ‘07.

whits

Tom Whitaker

Whits is in a heated title race of a different variety this season – he’s competing with Kieren Perrow to reclaim the title of Premier Australian Journeyman.  This blue-collar title race has an illustrious past – to qualify, you must never win an event.  Luke Stedman won last year, as Ace and Bede graduated to the big leagues via victories.  In ’07 Kai Otton beat out Whits by one spot.  ’06 Whits won with an 8th place finish.  ’05 the title went to Macca with a 5th in the ratings.  In ’04 it was Nathan Hedge at 7th, and in ’03 it was Kieren with a 6th.  It’s like a secret society of mediocrity, more powerful than the Stonemasons or Druids.  They are led by Peter Townend, who set the standard for irrelevant yet ludicrously successful Australian Journeymen by actually winning the world title and Journeyman title in the same year – 1976 – when he captured the first world crown without winning an event.  In ’09, Whits has made his push towards the podium in textbook fashion – three 9ths, a 5th, and a 17th .  At J-Bay, Tommy lost to potential future-journeyman champ Ben Dunn in a wave-starved affair, and now Perrow is closing in on the lead.  With the world title already decided, this is the race to watch.

campbell

Michael Campbell

If you weren’t a true student of the sport, you could easily be fooled into thinking that The Ginga Ninja is another illustrious winner of the Journeyman World Title.  Not so – Mick has won multiple events in his distinguished career, elevating him above official journeyman status.  His most recent win was the Bluetorch Pro at Huntington in 2000.  Remember Bluetorch?  Ah, the halcyon days of the Dotcom surf boom.  That laughable era may have passed, but Mick Campbell has not.  The Ginga Ninja is like a pint-sized, albino Dennis Rodman.  Think about how slow best-mate Danny Wills looked in his last season, and marvel at the tattooed attack speed of Mick Campbell as he dives for proverbial loose balls.  This twisted little bleached gibbon literally punches lips.  He makes them cry.  Placement is an art.   It’s terrifying to consider what a surfer like Jordy Smith would do with the precision and torque of Mick Campbell.  Yes, I know, Jordy sweats power and can do shocking things both above the lip and under the covers.  But the snapping jab of a Ginga lip hit is nearly unrivaled.  Two proud 9ths in a row for Mick Campbell, schooling higher-paid youngsters like Tim Reyes and Josh Kerr.

perrow

Kieren Perrow

Back to the journeyman leitmotif: Kieren Perrow has waged perhaps the least impressive truly impressive comeback in the history of the ASP. Fellow society-members Macca and Hedgey should hire Perrow as a motivational speaker.  Perrow has solidly reestablished himself in the Top 16 without anyone even noticing. KP is perhaps one of the most difficult surfers in the Top 45 to write about.  He defies serious criticism by almost always out-performing his ability, defies attacks on his manhood by charging death closeouts, and deflects attacks on his character by being a normal, humble, likeable guy.  An Anti-Jordy.  This tapioca fuckwit is like kryptonite to the Power Rankings.  He’s everything except entertaining.  At J-Bay, KP bounced back from a Brazilian beating by downing Kekoa and giving Parko a polite run for his money. KP never put up a wave-score over 7, but he looked damn solid doing it.  He failed to find the long pits at Impossibles, but his turns up top looked, well, almost like a geriatric Parko.  Dare I say it.  He looked that good.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 16-20

ottz

Kai Otton

What a nut-up by Kai Otton. This hairy Howard Hughes of a recluse pulled his Spruce Goose out of a season-long tailspin and soared all the way to the semis at J-Bay.  Against Parko, he kept believin’ even when Parko opened up with an arguable 10 – Kai answered back with his own arguable 9.8.  Here’s the thing that makes this all so amazing:  Backside, Otton is simply not at the same level as his peers, and he knows it.  I know it.  We all know it.  Last year, I remarked that Ottz looked like “a man stuck in a lawn chair” when he pumped down the line at J-Bay.  This comment had unintended repercussions. (Yes, this is the part where I name-drop, if only to prove name-dropping does not make the Power Rankings more entertaining).  Dayyan Neve told me later that Ottz was so shattered by the slight that he avoided going right at Trestles and Hossegor.  Slater weighed in at some point with the opinion that I was right, and that it was about time someone told Kai, so that he could correct that lawnchair backside stance.  Later, Taj’s trainer nearly clocked me in Mundaka, citing the lawnchair comment as one of the many reasons.

My point is this: Ottz showed up at J-Bay and took it to all comers, despite his shortcomings.  He won off placement and pits.  He took down Fred, CJ, Dingo and nearly, Parko.  Did other beards surf better?  Yes.  But it was Kai-motherfucking-Otton in the semis at the end of the day, and no one can take that away from him.  This is a competitive surfer.

dingo

Dean Morrison

Another bearded clam, and another season turned around.  Dingo hasn’t looked particularly good all year, but at J-Bay he worked the kinks out slowly but surely.  Morrison edged Lipke in R1, barely edged Flores by .5 in R2, and then opened up against Curran in R3 once the waves got good.  Dean’s a surfer’s surfer, in the end - he stays in the water longer than he needs to, loses interest in crap slop, and then burns bright and jives to life in solid pits.  Two ridiculous kegs on one wave cleared him a path to the quarters, with a 9.63 and 8.00 to back it up.  It harkened back to other legendary Dingo pit efforts: vs. AI in Tahiti, vs. Slater in Chile...  Nice to see some irony bleeding in, as well: Dingo is one of the most notorious snakes on tour.  On his best wave of the event, a non-competitor burned him way down the line and Morrison called him off before pulling into yet another pit.  In the end, something always goes wrong for Dingo, and it did yet again against Otton, as a second score never.  At this rate, Dingo may pull a Taylor Knox – loitering on tour for another decade without ever winning a second event.

flores

Jeremy Flores

So, I hate to break it to all the Frenchies reading PostSurf, but I’m getting the distinct impression that Jeremy Flores is not the next Kelly Slater.  One sign: Flores has steadily dropped in the ratings since joining the tour – he finished 8th his rookie year, 10th last year, and is currently mired at 16th, with not one memorable performance to his credit.  His 9th in Brazil was a relative dissapoint compared to his runner-up finish last year.  At J-bay, Flores squared off but didn't find the pits that Dingo found.  The big question now is whether his career will mirror that of Haley Joel Osment or Macaulay Culkin.  Like many child stars, Flores is finding that his appeal is tied up with the cute quotient, which is rapidly eroding with age.  Little Jeremy is STILL the youngest surfer on tour – for the third year running.  (That should tell you how talented he is, no matter what I proceed to write here.)  Jordy Smith is the only other WT surfer  born in 1988 – but with the opposite physique, Jordy is likely to pull an Of Mice and Men and accidently pet both Jeremy and Miky Picon to death, because they’re so soft and adorable.  Perhaps sensing this, Flores has been training hard to add bulk to his slight frame.  Sadly, there is only so much one can do – at best Flores will end up a muscled miniature freak, a French Danny Bonaduce, instead of a pudgy Corey Feldman.

fred

Freddy Patacchia

I feel for Freddy Patacchia.  This poor landing-strip lipped lothario started off the season en fuego, with a 9th and 3rd… but ever since the launch of Insurfnews.com, his results have been plummeting.  Makes sense to me.  Generating daily online surf content is the most soul-draining, mind-numbing task one can toil through in life.  Each day, your deadline is today.  Each day, no matter what you produce, your effort is met with an instant and deranged deluge of criticism.  Doing it as work is questionable; doing it as a hobby is masochistic.  It’s an incubator for self destruction – perhaps that’s why Freddy P pulled the ol’ whitewater spin around on Kai Otton in R1 at J-Bay, snaking Kai to the inside and boogieboarding him off a wave Kai had already stood up on.  In another era, before surfers high-fived during heats, this type of cutthroat hassling was considered the badge of a dominant competitor.  But no longer – only Kelly pulls this shit anymore.  No one else is particularly interested in winning.  To Fred’s discredit, his shameful deceit did not deliver victory.  Karma offered Ottz an 8.5 barrel under Fred’s priority, and Ottz made the semis.  Let this be a lesson to you kiddes:  Hawaiians are not locals everywhere they go, and too much blogging always ends in tears.

kekoa

Kekoa Bacalso

Speaking of great ambassadors for Hawaii: has anyone else noticed that Kekoa Bacalso has the stable, hulking frame of a young James Brown?  Part three of my “Great Americans Who Drink at Work:” James Brown/Kekoa Bacalso.  We’ve already reviewed the excellent work of Alex Trebek and Diane Sawyer.  What? Fuck! Alex Trebek is Canadian.  By the beard of Zeus!  I’ll put myself on that list instead.  I may not be great but I’m certainly drunk… Where was I?  I love you guys!  I really do love you.  Surfblogging is the best goddamn job a drunk can have.  Someday, this will all be worth it.  Jihad will teach my baby the ABC’s of bartending, and the little bugger will fix me drinks.  What? WHAT?  Kookoa who?  Oh write.  Kekoa – that custard-tummy’d macaroon is for REAL!  He looks like the lovechild of Aretha Franklin and a wild boar.  GT calls him Thunder Thighs, and he’s gonna win Rookie of the Year.  Did I mention that James Brown was arrested for attacking his wife with a lead pipe and then shooting at her car? When asked about it in that video he responds by singing to the female interviewer “It’s a man’s world!”  Legendary.  There’s a lesson in here somewhere.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 21-25

reyes

Tim Reyes

Now that his hair has grown out a bit, I’ve finally realized what’s creepy about Tim Reyes: he very closely resembles a ventriloquist’s dummy.  Next time Tim wins a heat and gets interviewed by GT, I’m going to look carefully and determine whether GT is talking out of the side of his mouth with his hand up Timmy’s ass.  I’d say the chances are greater than 75% and that’s discounting the whole ventriloquist theory.  While on the subject of Tim Reyes – enough with Timmy whoring out spots north of Santa Cruz on Surflies.  SC ain’t what it used to be – where has the hatred gone?  Where’s VC when you need him?  Howdy Doody from Huntington has waltzed up here and moved to the top of the pecking order.  What the fuck?  At J-Bay, Reyes laid into a couple keeper turns (ex: grab-rail carve) but in general he looked back-footed and non-definitive in his loss to Mick Campbell.  Timmy made the semis at J-Bay during his youthful pre-injury dream season.  This year, he settled for 17th.

ace

Adrian Buchan

Ace Buchan…  What to say about Ace Buchan?  The poor cracker wrecked his knee in Indo, and his 2009 campaign is most likely done and dust.  Full circle for Ace, who missed most of his rookie season due to injury, only to return at Trestles and get torched by Mr. Robert Kelly Slater.  Last season, Ace got his tepid revenge, beating Slater in the final in France and forcing him to go to Spain for title 9.  Too bad those two have a rivalry going – Buchan is probably the only guy in the Top 45 capable of discussing Nikola Tesla’s theories with Slater.   I’ll leave you with this Jack Handey style Deep Thought, courtesy of Ace Buchan: “I think humans are essentially good, compassionate people that are shaped by their circumstances and environment.  But, you have to try and see that for what it is and find their ‘goodness.’”  Obviously, if Ace still believes humans are “essentially good” he hasn’t read through the comments on PostSurf yet.

barca

Dustin Barca

The last time we checked in on Dustin Barca, my Jewish Surf Writer gang, Da MarmosetPak, had stepped up to face the WolfPak in a battle of the wills, words, and fists.  I had warned Dustin that he best be prepared to be regulated, or at least intelligently verbally rebuked by Phillip Roth.  I emailed Mr. Barca soon afterwards with an interview request, and I haven’t heard back from him yet.  Who’s the scaredy cat now?  It sure ain’t Da MarmosetPak.  If PostSurf had a budget, any budget at all, I’d hire Gob from Arrested Development to fly to Kauai and do the chicken dance in front of Dustin Barca.  Chicken or not, Dustin stepped up in Brazil, besting Drew Courtney, Jordy Smith, and Bobby Martinez on his way to a quarterfinal bout with Parko.  That’s pretty damn impressive, except for the beating Drew Courtney part.  More impressive still, Barca won by using the “When in Rome” offense, surfing more Brazilian than any Brazilian, save Neco Padaratz.  NO ONE surfs more Brazilian than Neco.

bourez1

Michel Bourez

Simply put: Michel Bourez has quit waving his flan-fingered arms in the air, and ever since good things have been happening for him.  It’s the World Tour, not an Ol’ Dirty Bastard show.  You can keep your hands below your head for a minute or two.  My Michel beat Ben Button in Brazil (probably snickered at that flabby relic too, like Karl Lagerfeld laughing at Beth Ditto) and entered some lofty floats into the parade in a close loss to Bede.  At J-Bay, Michel finally regained his giant-killer form, ending Mick Fanning’s world title hopes with a 10 and 8.27.  This is what we expected from Michel Bourez – but not what we expected for the title race.  Fuckin’ seriously?  The race is over in July, for the second year in a row?  This is bullshit, people.  What’s wrong with these pansies?  These days, it seems like most contenders throw in the towel as soon as someone wins the first event on the Goldie.  “No way we can catch them now! They’re a whole event ahead!”

ward

Chris Ward

Just to clarify, I’m not the only one who drinks while I’m working.  We’ve already established that Diane Sawyer drinks on the job.  And Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy, does too.  (Refer to this extremely educational mash-up of Mr. Trebek imbibing and cursing on set.)  I’m not going to come right out and actually say that Chris Ward has a history of competing while intoxicated… but I’m going to strongly hint at the possibility.  Very few surfers on tour are actually more interesting than I give them credit for.  Granted, Wardo doesn’t seem to be either – he isn’t exactly a good conversationalist (I speak from experience).  But if Lost hired me to write the tell-all Wardo biography, and guilty parties were willing to talk, it sure as hell would be more interesting than anything I can write here.  In Brazil, Wardo squared off against T.Knox and got the best of Captain America.  At J-Bay, the Californian veterans met again and Knox got his revenge via a 9.6 drainer.  Wardo surfed brilliantly, but lost anyway in a hum-dinger of a heat.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 26-30

dunn

Ben Dunn

Along with Drew Courtney, Ben Dunn is one of only a handful of Australian competitors who are confirmed to have marsupial pouches. While Mr. Courtney now reportedly keeps Nivea cream in his pouch, Mr. Dunn keeps a heat sheet, a waterproof copy of The Indian in the Cupboard, and ironically, a small Indian.  That said, Dunn hopped into perhaps the second finest performance of his young career, with only his backside tuberiding effort at The Search in Indo surpassing his J-Bay performance.  Dunn’s a bit of a Joe Friday when it comes to surfing by the book – not coincidentally, Dunn was reared in the pouch of his father Martin Dunn, a surf coach specializing in technique.  Dunn’s surfing lacks the emotional spontaneity of  just about any other surfer with emotions.  But when the waves get good, Dunn tends to avoid mistakes – He smoked Tommy Whitaker off a three barrel 9.23, without ever risking anything – during each of his pits, the nose of his board was clearly visible.  But there’s a logical purity to Dunn’s surfing, and his lines at J-Bay were pleasing in the manner of a Chopin etude based on the Golden Ratio.

bottle

Jay Thompson

Oh Bottle.  What could have been.  With two 33rds in a row, Jay Thompson has fallen from 13th to 21st in the ratings, and he could have his injury-replacement wildcard revoked later this year if everyone gets healthy.  What a bitter pill – to lose in a wave-starved R1 affair, only to watch from the stands as J-Bay goes mental for the next few days.  Against Nathaniel Curran, Bottle was one of many surfers who lost due to the myth of Kirra.  With an anomalous sand-bank lining the bricks, every competitor and arm-chair pundit was convinced that epic barrels would be on hand.  Eventually, these cylinders arrived – but not in R1.  Premature optimism suited Thompson and others poorly, as they squandered their few set waves pumping down the line, check-stalling, looking for that mythical Kirra section like an Alzheimer’s patient looking for their keys.  You know what they say about not being able to find your keys:  Not remembering where you left your keys is normal.  It’s time to worry when you don’t remember that you have a car.

davo

Chris Davidson

Two 17ths for Chris Davidson, but flash bulbs of mongrel spirit popping off amidst all that mediocrity.  The finest amongst them may have been Davo’s 9.57 right in Brazil.  It was classic Chris Davidson: winning via the old-fashioned military tactics of surprise and high ground.  Davo simply saw a lip, threw it up there, floated as it flared, and took the long way down with an improbable elevator drop.  Shades of Nicky Wood’s Lacanau landings circa 1991.  The judges didn’t expect to see the battered old alchi land it… but he did, and they scored him accordingly. At J-Bay, Davo won his first heat riding a borrowed Firewire, and lost his second heat after creasing his board and wasting time with the run-around.  Davo isn’t the smoothest of surfers, and in between convict snaps he mostly did the Amy Whinehouse heroin shimmy while pumping down the line.  His frantic, emotional approach is better suited to beach breaks.  Consider him the anti-Ben Dunn.

kerr

Josh Kerr

Josh Kerr has been pigeon-holed by the judges.  Realistically, they know what to expect from Kerr and he suffers from it on both fronts.  They expect big airs, so when Kerr impressively sticks one, the judges usually underscore it, knowing how easy it was for him.  Josh will get a 6 for a big boost, as landing it merely confirms suspicions.  But if Taylor Knox were to do the same air, he'd get an excellent score based on the aforementioned military tactics of surprise and high ground.  Making matters worse, Kerr’s bread-and-butter turns are probably a bit underscored by the judges, as they have Kerr pegged as a surfer who's weak on the rail.  If Kerr isn’t backwards or airborne at some point on a wave, the panel is over it.  Kerr’s recent losses exemplify my theories: in Brazil, he stuck one healthy punt but didn’t build a tract house for it to live in, and lost to the Ginga Ninja.  At J-Bay, Josh stayed put on the speedy walls, making it look like he was always one pump away from launching a massive rotation.  But launch he did not – so he lost.  Catch-22.  What sober write-up.  I need a fresh drink.

dayyan

Dayyan Neve

Dayyan might be having a tough season, with 17ths across the board and a 33rd at J-Bay, but you gotta give the bloated bloke some credit.  He’s definitely accomplished more than any post-op tranny in the history of professional surfing.  No one thought that Pauline Menczer could overcome arthritis to win a world title, but she did that, too.  Now “Dayyan” is my third favorite Diane, behind Diane Arbus and Diane Sawyer.  (Click here to enjoy video of Diane Sawyer reporting the day after Obama’s inauguration, drunk as a skunk.  What a hot mess!)  Anyhoo… Dayyan can fuck shit up at pointbreaks with his Curren/Menczer/Knox hybrid approach.  But in R1, he was another punter who made the mistake of believing the Kirra hype.  Neve lost by less than a point to Aussie wildcard Heath Joske.  If Dayyan had quit hunting the barrel and laid it on rail a few times, he would have made the heat.  I will now return my attention to that tingling sensation in my special place, as I replay video of that drunken vixen Diane Sawyer.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 31-35

curran

Nathaniel Curran

Nathaniel Curran needs a handler.  Enough with the stock-thrusters, stock-cars and Alpine Allstars shorts.  The Fast and The Furious came out like a generation ago.  It’s time for an image reload.  What to do, what to do?  Put this cat on a retro fish, let him grow his hair out, and put him in a Thomas Campbell movie.  Teach him the ukulele.  Three chords will do.  Curran can surf – he’s proved it.  But the kid is way too smooth, conservative and vanilla-frogurt forgettable to be relevant on the World Tour.  What do you get if you subtract "Hawaiian" from Roy Powers? You get a perfect void.  And you get Nathaniel Curran, In the last month, Nathaniel faced Fanning, Perrow, Taj, Thompson, Adriano, and Dingo.  He was clean and tepid against all.  He never embarrassed himself, and never really risked anything, save for a wild moment, when he lost control of his emotions and committed to a freefall float against Adriano.  It won Nathaniel the heat.  The rest of the time, Curran was content to let the wave do the hard work.  When the wave is cooking Supers, that strategy can work.

boal

Tim Boal

Here’s my other theory on Nathaniel Curran: he’s actually passed out in a walk-in-closet, in a villa somewhere in South Africa.  International Man of Mystery Tim Boal lovingly choked him out while stroking his hair and whispering witticisms in French Guianese Creole as he picked lint off his tuxedo jacket.  Then Boal propped Curran up in the bathroom, and carefully studied his face, applying just the right make-up to assume the identity of Nathaniel Curran.  Boal lost out in R1 to Miky Picon with the same lanky, tepid technique applied by Curran.  But Curran made it through, so Tim studied his every move, copied his every mannerism, and surfed in his place. I wouldn’t put it past Tim Boal.  He’s a dangerous man.  Ex-KGB, most likely.  He’s probably working for some Russian oligarch now.  Clearing the way for corporate plundering of foreign nations. Quietly disappearing pesky reporters and environmentalists.  If there is a god, Rasta is next on his hit list.  And when Parko finally holds his World Title trophy up high, in front of a sea of adoring fans, it will really be Tim Boal in disguise, not Parko.

alves

Heitor Alves

The 33rd at J-Bay isn’t surprising.  But the 17th in Brazil will most likely cost Heitor Alves dearly.  Heitor’s string of low results can be attributed to wave droughts.  His attack remains sharp, dripping with orchestrated desperation – Slater gave Heitor the nod for move of the event in Brazil.  Alves is easily the best technical surfer of the 5 sorry cases examined today - he goes through his turns twice as fast as Emslie.  But Alves hasn’t been afforded the same luxuries other competitor’s have – and that’s a decent summation of both 2009 and Heitor’s whole career.  Despite this, Alves usually finds a way to succeed.  Last year, he salvaged a similarly low-rated first half of the season with a 5th at Trestles and consistency down the homestretch.  Alves will need the same type of production this year to stay on tour.
aritz

Aritz Aranburu

Ha! For those of you who thought Aranburu’s Tahitian 3rd was a mere fluke, well, err… actually it appears you were right.  Aritz “The Tits” has followed up his career pinnacle with two straight 33rds.  But goddamned if I don’t love me some Aranburu!  First of all, this weird little fucker tube rides like he’s going over Niagra Falls in a barrel.  He cramps himself in there, throws himself over the ledge, and fuckin’ holds on for dear life.  But he does not hold back.  In his R1 last second loss to Michel Bourez, Aritz held the lead for nearly the whole heat, off a 8.83 two-barrel run through Impossibles.  I thought I was going to get to savor another victory-lap Aritz interview – hearing Atitz on the mic is another reason I love me some Aranburu.  Have you heard this macaroon talk? Aritz delivers his thoughts with the same brilliance of Andy Kaufman’s Latka from Taxi.  Just listen to him: It’s really hard not to like the guy.  Can’t someone just show him a video clip so he can fix that Marty-Feldman-in-Young-Frankenstein style?

emslie

Greg Emslie

I may have finally figured out Greg Emslie:  His surfing is simply as dry as his sense of humor.  As reference, I present this vid of Emslie and Weare putting speed addicts to sleep in Tahiti.  Now I get it!  It’s all a big nod-nod-wink-wink to the fact that Emslie is seemingly the dullest, Wonder Bread motherfucker on earth.  Yes?  No - perhaps the joke is on you -  Emslie is a genius and his art is subtlety.  But every now and then, even the best break character – and for Emslie, he usually cracks when the tour arrives at J-Bay, finally losing focus and mistakenly doing something interesting for a change.   In R1, it was a 7.17 off hacksnaps to down Heitor Alves.  In R2, it was a pit-bull fight-back against Bede Durbidge.  Bede’s rangy approach boxed Greg into a corner, as it was 17.51 to 3.83 in the early going.  But Emslie answered back with a 9.17 off a pit so deep it would have made Deepak Chopra proud.  Bigfoot followed it with a mid-wave Peterson Rosa tribute claim, but soon regained his composure and returned to doing nothing interesting.  And if “nothing interesting” is precisely how you’d describe these last 5 Power Rankings, go leave a note on the ASP site, not here.  Just take a look at the banal flan-footed ass-hats I have to write about.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 36-40

taigo

Tiago Pires

As TurtleGate enters its 26th day, PostSurf has uncovered shocking evidence that Tiago Pires may in fact be the gentle turtle that was raped by Australian deviant Andrew Mooney.  The conspiracy goes deeper than even I anticipated.  Way back in late March 2009, Anthony W. won Comment of the Week for the following:

“Portugal… country of Tigers… country of the pussiest waveriders ever! When waves get bigger they all run away to the safety bays where it’s 2 foot offshore and make faces of someone getting spit out of an 8 foot pipe barrel on a bogging bottom turn. How did Tiago Pires got that Tiger alias? He looks more like a turtle with weird arm positioning. Is the guy’s neck that short or does he tuck in between his shoulders as protection from the real tigers? God, his surfing makes me wanna vomit… looks just like another brazzo from the wrong side of the Atlantic.”

A thorough investigation has revealed that this comment was in fact penned by Anthony Walsh, a noted Australian pro charger.  Mr. Walsh, seemingly a hateful turtle discriminator, hails from the tranquil coast of New South Wales – the SAME STATE in Australia that Andrew Mooney is from.  Coincidence?  I think not.

powers

Roy Powers

This month, Roy Powers had the unique pleasure of just barely beating two of the least stylish surfers to ever don an ASP jersey.  No - sadly Peterson Rosa did NOT come out of retirement.  One can only dream…  Powers instead took down Jihad “The Moist Moose” Khodr at J-Bay, and Aritz “The Tits” Aranburu in Brazil.  Those scalps do not come cheap, my friend.  In the distant future, after the apocalypse, after the Pacific has festered into a putrid pool of Chinamen’s semen and toxic waste, after I’ve finally earned and spent my first dollar of profit from surf writing, ol’ boy Roy will sit around a campfire, beyond Thunderdome, and tell the feral groms about olden times.  Roy will not tell tale of his loss to Fanning in Brazil (3.87 heat total) or his loss to Martinez at J-Bay (7.50 heat total).  No!  Instead, proud pruned Powers will tell his minions “I aranburued Aritz The Tits!  I whipped his simple full-cream ass by .23 of a point!  Now get me a diaper.  I think I soiled myself.”

miky

Mikael Picon

Miky Picon’s stock rose significantly in my book after he verbally abused ASP head judge Perry Hatchett, following a controversial loss to CJ Hobgood in R2.  Needing a 7.18 on his last wave, Picon earned a 7.1, gingerly floating instead of committing to a vertical, English-speaking turn. Picon lost, freaked out, and was fined a cool $1000 for his tired-child tantrum.  Are we witnessing the first stirrings of the next Victor Ribas – will Miky soon be throwing rocks at the judges?  One can only hope.  The ASP is frantically trying to justify itself right now – if Kelly Slater gets his even-dreamier Dream Tour, I can almost guarantee that Mr. Picon will not be on it.  But what Slater fails to recognize is that few things in this world are as endearing as a small, irate foreigner.  You just want to put them in your pocket and then accidentally crush them to death! Like Lennie in Of Mice and Men.

muscroft

Nic Muscroft

Some excellent commentary at the Billabong Pro, as usual.  Luke Egan, a true renaissance man, smoothly transitioned from the role of Tahitian contest director back to the role of Parko’s cheerleader, and then into the role of sports broadcaster.  One of my favorite moments of the webcast was when Egan credited Nic Muscroft with getting a second at Bells to Joel Parkinson.  Alzheimer’s bitch said WHAT now?  I mean, seriously people.  Even my mildly retarded dog knows that wildcard Adam Robertson finished second to Parko at Bells – and this is the same dog who tried to eat a bee today.  Yes, both Muscroft and Robertson are blond, Victorian regularfoots.  But as Muscroft can surely tell you, he has not made any finals recently.  How in custard-fuck can Luke Egan coach Parko to  three victories without being fully aware of who he surfed against in each final?  That’s the surf industry for you… Oh, and Nic Muscroft?  He had the misfortune of watching Kelly Slater’s 4-nines heat from the water… while Slater trampled him.

jihad

Jihad Khodr

I have not personally experienced the miracle of childbirth and parenthood.  All of our friends are getting pregnant as if semen is an airborne pathogen and vaginas are panting dogs.  My 65-year-old uncle, an inveterate bachelor who spent 45 years gambling on football and enjoying life’s finer things, just had his first kid.  Now he’s acting like he invented babies.  Another member of the fuckin’ cult – “I forgot to pull out!  Therefore, I understand the deep mysteries of life in a way that lowly non-breeders like you will never comprehend! Now look at the baby…LOOK AT THE BABY!”  What does this have to do with Jihad “The Moist Moose” Khodr?  Absolutely nothing.  Jihad barely lost to Ben Dunn in Brazil, by .07, and lost to Roy Powers during a restart snooze fest at J-Bay, where he caught his first wave 35 minutes into the heat.  This poor mutant meringue will be off tour soon enough.  And when I finally succumb and have a kid, I’m going to hire Jihad Khodr to be our nanny.  I can’t wait to see it!  The Moist Moose has the bulky grace of a young Jackie Gleason.  Can’t you just picture him, changing a diaper, arms flailing like moray eels, his small, bound feet doing the samba?  When the diaper is pinned, Jihad will raise his arms in triumph, bellow a tremendous Muslim hoot, and do a double-pump fist claim.  Brazilian nannies are worth every penny.

J-BAY POWER RANKINGS: 41-45

drew

Drew Courtney

Remember the final scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when that Illinois Nazi drinks from the wrong Holy Grail, and ends up rapidly aging to death?  That is what it’s been like watching Drew Courtney surf the last three events.  I used to think this tapioca fuckwit was Ben Button, growing old in reverse.  Not so much – seems that Drew’s more of a Lindsay Lohan type when it comes to the ravages of time.  10cc’s of Nivea cream, stat!  This poor bloke looks like a baby’s foreskin. Admittedly, drawing Dane Reynolds doesn’t tend to make one look young and sprightly.  Against Beaver, ol’ Drew unleashed one worthy man-hack, but followed it up with a hula-hooping shimmy as the lip hit his potbelly – right in the spot where Mr. Courtney almost certainly has a pouch.  He should keep his Nivea cream in there.

weare

David Weare

J-Bay was basically a do-or-die event for Saffa Davey Weare.  He died, responded like a poker player with a bad tell, twitching his way down the line against Chris Davidson.  Granted, the poor bloke faced nearly 40 minutes of flatness in a 30-minute heat, and if you’re trying to figure out how that’s possible, think “restart.” Now Weare is just another tough guy with a plethora of 33rds and tattoos.  Speaking of Tattoos: I still can’t believe that chatty-fatty Chris Cote managed to talk a D-grade pro surfer into getting a “transworldsurf.com” tattoo during the Cali Rally. Seriously, Cote?  That’s as despicable as talking the retarded girl from the short bus into giving you a hummer. Ball-licking surfmag editors are bad enough.  D-list pros who gargle surf mag editor’s balls via tribute tattoos? Even worse.

macca

Phillip MacDonald

Arrrr, Macca, I put a hex on thee!  No, really – I think I actually did.  Last time we heard from Phil MacDonald and Drew Courtney, they were whining to Stab about what a mean man I am.  In the course of a short interview, Mr. MacDonald referred to me variously as a “fuckwit,” “twerp,” “dork,” and “two faced prick.”  Oh Phil, you muscley brute!  You had me at fuckwit.  Anyway, back to that Macca/ Ben Button hex: since so generously slandering my name, Hans and Franz have put up nothing but 33rds.  Zero heat wins between them.  With one heat win for the entire season, Macca wishes I would compare him to a He-Man action figure again, at this point – at least there’s a nostalgia market for figurine collectibles.  Macca on the other hand?  You could auction this relic on E-Bay and probably not clear enough shrapnel to buy a schooner of VB.

marlon

Marlon Lipke

Why do we keep talking about the Germanity of Marlon Lipke when he’s basically Portuguese?  Well, I suppose that once you take away the German part, there’s nothing left to fucking talk about.  Pro surfing has become a largely homogenized affair, as stylistic nuance is replaced by technical precision.  Lipke exemplifies the good and bad of this development.  Compared to other members of Euroforce, Lipke’s style is so smooth as to be almost characterless.  At J-Bay, Lipke squared-off nicely and executed textbook backside hooks, free of fault and personality.  Almost makes me feel sorry for Marlon – he’s going out like the android Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner – “I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack hits by Slater from the shoulder at J-Bay. I watched Parko glitter in the darkness in the Bell’s carpark. All those moments will be lost in time like tears in the rain... Time to die.”

stedman

Luke Stedman, Gabe Kling, Neco Padaratz, Michael Jackson, Andrew Mooney, Joel Tudor, Karina Pepperoni, Greg Tomlinson , and The Gudauskas Bros.

Coming to PostSurf, January 2010: CrippleGate.  The World Title race may be the most foregone conclusion since, well, last year's foregone conclusion.  But the World Tour injury wildcard race is heating up, Jerky!  Andy Irons is currently leading the ratings, as he's already been promised one of the three replacement spots.  His injury? He's obese, ostensibly sober, and no fun.  That leaves two spots left for cripples.  Lukey “Lovehandle” Stedman is a shoo-in for one – he finished 11th last year and hasn’t surfed an event in 2009.  Ace Buchan is a shoo-in, too – he pig-fucked his ACL in Indo, and is an actual Top 10 surfer.

That leaves two bonafides out in the cold – Piggy Kling and Neco Padaratz.  Neco is a known steroid abuser and all-around fun guy.  He voodooed his back last year, and could have gotten the injury wildcard for this year, but he decided to rehab further, giving his spot to zee German Marlon Lipke.  Piggy Kling is pretty much triple-pig-fucked – he has a hoof injury, a knee injury, and he's also a certified retard.  AND he’s practically never won a heat.  Neco on the other hand has won multiple ASP events, and he also beat Parko in Brazil last month but somehow lost anyway.  My vote? Boot Steds and Piggy, and give the 3 spots to Andy, Ace, and Neco.  All of those simple bastards have won events.

Tahiti POWER RANKINGS: 1-5

Joel Parkinson

Tahiti Result: 9 Previous Result: 1 ASP Rating: 1

Joel Parkinson can find solace in recent history.  Like Joel, Slater started last year with two wins, only to fall early at Chopes.  Fortunately for Slater, all the other contenders fell early, too.  Same story this year, as Parko’s real rivals (Mick, CJ, and Kelly) dropped the ball.  Instead, two more toothless quasi-contenders emerged from the shadows – Taj Burrow and Bobby Martinez.   Only trouble is, Parko is not Kelly Slater.  So there’s no guarantee he’ll win the next one.  Preserving a big lead is mostly a mental game.  The rest of Parko’s year might play out like a teenager on mushrooms taking a phone call from their grandparents. The internal monologue running like this: “Don’t freak out man, don’t freak out.  Just act normal, do what you’d usually do… wait, what do I usually do?  What does being normal even mean?? Why am I talking to myself? Am I saying this out loud?  Am I licking the phone? Why am I licking the phone?  Are my pants wet? Did I pee on myself? I can’t tell if they’re wet or not.  OH SHIT! I forgot how to breathe, I forgot how to BREATHE!“

Taj Burrow

Tahiti Result: 2 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: 2

From a statistical perspective, Taj Burrow currently has the best chance at challenging Parko for a world title.  Assuming Burrow can drop that one nagging 17th like she’s a clingy girlfriend, he’s sitting pretty with one 3rd and one 2nd.  Add a potential first in Brazil, and we might have a title race on our hands.  Certainly, Taj wants it more than Fanning and CJ – but for that matter so does Adriano, and it doesn’t mean either of them will ever win a world title.  In order to get there, Taj should play to his two key strengths: 1) The judges drink up the vitality in his turns as if it’s virgins’ blood. (Reference that 8.0 Taj got off fin pitches in the quarters). 2) Taj is employing a Bra Boy, MMA fighting-champion as his personal trainer.  So, here’s the plan: If Taj sticks to doing his signture turns, and then has his trainer pull a Tonya Harding/Jeff Gilooly and club Parko in the shins like he’s Nancy Kerrigan… Taj could win the title.

Mick Fanning

Tahiti Result: 9 Previous Result: 5 ASP Rating: 3

When watching Mick Fanning, I’m at times reminded of Tom Carroll’s quest to regain his lost World Title.  When Curren stepped in and took the trophy away from Australia, Carroll re-focused, improving his surfing, dominating the North Shore, and training before training was something pro surfers even did.  For all his effort, Carroll never regained the crown.  He seemed destined to do it, but he threw it all away in 1988 by interfering with Todd Holland at Pipe.  At other times, I’m reminded more of Damien Hardman, who didn’t seem particularly concerned about regaining the crown.  He just kept chipping away, a workman at his trade, and eventually he won his title back, in 1991.  What I’m getting at is this: Mick Fanning could easily win another title, but in order to do so he’ll have to figure out what the motivation is, and he’ll have to figure out if being motivated is even a help at all.

Adriano de Souza

Tahiti Result: 5 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: 5

Speaking of motivation: it’s no secret that Adriano wants it, and he both wins and loses because of it.  After reportedly getting into an altercation with Dustin Barca during a freesurf, Adriano attacked his heat against Barca with sheer aggression.  It was a brave tactic, given Barca’s reputation for exploding instead of thinking things through.  Yes, the heat took place in Tahiti, which is theoretically neutral ground.  But many Hawaiians before Barca have assumed that they’re de facto locals wherever there are tropical barrels.  Judging by Adriano’s performance, he has little regard for his physical safety – and I say that mostly because he repeatedly smashed the lip over dry reef and lost skin because of it.  However, De Souza’s motivation hurt him against Bobby, when he destroyed every scrap in a frenzy while Bobby patiently waited for the two best waves, and won.  Now, any chance at a world title must be forged on a victory in Brazil.

Bobby Martinez

Tahiti Result: 1 Previous Result: 9 ASP Rating: 7

This is a patient man.  He doesn’t win every heat, but in 4 years he’s won 4 events.  It’s taken Damien Hobgood 10 seasons to win four, and Taj is only at 6 wins after 12 years on tour.  Patience delivered Bobby a victory at Teahupoo, just as it’s cost him so many wins in the past.  Think back to Chile ‘07, when Bobby scored a 10 against Mick Fanning, and then sat out back the entire rest of the heat waiting for another bomb… and lost.  Or when Slater beat him in Fiji last year in similar circumstances.  Bobby does not panic.  If the tour is a game of poker, he’s willing to fold time and again, letting bad hands go by, waiting for just the right cards.  This strategy looked like it was going to Aranburu him in the semis, but it did not.  And in the final, it paid off to perfection: Bobby rode 4 waves to Taj’s 10… but Bobby’s first two scores added up to the highest total of the event, and another trophy on his mantelpiece.

Tahiti POWER RANKINGS: 6-10

C.J. Hobgood

Tahiti Result: 5 Previous Result: 5 ASP Rating: 4

Bitter truth: there was a moment in Tahiti, after Joel and Mick had lost, but before Taj had bested CJ, when Hobgood had a clear path to a legitimate world title.  It was Teahupoo, for fuck’s sake!  The last venue on tour in which the cards are clearly stacked in CJ’s favor.  But the moment slipped away, and the opportunity was lost.  As expected, CJ surfed his heats with a keen awareness of what it takes to win at Chopes: pits.  But things fell apart against Taj, as the regularfoot looked more aggressive in the deteriorating conditions.  Throughout his heats, CJ’s cutbacks lacked flow and purpose, as he tacked on Donovan-esque style slouches and two-stage positional finishes.  Fair enough, as the judges weren’t really scoring the cutbacks, anyway – just ask Bobby, who fell almost every time he tried to put it on rail.  But against Taj, CJ’s rail-apathy might have cost him.

Jordy Smith

Tahiti Result: 9 Previous Result: 3 ASP Rating: 6

Really, folks: is it any wonder people laugh at professional surfing? Jordy Smith is supposed to be our Lebron James.  The savoir of the league.  And he’s out there giving interviews about fucking cougars up the ass.  And then following that up with interviews about taking it up the ass.  “I don’t want to go to prison that’s for sure… if that’s what it feels like, I don’t want to go,” Smith told GT.  Oh, how the tables have turned, Jordy.  (And for the record, I’m not sure exactly what kind of rectal trauma Smith suffered, and, unlike GT, I don’t really want to know.)  The fact that the unspecified injury was one of the biggest stories of the event tells you a lot about professional surfing.  The other big story?  Josh Kerr getting stung by a wasp on the tip of his penis.  For god’s sake, let’s focus on actual surfing for a moment.  Smith looked much improved in his first heat, but against Adriano, he went into desperation mode after getting clipped on his opener.  There were like 20 minutes left, and Jordy only needed a 4.  He didn’t need to start launching rodeos.

Taylor Knox

Tahiti Result: 5 Previous Result: 9 ASP Rating: =10

For many fans, Taylor Knox is an eternal disappointment.  But consider this: how fucking shocked would you be to see Chris Brown or Vince de La Pena take down Parko at Chopes?  Don’t lie – your eyeballs would started bleeding.  I rest my case.  The fact that Knox is still here, still competing, and sometimes winning, is an amazing achievement.  The last few years, Taylor has turned into a bit of a veteran big game player.  Kinda like Robert Horry back in the day. Too bad surfing isn’t a team sport – but in a way it is, as Taylor came off the bench for Team Rip Curl, took out Parko, and cleared Fanning’s path to the basket.  TK does his best surfing against the surfers he respects the most.  Think Taylor’s losing effort at Trestles last year against Slater, or his winning, super-heat against Parko in R1 at J-Bay.  He’s still relevant.

Tom Whitaker

Tahiti Result: 5 Previous Result: 9 ASP Rating: 8

Incidentally, Tom Whitaker is another big game player.  Foolish pundits expressed shock when Whits took down Fanning in R3.   More discerning observers might have remembered Slater’s loss to Whitaker in dredging, shifty Mundaka barrels last year, or Slater’s loss to Whitaker at Bells the year before that.  Funny, really – that hat at Bells helped open up Fanning’s shot at his first world title.  Now, Whitaker has blocked Fanning’s path to the title instead.  Although he kept cool versus Fanning, Whits panicked against Aritz motherfuckin’ Aranburu.  Tommy tried to launch into a Jordy Smith upside-down flip thing, instead of sticking to his strengths.  The result: a deep and painful aranburuing.  Regardless, Whits has tip-toed his way back to the VIP room following a shocking 2008 campaign.  Sneaky bastard.

Aritz Aranburu

Tahiti Result: 3 Previous Result: 33 ASP Rating: 19

This is some Susan Boyle shit, right here.  I suspect the ASP marketing guys have been watching enough reality television to finally understand what sells in 2009.  The masses need heroes they can relate to.  They need aspirational entertainment; ugly ducklings transformed into princesses.  Enter the hunchback of Zarautz, Spain, whose unfortunate style translates extremely well when pig-dogging backside barrels.  (The trouble comes for Aritz when he pumps down the line frontisde, somehow in the same pig-dog stance, like a crab running sideways.)  But in left pits, Aritz proved his worth to a jaded surf world by sidelining Dane and Kelly.  I just hope their mutual sponsor, Quiksilver, doesn’t begin the cuts by firing Aranburu for insubordination. Maybe Aritz should get plastic surgery and implants now, in a bid to extend his 15 minutes…  And, for the record, I am now going to pretend I saw this coming.  Yes, poor Aranburu has been mercilessly slandered in the Power Rankings - but in his very first write up, I recognized that his backside tube skills made him look like a "special" third Irons Brother, who had been chained up in the basement for twenty years.

Tahiti POWER RANKINGS: 11-15

Freddy Patacchia

Tahiti Result: 17 Previous Result: 3 ASP Rating: 9

I’m worried that Freddy P has lost his edge after reportedly having that kid with Bruce.  Where’s the hatred?  Patacchia is full of aloha lately, which is really incongruous coming from a Hawaiian professional surfer. For instance: Fred nearly landed on his opponent Josh Kerr in their heat after doing a flying kickout.  But instead of chastising the haole for almost getting underneath him, Fred apologized, and then promptly lost a paddle battle with Kerr.  I’d like to think Fred wants to make the Top 10, but it’s hard to back him when he’s writing things like this on his website:
“What’s so bad about finishing in the mid twenties? That’s a solid accomplishment, but the industry doesn’t care and the ASP doesn’t care… Fucked up.”  Perhaps a bit more bastard desire would have seen Fred through to the final against Bobby, repeating their rookie year.  Instead nice-guy Fred squandered an opportunity to capitalize on his Australian success.

Damien Hobgood

Tahiti Result: 9 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: =10

Everyone wants to be someone else.  Fred P is a journalist, Ace Buchan writes children’s books, Kieren Perrow makes baby clothes, Andy Irons wants to be Bubbles from The Wire… and now Damien Hobgood wants to be a famous director.  See video here.  More Ferrell than Scorcesse, but still… when Damo says “I piss excellence,” that’s actually kinda true, at Teahupoo at least.  Both Hobgoods are about as close to a sure bet as you can get.  (Comic Book Guy is screaming at his monitor right now, “Please!  Are you completely ignorant to the fact that Damien lost to Danilo Costa in R4 in 2003?”)  Incidentally, Comic Book Guy is right – which means that Damo’s loss to Aritz is not really a first, but instead a bump in the road for a past champion.  Hey, Bobby lost to Picon at Chopes last year, and won the comp this year.  But after a decade on tour, it’s valid to question how many more opportunities at the podium Damo will get.

Michael Campbell

Tahiti Result: 3 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: 16

Loneliness is compelling.  It’s a motivator.  Jed Smith, reporting for Stab, described The Ginga Ninja’s Tahiti campaign as follows: “Mick Campbell had spent his time on Tahiti in solitude. He would eat alone, stay alone, and twice a day pack his boards into his hatchback rental and head east or west along the coast, to surf alone. After fixing his back-up board to a floating buoy, Mick Campbell paddled out for his semi-final and lost to Taj.”  It’s almost enough to make you cry!  Taj makes enough bong-dollars to hire friends to travel and caddy for him.  Meanwhile, this poor ginge’s only friend is a buoy. When best-mate Danny Wills dropped off the tour, many predicted that Campbell would quickly follow suit.  But like the severed man in a melancholy divorce, it seems that Mick has been forced to retrace the optimism of his youth.  Misery loves company.  Without company, we are sometimes forced to stop being miserable, and start being productive instead.

Kieren Perrow

Tahiti Result: 9 Previous Result: 5 ASP Rating: =10

As the surfer’s rep, Kieren Perrow has surely been wallowing in a trough of fetid complaints following the implementation of the new single-elimination format.  Many surfers, bitterly opposed to the change, have claimed that the ASP did not involve them in the decision making process.  “None of the surfers were informed and if the surfer’s representatives knew, they didn’t pass it on,” Dayyan Neve told Stab.  “It’s a breakdown in communication somewhere. Someone is to blame.”  Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that many tour competitors probably see surfer’s rep Kieren Perrow as that “someone.”  To make matters worse, Perrow was seeded into R2, which must have made the situation even more uncomfortable.  Perhaps distracted by the orgy of indignation, Kieren barely beat Tim Reyes in his first heat (winning on a countback) and then got smoked by Taj in his next heat.

Bede Durbidge

Tahiti Result: 17 Previous Result: 17 ASP Rating: =14

Another 12-bars of the Runner Up Blues for Bede.  In Tahiti, Durbidge’s problem was his second seed, as much as anything else.  It drew him Andy Irons.  Durbidge countered AI’s barrels with some white boy Rice Krispie snap crackle pop.  But he never found a pit to go with his 7.5 keeper.  One of the lessons for Bede in the bitter pill that is 2009: Durbidge is far more dangerous as a darkhorse.  This guy has the confidence to be a title contender, but perhaps putting pressure on himself is making things worse, not better.  It kind of reminds me of Gary “Kong” Elkerton – another confident Aussie who tried to work and will his way to a world title.  All it got him was runner-up finishes.  And now he’s coaching Bede.  Is Kong really the best guy to be giving advice on what it takes to win a World Title?  “I tried this for 10 years, it never worked, so, um, maybe do the opposite.”

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