Blurs of gold…
36 hours ago, there were still 36 surfers left in the 2014 Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal. Nobody had lost yet, not even Raioni Monteiro (not to single him out but the guy hasn’t made a heat all year). Two long days and 38 heats later and we’ve crowned ourselves a champion. An event champion, that is. A World Champion? Not so much. The 2014 World Title race is going to Hawaii and it’s packing more than a few pairs of boardies and an aloha shirt with it — Gabriel Medina will need a result or else Mick Fanning or Kelly Slater can burgle the crown. Couple that with murmurs of Jamie O’Brien getting a wildcard (subsequently facing Gabe) and we’ve reached ghost chili pepper levels of pure spice. But that’s all destination-oriented stuff. Let’s talk journey.
The noon rounds…
Middles are mostly boring. The core of the earth is said to be a chunk of wifi-less iron. The middle seat of an airplane has neither the pleasure of the window nor the luxury of the aisle. Halftime in football is a drag — but remember that time a tit flopped out during halftime at the Superbowl? Maybe middles aren’t always such a lullaby. The mid rounds sure weren’t today. John John got a 10. Mick built momentum. Brett Simpson was there! It was all grand, and here are four men who couldn’t crack the semis but still deserve a golf clap for their efforts.
Adam Melling: On the biggest lay day, I watched Melling get tube after tube after Fine, he doesn’t surf that much like Mick tube while other guys struggled to even make it out the back. Today he got tube after tube after Fuck, actually he does surf like Mick tube and romped all the way to the quarters. He’s still a long way from re-qualifying via the WCT, but he’s sitting pretty on WQS. And good for him.
Adriano de Souza: He’s hurt. I saw him hobbling around the competitors area pre and post heat. But I don’t think he’s ever said the word “die” in his life nor does he even know what it means. Like, whenever someone died when he was younger, his parents probably just told him that they went somewhere else to go win something else. He is 136 pounds of cardiovascular existence!
Filipe Toledo: He put 15.00 points on Kolohe Andino in the first heat of the morning, then 14.23 on Michel Bourez in Round 5 — but it didn’t spark into the flame he’d need to beat Mick in the quarters. Still, a 5th isn’t a bad showing for the youngest guy on tour and the result helped bump him a little further away from the bubble.
Josh Kerr: Kerrzy could practically taste his first WCT victory at Margaret River earlier this year and he was doing everything right to put himself back on the podium for another shot at it. Uh, until he lost.
3. More. Heats…
Hot hot heats. Nobody told the Portuguese sun that it was supposed to be diving into wintertime and beads of sweat dripped down so many foreheads today. We’d account at least 30% of those beads to the surfing in the semis and the final. We wouldn’t account any of the Bedes to it though — he lost to Jordy in Round 5.
First up, John John Florence VS Jordy Smith. The re-re-rematch. Jordy won their final at Lowers, John won their semi in France, Jordy won their semi here today. The big man caught a few early waves and sent John to comboland within minutes. Then the ocean decided to stop working after that and the heat turned into a heap of nothingness. The loss spoiled John’s chances at the 2014 Title and he was visibly upset afterwards. He wanted it. And more importantly, he believed he could do it. While he won’t carry a crown into 2015, he will carry a lot of momentum and a bulk of new knowledge.
Then it was Kai Otton and Mick Fanning. You know how some people are bad at things? Like someone might have poor motor skills and they’ll be bad at handwriting. Or someone is just inherently bad at parallel parking. Mick Fanning is bad at losing. He’s awful at it. And he beat Kai Otton in a heat that looked a whole lot like the back half of John and Jordy’s — good waves were few and far between. And so Mick went to the final and Kai proved that his win here last year wasn’t a fluke.
Mick VS Jordy it is. Or Mick VS Jordy it was. Mick took Jordy’s move and got two early waves — one of which was a 9.00 for a backside tunnel. Turns out, that was all he needed because Jordy only stood up once the entire heat. Mick had an interesting air about him all day. The guy knows how to turn that acute focus on and off better than anyone. And you can see the sizzle in his eyes. Gabriel Medina, if you want the Title this year, do not look him in the face.
They say that tomorrow…
Is Pipeline really a month and a half away? —Brendan Buckley
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Final Results:
Winner: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.50
Runner-Up: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 7.67
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Semifinal Results (1st to Final, 2nd finishes equal 3rd):
SF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.64 def. John John Florence (HAW) 7.27
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.17 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 8.40
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Quarterfinal Results (1st to Semifinals, 2nd finishes equal 5th):
QF 1: John John Florence (HAW) 17.83 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 11.83
QF 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.27 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.23
QF 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.80 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.17
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.07 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 10.10
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 5 Results (1st to Quarterfinals, 2nd finishes equal 9th):
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 7.50 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 5.90
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.60 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.63
Heat 3: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.83 def. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 8.33
Heat 4: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.23 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 7.30
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 4 Results (1st to Quarterfinals, 2nd and 3rd to Round 5):
Heat 1: John John Florence (HAW) 17.27, Adam Melling (AUS) 13.96, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.03
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 17.26, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.66, Brett Simpson (USA) 9.00
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.10, Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 6.66, Michel Bourez (PYF) 2.03
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.74, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.76, Kai Otton (AUS) 3.60
Moche Rip Curl Pro Portugal Round 3 Results (1st to Round 4, 2nd finishes equal 13th):
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.66 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.93
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.83 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 8.83
Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 18.77 def. Dion Atkinson (AUS) 13.27
Heat 4: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 11.07 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 6.67
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.90 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 2.83
Heat 6: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.50 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.06
Heat 7: Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 12.00 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 6.30
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.27 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.07
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.10 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.50
Heat 10: Kai Otton (AUS) 18.20 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 6.00
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 15.00 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.17
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.10 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.33