We usually see the girls surf when the tide is too big or the swell is too small or the wind is just a pain in the ass. We usually see them surf after the best men in the world surf in the best waves. It's an issue of opportunity and comparison. Freesurfing before the comp each morning, I've had the pleasure to watch these girls do exactly what they did today. They're all out there, before sunrise, practicing in better waves than the ones they'll surf in competition. Working hard. Laying rail.
But we send the girls out in subpar conditions — and consequently watch them struggle — then argue it's OK to send the men out in better waves. I've done it. You've done it. The ASP habitually does it. It's like comparing 100-yard dash times — except the girls have to run in soft sand. But not today. Today at the 2014 Roxy Pro, the girls ran on the track and they ran fast, making history as they blew through the tape at the finish line.
But first, a few good men
Kolohe Andino…was the Kolohe Andino we love today. In a contest that's rewarded rail work, he took to the air and made our ears perk up. And when the score came in low for an impressive air-reverse, he got to work with clean, powerful rail work and upset local staple Bede Durbidge.
Miguel Pupo…showed up four minutes before his heat and faced off against good friend and team/roommate Alejo Muniz. Miggy linked some strong, graceful backhand snaps to win the heat and the rights to the top bunk tonight.
Jadson Andre…showed us, and Sebastian Zietz, that his surfing is new and improved — now with more backhand!
Adam Melling…is tired of being called the poor-man's Mick Fanning so he put on a rich, rail-driven performance to defeat Matt Wilkinson. He'll cash his check against CJ Hobgood next.
Carissa Moore…was the prettiest of them all. But, attainable-pretty. Not like a perfect-10 or anything. But so close! In her Round 3 heat against Malia Manuel and Pauline Ado, Carissa dropped a 9.6 and a 9.9 in the best heat of her career. Go look at the heat analyzer if you didn't see it live. These waves would have gotten her through a lot of men's WCT heats.
Steph Gilmore…has more style in the water than she does on land, and that's saying a lot. You should see her walk into a room. She makes her presence felt. Nikki Van Dijk, Courtney Conlogue and Paige Hareb all felt her presence today, as she flowed between barrels and turns like it was a choreographed dance.
Courtney Conlogue…might be my new favorite surfer. Her turns were aggressive and clean, she rarely bobbled, and nobody — not nobody — thought she was coming out of that one tube. She'll face Steph in the first heat of the Quarters.
Lakey Peterson, Tyler Wright and nearly all the rest of them…didn't squander the opportunity given to them. The energy in the water, on the beach, and in the competitor's area was electric. Today was a big step toward equal rights for women surfers, and with Fiji on the schedule this year, let's hope for some equal lefts, too.
They say that tomorrow…
The boys are back in town. They’ll be making a 6:30 a.m. call for a potential 7:15 a.m. start. We’ll be on the tweeter @surfingmagazine to keep you posted in case we’re wrong…which we were yesterday. Sorry about that.