We could blabber on for 300 words about Kolohe's massive slob today, or the way Gabriel Medina looks absolutely out for blood…or we could let someone else do the blabbering. Somebody who was in the event today, somebody who watched all the heats and then had himself a heater in the late afternoon. That somebody is Matt Wilkinson [who defeated Josh Kerr in Round 3], and was kind enough to give us a recap in his POV. Take it away, Wilko… –Beau Flemister
Best heat of the day?
Wilko: The Bede and Ace heat was pretty mental. They went absolutely H.A.M. and Ace started off sooo solid. But then for Bede to come back from that…is pretty impressive. Then Gabe went mental in his heat, which was amazing. I think those were the best two heats of the day.
Strangest call of the day?
Mmm, this morning there was a really fun looking right on a bank and for some reason they [the comp directors] put the site on the next bank over and then said we couldn't surf the right, so we were all going, "Whaaaat's going on here?…" But then they ended up letting us surf the right after a few heats. That was a little bit weird and confusing.
Best maneuver all day?
I didn't actually see Kolohe's punt in person, but I saw the replays of it after. It was definitely the best thing I saw.
Toughest guys to beat out there right now?
Mick's probably the toughest guy to beat at every event. [laughs] And I think he proved that today. He had every chance of losing and then dropped a 9 with like 10 seconds to go. That was incredible. Gabe's looking super gnarly, no matter what kind of conditions are gonna come our way. He's deadly. Who else…Owen's ripping…but that kinda sounds bad because I have both Gabe and Owen in my next heat, so you know what — they're both blowing it, f–k it. [laughs]
This happened to you yesterday, but is it tough when you know you've got a heat at the end of the day when the tide's fat and wind might be iffy? How do you prepare for that?
Usually, I'm kinda like, "Oh well, whatever," but this year, me and Micro [Glen Hall] teamed up and decided to really stay on top of the tides and always know what's gonna be happening. The tides change so much, so it can go from an out-the-back left bank to a shorey little right really quickly. The tides are like 3 meters. So we've been trying to surf on similar tides to what our heats would be, or at least be down there to watch it and study the banks. He's really helped me to notice some things, too, and where to find some sneaky banks to sneak off to.
What's the board situation like for a place like Hossegor — are guys riding similar boards today as they were the past two days when it was pumping?
I was riding a 6'2" yesterday, which is two inches bigger than what I normally ride. I think I had a shocker because I brought over eight shortboards and, like, one step-up and I think a step-up makes a big difference on a bigger day like yesterday. There's so much water moving around out there when it's bigger, so it can be hard to get in the spot because of all the rips and that huge current running down the beach. That extra foam and few inches can really keep you in the right place, or at least get you out the back before a huge set lands on your head and pushes you in.
Any thoughts on Peter Mel's scarf?
[laughs] Yeah, what's he thinking? I dunno, when in Europe I guess. I mean, I really can't talk — I wear some weird shit.