John John Florence Makes Flips Seem like Air-Reverses, Gabriel Medina Has Almost Won the Title Already, and the Laurie Towner Doco
COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING
Nine Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was September 14, 2018
1. John John Florence Doesn't Need The WSL To Be The Biggest and Best Thing In Surfing
I'm sorry for saying that, WSL, I really am. But it's true. I mean, look, in the past week the WSL had a CT competition in a pool for the first time in modern pro surfing history, but the biggest news of those 7 days is this here clip where Taj Burrow posted on Instagram saying it was the best surfing he has ever seen. The pool is nothing to sniff at, it was a big freaking deal worth thousands of words of analysis and thought and speculation of what it means for surfing, but then John John can release a six minute clip called Space, and we're all brought back to the simple basics of surfing that haven't changed since we first watched our favourite surfers on rewound VHS tapes... we just really like our favourite surfers doing mindblowing shit set to some music. John John gave us that this week, and despite being injured and not able to compete for World Titles on modern surfing's biggest stage, he can still take centre place in the spotlight of world surfing. I'm not sure anyone else on the CT has that power right now. Not even Gabriel Medina (and I'm Gabby's biggest fan). What a freaking star John John is. Actually on second thought, Steph has that power. Steph can do this too, in her own way. Steph and John John... surfing in the modern era is so freaking good, don't ya reckon?
2. Gabby and Carissa Won The Surf Ranch Pro...
And now the Title is Gabby's to lose. Sure, Gabriel Medina is coming second to Filipe Toledo on the ratings as we go into the last three events of the season, but if we look back to as close as just last year for results in those events: Medina won France. Medina won Portugal, and Medina came 5th at Pipe. Want to know Filipe Toledo's results for those three events last year? Last. Last. And, ahh, last. Ouch! Take into account that Medina has finalled at Pipe twice, has won a World Title before, has won a triple crown, and also has no problem destroying the dreams of anyone in front of him, can you see any other possibilty than Medina winning this thing?
Toledo, to his credit, finished second in the Wave Pool and has year on year made minor improvements in every location his surfing could have been criticised for being weak in the past, so he might yet surprise us through Europe and at the season climax of Hawaii. But ahh, tough task in taking down Medina (and to a lesser extent, third placed Julian Wilson who is as strong as hell in the final three events, too) on his way to a first World Title.
Carissa Moore took out the ladies' side of the event with World No. 1 Steph Gilmore notching second, inching herself further away from Lakey Peterson in persuit of the 2018 title.
It's interesting to note that the first and second place finishers of the first ever Surf Ranch Pro mirror exactly the same results of the WSL's test event – the Future Classic – 12 months ago. Medina and Moore winners, Steph and Filipe in second. I'm not sure what the take is from that info. Is it that when it comes to this type of wave, as small perfect lefthander and righthander, with no other variables getting in the way, Moore and Medina are unequivocally the best surfers in the world? Let's say yes.
3. Watch This Excellent ABC Doco on Laurie Towner
Props to Laurie Towner, forever. But also props to Marcus Thompson from the ABC for producing this wonderful little documentary on Laurie Towner's career. It features the talking heads of Vaughan Blakey, Sean Doherty, Jed Smith and Ronnie Blakey, and looks directly at the impact surfing's economic crash of the early 2010s had on the careers of uber-talented surfers like Laurie Towner. – 12 stars.
4. Soli Bailey Is Surfing In A Wetsuit
I happened to be in the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre the other day, and working in the gym was none other than Soli Bailey. He glowed in the sort of way that only high level athletes and movie stars seem to glow. God it made me feel unfit and unhealthy. Anyway, in promotion of O'Neill's newest wetsuit line, the Hyperfreak Series, here is Soli ripping and getting sick little barrels in beautiful slow motion. Can't wait till this guy gets on the CT. It'll happen.
5. Taj, Creed, Griffin, Shaun Manners and More Score West
Billabong are also in full wetsuit promo land at the moment for their new Furnace Revolution wetsuit range, which is good news for us, cause it means we get clips of Taj Burrow, Griffin Colapinto, Italo Ferreira, Shaun Manners, Creed McTaggart, Dakota Walters and Kai Hing all going mental in West Aus.
6. Rasta In Wajung
In the most beautiful surfing clip you'll see this week, Rasta stars in a Nathan Oldfield masterful short for The Surfer's Journal called Wajung. I'm not going to write a better intro to this clip than the one Oldfield had on his vimeo page for this. So I'll just post it here:
"'Wajung' is the name given to the bottlenose dolphin by the Arakwal People, the traditional custodians of this region of Bundjalung Country on the Far North Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Wajung can live for over fifty years and they typically live as a community as residents along a particular stretch of coast. As a result, they know the local seascape intimately.
Wajung are an important totem for Saltwater People. Wajung give messages about relationships between clan members, create links between ancestors and the past and also help to connect people with places and events in Country.
There are many stories of Wajung and Saltwater People communicating and interacting with one another, including cooperative fishing practices, sharing resources together and participating in mutual play in the sea."
7. Kael Walsh In Obsolete
18 year old West Aussie Kael Walsh gets more impressive every time we see him. Compact some highlights of him in some juice, doing some big ol’ airs, shot really well, thrown in black and soundtracked by a Nirvana classic down to under three minutes and you have an absolute thumper of a surf clip. More more more!
8. Meet Easkey Britton
Easkey Britton is a surfer, author and PHD holder who's "the first Irish woman to be nominated in the WSL Big Wave Awards", I dare say she's probably the first person with a PHD to do that too. Here she appears in an award winning poetic short called A Lunar Cycle. Sheesh it's been a good week for beautiful surf clips.
9. The Best of Dane From the Last 3 Years
Not sure what the motivation was, but this week Dane Reynolds' filmer Mini Blanchard went through his archives and cut together the best clips he's shot of Dane from 2015 to 2018. What a legend! Thanks, Mini! He says: "These clips have appeared in Kai Neville's CLUSTER, Dane Reynolds' CHAPTER 11, and FORMERS' PREMIUM VIOLENCE, CONTROLLER CRUX and COPACETIC."
One last thing...
Did you hear that digital radio station Double J released their top 50 Australian albums of the 90s today? Powderfinger's Internationalist won out the top spot. Which reminded me of one of Powderfinger's most top moments: the beginning of Sabotaj. What a movie!
And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.
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