The Winners and Losers From The Hurley and Swatch Pros Trestles

Jordy Smith’s Ninja Turtle claim and Pete Mel are the big winners.

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Winner: Brazil

Men’s Champ! Women’s Champ! And on the same day! Is that the first time that has ever happened at an event for Brazil? It would have to be. We could also say that God was a winner too because he/she/they were the first to be thanked by both Filipe and Silvana for their respective victories. A formidable event for God, who would be almost as valuable to have in your team as Glenn Micro Hall.

Winner: Filipe Toledo

Filipe is the best competitive surfer in the world right now and should be the no.1 challenger for the World Title too (but he isn’t). At Trestles he proved once again he is relatively unbeatable on rippable rights, never losing a heat. He had to face  bigger, stronger, scarier opponents like John John Florence and Jordy Smith, and beat them like it was nothing at all. He’s now the only surfer on tour with two wins, but still he sits as an outside chance due to not winning in Snapper which should never have happend,, getting a 13th in Brazil, which should never have happened, and getting himself banned in Brazil. which maybe shoud have, I dunno. Filipe has given himself the slimmest of chances in 2017, he basically needs to win every event that’s left on the schedule. At Trestles, he completed that first step.

Winner: Silvana Lima

Yeah, no duh. But this is a significant and brilliant victory for the most underdoggiest underdog on either of the men’s and women’s tours. On her second comeback, and one that she has had to fund by reportedly selling her own house, Silvana validated the sacrifices she’s had to make by claiming a historic victory. At Trestles, Silvana had a ridiculously high heat average, the only tome she slipped below a 16 point heat total was in her slowish Round 1 heat where she scored a two wave total of 14.30. Her opponents in that heat? Steph and Carissa, nine World Titles between them, and she won it anyway. In fact, she never lost a heat all event. As commentator Ronnie Blakey remarked during the broadcast, there’s a much less academic reason why this victory was huge for Silvana. “The cash!” Relatively sponsorless, the win bags her $60,000 US and keep her rolling on through to Europe. It will also pay for a tattoo of a train that’s set to go next to the Bells trophy on her thigh that honours her 2009 Rip Curl Pro win. Classic!

Loser: All the Female World Title Contenders

Talk about a missed opportunity. The big four in the race dropped like flies at this event. And with the surf being pretty clean, albeit slow, skate rampy Lower Trestles, there’s really nowhere to lay the blame but at themselves. Tyler Wright went out in Round 4. Steph and Sally lost out in the Quarters. And Courtney Conlogue, with all her opponents knocked out and the opportunity to take control of the rankings sitting right in front of her, went down in the semis to a sophomore surfer who’d never even been in a final before. Which brings us to…

Winner: Keely Andrew

Hells yeah, Keely Andrew! The Sunshine Coaster had a roller coaster of an event, taking down the World Champ Tyler Wright in Round 1, scoring the lowest heat total of the event in Round 3, bouncing back to destroy Sage Erickson with Carissa Moore level surfing posting two 9s in her Quarterfinal heat against US Open winner Sage Erickson. And then she faced Courtney Conlogue in the semis, and somehow smoked her, perhaps riding the will of the three Australian World Title contenders who’d been knocked and were forced to watch their fates go down between these two. It was huge. Keely proved the Swatch Pro to be the underdog’s event, it was a breakthrough result for her, and perhaps even one for pro female surfers not backed by the big sponsors in general.

Loser: Julian Wilson

All is right, Julian Wilson is in the Title Race. Before Trestles, his last three results went: Quarterfinals, semifinals, and a win, in that order. Trestles was a slight step back for Julian, however, losing in Round five to Kanoa Igarashi. If Julian is to win the Title, and he can, he needs to do better than ninth place finishes. Especially in an organised line-up like Trestles and against an opponent he could bully all day in Kanoa Igarashi. The good news for Julian is that of the three events left he has won two of them, and his record at France is by no means awful either. Julian Wilson is now Australia’s no.1 competitive surfer, certainly our best chance at a Men’s World Title in 2017, and probably our best chance at a Men’s World Tile for the next half decade, really.

Winner: Jordy Smith

Having priority in the final was the undoing of Jordy, who had surfed a brilliant event and didn’t really do anything wrong in the final either. Waiting over 20 minutes for a wave worthy of a score left Jordy surfing a 15 minute heat, while Filipe was able to pick off mediocre waves and try and force excellent rides out of them. His strategy to wait wasn’t that wrong either. They both played it right, just differently, and it was fascinating viewing. Like watching 100 duck sized horses do battle with one horse sized duck. A hypothetical battle where the ocean would decide the victor.

But the confidence and poise of Jordy to sit for over 20 minutes, wait through the rapturous cheers of the fans on the beach, and then drop a 9 on the one wave he surfed, leaving him with just a 6.67 needed to get him the win, well, it was World Champ like. But Mother Nature this time chose the 100 duck sized horses.

But second is a great result in a World Title year. And most importantly, it’s a better result than John John. If you were to put who finished higher at each event between Jordy and his biggest obstacle for the Title, Jordy comes out on top by as much as four events to two (and two ties) after his second place finish at Trestles. In fact the last time John John finished higher than Jordy in an event was all the way back at event 2 in Margaret River. Strong.

Winner: Jordy’s Ninja Turtle Claim

You might not like claims. You might not like them performed by Jordy… but this Ninja Turtle/Wolverine/whatever it was claim that Jordy nailed in his quarterfinal was a fresh contender for the greatest claim of all time. On the ropes against Frederico Morais, down and needing a score with 6 minutes to go, Jordy surfed the house down and celebrated with a powerful, angry, yet funny move that’s up there with Andy’s shotgun. Bravo, Jordy. Bravo!

Winner: The Men’s World Title Race

I know we talk about how great it is that there are five in the title race. How diverse! How wide! How close! etc. But a Title race is better when it’s just two surfers. It makes for a better story. Head to head. John McEnroe v Bjorn Borg. Ali v Frazier. Slater v Irons. Good v Evil. Cats v Dogs. At Trestles, the Men’s Title race became narrower, more refined, and in doing so, a much more entertaining story. Right now, if you adjust the ratings to drop out the surfers’ lowest scores, Jordy Smith and John John Florence sit on 40,100 and 39,900 points respectively: A bee’s willy. And if Jordy and John John were to meet in the final, the winner would be the world no.1. No other surfers can boast that. Sure, Julian, Wilko, Owen, Adriano, and even Filipe are shooting for it too, but they’re shooting from a distance. Let’s not kid ourselves, in 2017 the fight is Jordy Smith vs John John Florence, and that’s a pretty good bout we’ve all got tickets for.

Winner: The Waves

Wasn’t it meant to be absolutely awful? Almost unrunnable-levels of badness? With our expectations lowered, Trestles, while sometimes a little slow, was an absolute joy to watch, and what looks like a dream for us great unwashed kooks to imagine surfing with just one other surfer out, a milk butter dream.

Loser: Kolohe Andino’s Locker

The cameras were live on Kolohe, walking to his locker while he waited for the score after his Round 2 heat with Jadson Andre. He was putting his board in it when it was finally announced that his last wave was a 5.33, not the 5.77 he needed to advance to Round 3. Kolohe had just found out that he would be leaving the event with a stone cold 25th. His reaction was a frozen calm. Dejected, sure. But in a noble, dignified way. He stood tall, back straight, head up, as he digested the information. Where was the blow up? Not this time, it seemed. Until, yep, it was there once again. Kolohe gloriously unleashed his fist on to the back wall of his locker repeatedly. Golden.

Winner: Kolohe Andino

Yes, he didn’t do well. Actually, he had a shocker. But as the event was about to start Kolohe announced he’d be donating his Trestles winnings to hurricane relief efforts. And that is commendable shit from the young Californian and something that should be applauded. Good onya, Kolohe.

Loser: Matt Wilkinson

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a little piece right here about how after deducting the two worst event results of the World Title contenders, it was still actually Matt Wilkinson who was World No.1 and best placed to go for the World Title. There was one proviso though, he couldn’t afford bad results. And at Trestles, Wilko got a bad result – a 25th, his second of the year. Wilko has never been past the third round of Trestles. He needs to fix that if he’s to figure in legit World Title calculations next year, which is something we all want. The amount of improvement he’s shown in the last two years proves it’s not even close to being beyond him.

Winner: Adriano’s post heat interviews

Did you see these? Amazingly stoic. So much drama coming out of such little reaction. It was like Rosy Hodge was being forced to interview a statue. After three 13ths in a row, Adriano was on a mission at Trestles, and it was cartoonishly entertaining to watch when he was forced to get on the microphone. Legend.

Loser: The Re-Surf

When Kanoa Igarashi half went for a wave, not allowing Mick Fanning the choice to go for it or not, priority should have been awarded to Mick but wasn’t. Kanoa ended up getting the next one, a bomb, and surfed it to a 9, the best wave of their Round 3 heat. The heat was reviewed after the fact, and it was decided to be surfed again the following day. So let’s say it: No more re-surfs please, Mr. WSL! If you screw up the call, you wear it. Sporting events make the wrong call all the time. And they don’t get to recall it… actually, they do. Tennis’s magic birds eye line camera thing. Video replays in NRL, AFL, NBA and others… but they don’t replay the game, and the WSL shouldn’t have resurfs. If anything, pause the heat in the middle and let the WSL judges work it out in real time. It’s unfair on Kanoa that he had to try and beat Mick for a second time, a hard thing to do at any point. Similarily, it was unfair of Mick to not get a chance at that 9 point ride of Kanoa’s. It’s done now, and it’s fine but let’s not repeat the mistake.

A lot of the attention has been on how hard done by Kanoa Igarashi has been by this incident. But really, it’s the opposite, right? Imagine being Mick Fanning right now, the three time World Champ denied the best wave of either heat by a prioroty mistake and then lost twice to Kanoa Igarashi on a live broadcast, and on top of that he has to wear the role of the big bad guy screwing over the new kid. Kanoa, on the other hand, gets to hold the title of beating Mick Fanning twice while being the poor dude ripped off by the WSL. I know who I’d rather be in that situation.

Winner: Pete Mel

We know that Ronnie Blakey is the all-round best heat-caller, Joe Turpel the most pro (watch a post event show and see how beautifully he MCs that, guiding the experts around him), and Strider the perfect hype man in the channel, but this event was Pete Mel’s seventh in a row in the booth alongside Ronnie, and he’s now completely grown into the role left vacant by Ross Williams and made it his own. He’s funny, in a self-deprecating and natural way, without ever losing the gloss of a slick event broadcast. It was great to see and a joy to listen to, Pete Mel has fun when he’s commentating, and by doing so he makes the WSL more fun to watch. 10 points.

Mike Jennings