By the time ratings leader Mick Fanning hit the water for a procedural win against Reunion-Island wildcard Max Huscenot, the contest bank was starting to do a fair impression of Lower Trestles, and that wouldn’t be good for Mick.
Owen got out to a lead, and while Dane is great with two nines in the opening minutes of a heat, the springs fly loose any time he falls behind and everything looks a little forced, and an air of inevitability falls over the heat.
In saying that he surfed great, and if the WSL were to throw him a tour wildcard next year, they’d find that an anti-hero works better than the guy wrapped in the flag being carried up the beach.
After dominating the tour for so long from such an early age, it’s always seemed like she’s been craving time away from it, and it’ll be interesting to see whether she returns next year really wanting to be there.
But with Steph gone, the women’s tour has been a wide-open road this year.
The women’s tour has been owned by Steph, Carissa – and, to a lesser degree, Tyler and Sally – for years now.
Stephanie Gilmore fracturing her leg and wrenching her knee back in March – while probably not great for Steph – has brought a silver lining to the women’s tour.
Kolohe landed a slob grab, and while Kelly surfed great, his old bones, which have been ground into the sand here all week, just couldn’t keep up.
Just as the men’s tour was dominated for a decade by Kelly, Mick and Joel, their successes eventually began to drain the life from the tour.
Mick Fanning has won this event three times, and every time he has, he’s gone on to win the world title.
Mick, needing a score with 15 seconds on the clock, saw the best wave of the heat approaching, and there was sudden flash of déjà vu back to his world-title-winning Pipe wave in 2013.
Instead, they’ve been forced to go all-in with Kelly, and now that the event horizon of Kelly’s exit looms, they need to groom an All-American successor.
When Max found the only tube of the heat and held a comfortable lead, suddenly the world title race looked wide open. You know how it ended.
Read more here: Surfer Mag