Have you tuned in to this last CS contest? What a doozie! Not only the action itself, but obviously all of the qualification implications – it’s been nuts. Action-packed, one could say. Highs and lows, heartbreaks and triumphs, surprises and upsets, we’ve seen just about all of the above so far. And we haven’t even started the man on man heats yet..
One of my favorite things that has happened in conjunction with this event has been the emergence of surfing’s greatest mathematicians Cahill Bell Warren (@ cahill_tokenvictorian) and @ WorldSurfIntrigue. Both of these handles have been doing the people’s work – an absolutely marvelous job at keeping all four thousand of us Challenger Series fans up to date on qualification scenarios each day. Give them a follow if you’re into it.
So now we’re about two competitive days away from the end of the year. It’s been a couple of lay days since the event was last called on. We’ll get to what is upcoming. For now, here are some event notes.
I have to mention this first. Why, oh why, is this man surfing a local CS event? He finished 4th in the world. I know Medina won this contest last year, but he was returning from an injury. He wanted to test his health and also himself. Joao literally just surfed at Lowers for a chance at the World Title a month ago. All that he is doing here is taking points away from fellow countrymen trying to qualify and get to where he is at. While he was quite a ways down the ranking, Adin Masencamp had a long shot to qualify, but he lost to Chianca. I would be HOT if I was him. In my opinion, the WSL needs to keep CT surfers on the CT. I’ve used this comparison before – imagine LeBron James, or any top 4 basketball player in the league, playing in a G-League basketball tournament, and not just for a rehab assignment. You tell me if that’s fair.
EARLY LOSSES FROM NOLAN RAPOZA & MORGAN CIBLIC
Both of these guys had a chance to get on Tour, and I thought this event in beachbreak conditions would fit both of them. Nolan has done well the last 2 US Opens, and Morgan advanced to a final in a similar wobbly beachbreak on the CT as well. They both lost first heart, and now, unfortunately, will be back on the CS next year.
ROUND OF 32 SHAPES NEXT YEARS QUALIFYING CLASS
A lot of names that were mathematically still in contention to qualify were still in the draw for R32. And a lot fell out. Reef Heazlewood, Jett Schilling, Joel Vaughan, Jadson Andre, Joan Duru, George Pittar, Alejo Muniz, and the big one – Deivid Silva. Massive wipe of the board. Silva was ranked the highest, even sitting inside the top 10 qualification picture coming into this event after he won the last contest in Ericeira. That loss could come to cost him. Only time will tell..
JOEL VAUGHAN’S 10
Has to be the biggest Challenger Series air to date – which is worth something in and of itself. But holy shit. For my memory, this immediately jumps into the top 10 airs ever done in a jersey, if not top 5. The one I mentally compared it to was John’s alley-oop a cool while back out in Bali. And then also one of Julian Wilson comes to mind. Also can’t compare any competitive airs without mentioning Filipe’s massive backside rotator in Brazil. But that’s where the list ends for me. At least it did. Throw Vaughnies punt in there.
NACHO GUNDESEN & HEITOR MUELLER
Who the fuck are these guys? Coming all the way from the Round of 80 into the Round of 16, these previously unknown Brazilians have left a trail of bodies behind them including Kalani Ball, Dimitri Poulos, Tim Bisso, Jorgann Couzinet, Jett Schilling, Joel Vaughan, Joan Duru and Mr. Deivid Silva. Quite the hit list. Heitor now (continues to) plays a big role in the rest qualification situation when he faces off against Michael Rodrigues. A loss here could send M.Rod back to the Changaz. Heavy stuff.
So on that note, what could happen now? Well I’m glad you asked. There are 3 spots left to qualify, and there are 6 surfers left in the draw who can snag those spots. Deivid Silva is still currently sitting in one of those, but he has lost out of the event. His position will be decided by these other surfers. The names, in order from highest ranked to lowest, are: Kade Matson, Samuel Pupo, Mateus Herdy, Jackson Baker, Michael Rodrigues, and Marco Mignot. And the draw is very interesting. There are quite a few things that could potentially happen, including a few ties, which would be rather entertaining. Here’s what I know.
Kade and Sammy Pupo surf against each other. The winner of this heat is said to qualify, leaving only 2 positions left. Michael Rodrigues will need a semi finish at least to jump Deivid Silva. Jacko Baker & Mateus will meet up in the Quarters if they can make their next heats. And finally, Marco Mignot needs to at least make the Final to have a chance to qualify.
It’s going to get hectic, and I’m looking forward to the end days. Should shape up a solid rookie class for next year, which already includes the likes of: Cole Houshmand, Jacob Wilcox, Fredrico Morais, Crosby Colapinto, Eli Hanneman, Imakalani deVault, and Jake Marshall. Congrats to all these guys. And good luck to everyone else. Talk soon.