So I missed Finals Day. Undoubtedly you noticed. I received mass complaints of no coverage whatsoever. No pre-event predictions, no tweets going out during the event, and until this point, nothing after. I haven’t posted anything in a couple weeks; it’s been a while. Well, congratulations to Filipe Toledo and Caroline Marks.
Truth is, I wanted to be down there for the big shabang, I just simply couldn’t. I was judging my first ever contest. It was a smaller local competition, but I couldn’t miss this opportunity. I had a great time, and I learned a lot. We kept tuned in to the Woz’s grand finale, but I couldn’t watch any of it. I still haven’t sat through each heat, I’ve only seen the highlights. With that being said, I wish Ewing would have won. He needed to win the first heat to have a chance, and there have been opinions in favor of his waves over Toledo’s in the first 35 minutes. Nonetheless, Filipe went back to back. Caroline’s performance has been dubbed as much more dominant. I will say it’s pretty rad to see someone live up to their hype. Again, Congrats Caroline & Filipe. Moving on.
The attention of the surf world has now shifted to the release of the 2024 Championship Tour schedule. Fans of professional surfing everywhere are experiencing massive bouts of angst due to Finals Day being held at Lowers yet again next year. Rumor has it Mark Richards bit his nails down to nubs the day of the announcement. Can you see it now? – Filipe Toledo withdraws from the Olympics at pumping Teahupoo; proceeds to win his 3rd consecutive World Title. Oh yeah, the WSL dropped another striking blow to the core audience that actually watches professional surfing: J-Bay is off the schedule for next year. One of the best waves and favorite events of the year, exiled. Speculation abound says it’s to make room for the Olympics. I don’t care what is happening, Pipe, J-Bay, and Teahupoo should be mainstays on the Tour, forever. There was a bit of good news that came with the schedule, however. For one, the Wave Ranch (or whatever they call it) is officially gone. At least for next year. Let us not forget about the talks at large that followed the new Kelly Slater Wave Pool development in Abu Dhabi. Lastly, Cloudbreak is making a highly anticipated return. That event will wrap up the regular season before Filipe goes for a 3-peat at Lowers. This is nice and all, but I’ve gotta say I’m feeling rather nonchalant about the Tour next year. We’ll leave it at that.
Something I am excited about, on the other hand, is this next Challenger Series contest starting in just a few days. The right hand point break of Ericeira, Portugal always looks really fun to me. Cole Houshmand is the only surfer who is officially qualified, with (2)Jacob Wilcox and (3)Crosby Colapinto both looking to shore up their position on next year’s Championship Tour at this event. Eli Hanneman made a huge jump with his US Open victory, so he’s also in a solid position. A couple of other 2%er’s are looking to secure a spot – Kade Matson in 10th and Jett Schilling in 11th. It is paramount for them both to make a couple of heats; an early loss will be dangerous. Only one event follows this – Saquarema, Brazil, so nobody will want to leave it to a last ditch effort. Look for some serious emotion to come out here. Should be fun.
And there you have it. That’s your current competitive surf wrap for right now. I know I’ve been missing for a minute, but the plan is to be back in action. I’ll have something different for you tomorrow. Until then.