Hurley Pro Final Day

20 09 2009
Fanning and Reynolds Celebrate while Machado Drifts in the Background

Mick and Dane celebrate while Machado drifts in the background

Wake me when it’s over.

It was the afternoon of the last day of the Hurley Pro, and halfway through the quarterfinals it was as exciting as watching Tiger Woods sink a five-foot putt at a miniature golf course.

The main problem was the uncharacteristic lack of swell for a break that usually pumps in September. The other problems were the short waiting period (due to state park restrictions) and a bad call by the event organizers—choosing not to run at least some of the event mid-week, instead of hoping and praying for a swell that in typical Southern California fashion didn’t show up on time.

Twenty minutes into the quarterfinal heat between Kelly Slater and Heitor Alves announcer Dave Stanfield said, “It sure is great when there’s waves.” The unintentional comedy factor of the typical ASP announcer’s everything-is-rosy outlook is off the charts. Terrorists could have detonated a bomb killing ninety percent of the crowd, and Stanfield would probably said something like “at least Kelly Slater survived and good news folks…looks like there’s a set on the horizon.”

Meanwhile, the ocean sat bloated and weary like an overweight dog sprawled out on the kitchen floor on a scorching summer day. Every 15 minutes or so the Pacific Ocean drooled, offering up a set wave or two, and an occasional leg to hump. Earlier in the week I saw Slater pumping gas at the San Clemente Chevron and it was a more thrilling spectacle than his semifinal heat against Mick Fanning.

Adriano de Souza sits at third place in the ratings and may finish higher than any other Brazilian in ASP history, but for my money Heitor Alves is the best Brazilian surfer on tour. He’s also clearly the most underrated surfer on tour. But Slater sent the Brazo home early in yet another wave-starved heat.

Dane Reyolds whips his tail around at Trestles

The Future is now. Dane Reynolds whips his tail around.

Taylor Knox versus Dane Reynolds was the heat of the day and also featured the day’s best exchange. Knox dropped in on a head-high where-the-fuck-did-that-come-from right and just destroyed it, getting an 8.0. Then Dane picked off the very next wave (9.7) and made Knox’s eight look ordinary in comparison. He buried the rail of his 5’7 Merrick and out-Knoxed Knox in the process.

Before the semifinals the VIP area was buzzing in free beer and mental masturbatory hopes of a Dane versus Kelly final. Meanwhile, former world champion Mick Fanning was quietly winning heats after miserable heat, one Ambien off the lip at a time. During Mick and Slater’s semi Dane was battling exhaustion and dehydration. The medical staff on site gave him an IV, while the Hurley staff provided the VIPs with Bud Light to keep them entertained and hydrated. No needles required. Slater’s come-from-behind 10th world title aspirations may have ended at Trestles, unless he wins two of the three events of the European leg (which is in the realm of possibilities). So in reality, the race is now a threesome between Joel Parkinson, Fanning and Slater. With Slater as the third wheel who holds the video camera, watching mostly, waiting for the perfect moment to join the fun.

At the halfway point of the WCT season, Dane Reynolds was sitting in a regulation spot, at 34th in the ratings. After his equal third in near-perfect conditions at JBay, he jumped to 20th. Now, after and second at Trestles, he sits comfortably in 11th place. Any person who is not brain dead and/or tipping back  Tooheys at an Aussie pub would admit Dane is a better surfer right now than Fanning.

Last year, every story I read about Dane Reynolds mentioned Jordy Smith as if they were Siamese twins sipping juice boxes, rolling around a cul-de-sac in a two-seat baby stroller. At Trestles, Dane not only separated himself from Jordy, but from the rest of the ASP pack as well. He’s the present and future of competitive surfing and everyone knows it. When Julian Wilson arrives, the surfing world may just implode, scattering swatches of Diamond Dobby boardshorts in the process.

Slater may have said it best shortly after the final while Fanning was popping the champagne. “I thought Dane was the surfer of the contest. I don’t even think Mick would argue with that.”

With a shot of honesty and a humble dose of reality, the circus heads for Europe and a three-event run before the climax at Pipe.

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11 responses

21 09 2009
Blasphemy Rottmouth

I would like to know more about your encounter with Slater at the gas station. You could call it “Pumping My Gass With Kelly’s Nozzle.”

21 09 2009
Blasphemy Rottmouth

Mailman’s going to be all over the European leg of the tour like follicles to a French shinbone.

21 09 2009
Blasphemy Rottmouth

Jordy = Lumbering oaf with some exceptional mid-range power moves and prison-friendly tailpipe maneuvers. Oh, and that sweet rodeo in way ‘over there.’ That said, I’d rather watch him and Dane sword fight ‘middle school style’ than be bombarded with Ozzie grunts and sugarless Hawaiian cane.

P.s.

Good point about Julian. Hopefully he brings the desired combustion. He is the Ozzie Answer.

21 09 2009
Jay

Excellent piece Nug. Not as good as the Not so Fast Parko one though. I also thought the Knox/Dane heat was the highlight. What is it with Knox? He has the talent to win but never seems to make it past the Quarters….ever.

21 09 2009
Robert Snugglebottom

Fanning doesn’t deserve another title. Since now one else seems to be in contention I’m rooting for Parko all the way.

21 09 2009
Mike

Nice job Nug, but you came to an obvious conclusion while ignoring the story. Fanning killed it, albeit traditionally, and Dane flamed out after being gifted some filthy scores earlier in the rounds. No doubt, Reynolds is fresh and wild, but it’s still about winning and the kid didn’t win shit. It’s all just fantasy for his groupies until he finishes.

On a side note, it’s interesting how Mick went from ripper to Damien Hardman in the wake of Dane’s performance… after he won every heat hands down and flies home 105K wealthier. What would Nug have written if Durbidge hadn’t been robbed in his heat with Dane? Reconsider your groupie status Nug, don’t get all distracted by the shiny objects……

21 09 2009
Ross

Dane clearly the surfer of the event. So obvious, yet a defy anyone to watch the semi between Bede and Dane and come away with the conclusion that Dane won. Bede was robbed – big time. Mick as usual surfed fast and didn’t fall (I like the ambien reference) and deserved to win (Dane reverted to form in the final by somehow giving Mick the four best waves while he got the rest).

21 09 2009
Blasphemy Rottmouth

Yea, I have to agree with you Mike. Beating everyone but one guy doesn’t mean shit. Dane might as well have got a 33rd. Or worse.

Color me converted by your brilliant logic. I am now a Mick Fanning groupie just like you. Is Mick hung as well as they say he is?

21 09 2009
The Nug

@Mike
Fanning killed it…I agree, but his act is boring at times. That’s the problem. He knows how to win heats by just getting by. The current ASP system rewards that and that’s fine for some, but there is a shift happening now. Mick is a fucking dependable Toyota. And Bede, he surfed better than anyone save Dane and Kelly all week, as far as I’m concerned. Was Bede robbed? NO. Was it closer than the judges had it. Probably. Now if you are looking for robbery, Kekoa would have a legitimate gripe in his R4 heat against Slater.

22 09 2009
Ross

Like most I’m all Dane…we want more Dane…give us Dane. Yet, I was thinking to myself how really underrated Mick is. Nobody surfs as fast, and as any surfer knows, going fast is the best…it’s real fun and is required for advanced maneuvers. I don’t look at his technical precision, his error free surfing as some sort of liability like somehow it would be cooler for him to dig rails on occasion. He’s become the establishment surfer, kinda like D. Hardman but me thinks that is grossly unfair. Mick surfs like nobody else. Yes the lines he takes may not be new, but he paints those lines like nobody else can or does.

22 09 2009
Mike

2 years ago, Mick Fanning was fresh and on fire, now his whole act is perfunctory? Bede fulfills the criteria. Joel is too smooth. Andy is a position surfer. CJ looks too much like Damien.

But Dane is God. Two small airs on a 10 yard wave and he gets a 9.65! Would’ve got a ten if he had done one foam climb in the soup following his mind blowing air. Seriously boys? He was that close to a perfect score on a chest high, short crumbling Mushels right?!

I’m clowning the judging, not the kid. I see him free surfing often and he blows up, something that we all need to see in heats. One slam dunk doesn’t win a basketball game no matter how spectacular. And neither air in that heat against Bede was that impressive, he does shit around here that is fucking looney.

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