Surf Ranch Pro shakes up WSL format, CT ratings
New School Pool Contest
The WSL’s innovative wave pool contest was run with a controversial new format that more closely resembled a snowboard halfpipe event than the traditional CT man-on-man surfing format.
Typically sports fans don’t like change, and the internet was abuzz with creative expletives denouncing the event format and scoring as boring.
Moving beyond the comments and above articles, if the couch quarterbacks could stop and take a deep breath and open their minds, they’d see that the new format matched Kelly’s waves perfectly.
Because it’s not the ocean and each wave is a blurry mirror image of the wave prior, the format needed to change along with the waves on this tour stop. To keep the surf game going it’s necessary to adapt and mix it up to fit with the medium.
For the competitors in an event like this, it’s all about shining brightest on a wave that has been an internet superstar. The surfers who dialed in the new system, whether due to having heaps of practice at Kelly’s Wave or simply opening their minds to a new format, were the eventual winners.
Tour stalwarts Carissa Moore, Steph Gilmore, Filipe Toledo, and Gabriel Medina became instant masters of this, the first of many many wave pool contests.
For conditions the lefts were a bit funky and crumbled on the outside, but as they rolled in they got very fast and small through the inside section. The rights shone bright like a diamond.
In the final Medina blew his first left, falling hard and surprising himself from the looks of it. He made up for it on his second left getting a 9.13 for a beautiful kerrupt flip, and then he backed that up with an 8.73 on the right. His 17.86 heat total was enough to squeak past Toledo’s 17.03.
“Filipe is so dangerous, he’s probably the best at the Surf Ranch,” said the Brazilian goofyfoot. “It’s totally different from surfing in the ocean, but I’ll take it! It’s the most high-performance wave I think we’ve ever surfed and it’s good to feel we are on level ground with the other guys.”
Carissa Moore took her first win of the year. The 3X Hawaiian world champ has been practicing her airs in Texas recently with coach Shane Beschen. The champ didn’t pull any airs in the final, but due to the near-perfect way she strung together her runs, she netted the high heat total, 17.80, and the win.
“I’m ecstatic to walk away with a win at the Surf Ranch Pro and this facility is such a new thing, so it’s such an honor to be a part of,” said Moore. “My biggest goal is just to finish the year off strong and re-qualify because I’m not in the Title race. I just want to have a strong performance and gain some confidence hopefully for next year.”
Six-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore finished in second place after struggling through the early rounds and nearly falling on every right in the final. In the end, she linked together a series of beautiful turns and tubes and earned her highest score of the final, an, 8.87.
“You just have to take a few deep breaths and just focus on what you can do,” said Steph. “It was a stressful moment and I just had to make a right. I haven’t made one all today and I didn’t think it would beat the 9. It’s nice to hold onto the lead.”
Filipe Toledo’s airtime was on point, and it’s gotten to the level now where fans just expect him to complete each and every attempt. On one wave he landed three airs and earned a near-perfect 9.80.
“I feel great. I made a few mistakes throughout the whole event and I could have done better on the left and be in first right now,” said Toledo. “But, I’m really happy to be a part of it. This is a new era of surfing and I have to thank all the fans for coming out here.”
Surf Ranch Pro Men’s:
1 – Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.86
2 – Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.03
3 – Kelly Slater (USA) 16.27
4 – Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 15.77
5 – Owen Wright (AUS) 15.40
6 – Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.37
7 – Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 15.07
8 – Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.96
Surf Ranch Pro Women’s:
1 – Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.80
2 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 16.70
3 – Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.57
4 – Caroline Marks (USA) 14.77
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