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2016 Hurley Pro : Topics Worth Discussing

The crown jewel of not-ever-barreling provided fun conditions for the majority of the waiting period.

Which is pretty impressive, considering the WSL needed nearly six full days to complete both the women’s and men’s competitions. Lowers is just that consistent. Anywho, let’s go ahead and break down the major components of the 2016 Hurley Pro.

Judging

This has been a widely covered topic, but we’d be remiss not to bring it up again. Judging is difficult and imperfect at best, corrupt at worst. Despite the rumors, I believe the first analysis rings true today. I understand the skepticism from certain demographics, but it would be hard to convince me that there is a WSL-wide conspiracy going on. That being said, if the majority of the surfers on tour (Kelly outstanding) think people are getting habitually under/overscored, it’s probably time to have an open conversation with the judges.

Women

Steph’s style and flow is timeless and basically unparalleled on either tour. Tyler’s power is a great antidote to the stigma of women’s surfing being soft. Their final was slow, but ended on a high note with both gals dropping excellent scores. Without a solid backup, Steph was relegated to second place. Tyler’s victory now has her with a stronghold on the 2016 world title race. With only three events to go, Courtney would have to do a lot to overtake the four-competition-winner. Tyler would be the first non-Steph/Carissa world champ in a decade.

Rookies

Two names: Kanoa and Alex. The first maintained his #perfectseason, the other is making a late effort to win rookie of the year. I’m rooting for both of them.

Wildcards

By golly did these boys ever throw a spanner in the works. Brett and Tanner made SoCal proud with explosive performances, demonstrating just how care-free they were with each air, hook, and bash through the lip. They took out some huge names with no regard for careers or title races. Tanner was especially impressive, constantly dropping 8s and 9s on the heads of the tour elite. He went on to finish 3rd, which will leave him with a big smile, a bigger paycheck and the biggest boost heading into the back end of the QS year. Let’s hope he can keep up this roll and qualify for 2017.

The Winner

Jimmicane’s Passion Picks were on point this time! Having both Joel and Jordy on his team, Jim could rest easy in the final. Joel and Jordy fought hard for priority and lost a couple good waves in the process. From there, Jordy demonstrated just how loose and limber a big man can be. The way he hooked into chest high wedges and tore the heart out of them was a true spectacle. Every time he laid a devastating blow, I couldn’t help but shake my head in awe. Despite his spells of inconsistency, Jordy is a true master of face-surfing and a Top 5 talent in my book. Joel put up a valiant effort, but looked like a slightly out-dated version of the South African.

The World Title race

With John, Gab, Wilko and Ace losing early, we saw a door open slightly for the big Saffa. He took complete advantage of this opportunity with a win here, getting him well within reach of the title. Considering the Top 3 will all drop this result come the end of 2016, Jordy got himself within 6,000 points of Jeep Leader John Florence. Now with four fellas well and truly in the race, we’re looking at another crazy finish in December. The last three events of the season (France, Portugal, Pipe), are notoriously unpredictable, meaning that this thing is well and truly in the hands of the sea.

And I can’t wait to watch it unfold.