Kai Otton Wins Rip Curl Pro

posted by / News / October 17, 2013

All Photos: Steve Sherman

Kai Otton, the empty stare of a champ.

Kai Otton, the empty stare of a champ.

“I don’t know, man. It’s not my title.” Parko had some blasé body language with his old pal Mick.

“I don’t know, man. It’s not my title.” Parko had some blasé body language with his old pal Mick.

This pose is reserved for Rookie of the Year only.

This pose is reserved for Rookie of the Year only.

What, did Taj think they were going to fight?

What, did Taj think they were going to fight?

At 33 years old, this was Kai’s first ever win on the WCT. You best believe it was emotional.

At 33 years old, this was Kai’s first ever win on the WCT. You best believe it was emotional.

While we’re not entirely sure if the red singlet/red watch combo factored into Kai’s success, there’s no way of ruling it out.

During his victory speech, Ottz made a point to give props to Andy Irons.

You know what they say about guys with big trophies…

You know what they say about guys with big trophies…

Twenty minutes later, they all turned around and Instagrammed pictures of the sunset.

Twenty minutes later, they all turned around and Instagrammed pictures of the sunset.

After all that hard work, you’d think they’d give the champ a little more than a 6 oz. Dixie cup of beer.

After all that hard work, you’d think they’d give the champ a little more than a 6 oz. dixie cup of beer.


 
We’ll forgive you if you didn’t see that one coming. In overhead lumps at Supertubos, Kai Otton — at the ripe age of 33 years old — won his first ever WCT contest. Mick Fanning fell half a point shy of his third world title, Wilko made a case for requalification and nobody landed a 10-foot alley-oop. It was a long and foreign song; here’s how it was sung.

A nippy morning in Peniche set the scene for Round 4. It was a non-elimination round, so competitors were pardoned if their limbs were still too stiff to triumph. Any and all educated eyes stared at Mick Fanning in the second heat. He was assigned the task of beating Matt Wilkinson and John John Florence, and he just barely did so. Julian Wilson, CJ Hobgood and Nat Young won the other three heats and that foursome made up half of your quarterfinalists. For the other half, we dug into to Round 5.

Josh Kerr posted the days highest heat total with a pair of 9+ rides in his roast of Taj Burrow. He earned ‘em for barrel to turn combos and they’re worth viewing on Heats On Demand only if you’re immensely bored. Jordy Smith snuck a few on Miguel Pupo for the win and Parko tossed Matt Wilkinson to the curb. Most importantly, however, Kai Otton beat John John Florence and the Ottz train came alive. Mick Fanning sat cross-legged at the locomotive’s next stop.

The world championship trophy and a chilled bottle of champagne sat side by side for the quarters. Parko slid past Julian Wilson in the first heat by a margin of .17. Then along came consequence as Mick and Ottz paddled out for heat 2. If Mick won, the title would consequently become his. If Ottz won, he’d get the warmest hug from Kelly Slater and the race would go to Pipe. After a back and forth snoozer, Kai had Mick on the ropes. A wave surfaced with 30 seconds left and Mick only needed a 4.68. Kai had priority and could have lobbed the golden opportunity to his bud. Instead, like Cal Naughton Jr. revolting against Ricky Bobby, Kai caught the wave and meandered through a few turns. The hug from Kelly was so warm.

A plume of black smoke smothered Peniche as the Ottz train moved full steam ahead towards the semifinals. Parko was stopped dead in his tracks when he wasn’t able to back up an 8.50 to beat conductor Kai. In heat two, Nat Young unleashed that rookie fervor yet again and Josh Kerr knew exactly what hit him. It was a 5’11” towheaded kid from Santa Cruz with legs like a large rhinoceros. Nat was officially deemed Rookie of the Year and readied himself for to his second final of 2013.

By this time, the Ottz train was going haywire. Nat, so cool and collected, tried to rectify the situation but came up short. His 11.03 points proved to be inadequate against Ottz’s 12.23. And when the final horn blew in Peniche, Kai came to. It had been like one of those scenes in a movie where a character experiences a bout of temporary psychosis, blacking out and raging through a fit of destruction. Kai finally snapped out of it and thought, “What have I done?” A crowd had gathered around him. Kai was anxious, but then he realized something. They were all chanting his name. —Brendan Buckley

In conclusion:

—Kai Otton won the Rip Curl Pro
—Nat Young won 2013 Rookie of the Year
—Matt Wilkinson leapfrogged into a qualifying spot for the 2014 tour
—In order for Kelly Slater to win the world title, he must win the Pipeline Masters and Mick Fanning must place worse than 3rd

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  • jeff

    Dope. Ottz world champ 2014

  • Steve

    Go Ottz. Deserving winner

  • silvia uraga

    espectacularidad¡¡¡

  • bufu

    Nat fan but Ottz def. deserved it. Great ending to a subpar comp

  • David Nelson

    First all goofy-foot final since….?

    Ottz for President!

  • yo

    Jimmicane sure was right by claiming Kais dream run was coming to an end. Ya right

  • Matt S.

    YES! Congrats to Ottz!!!

  • Matt S.

    In your face Jimmy!

  • Binnsie

    That video claims a 10pt, not 10ft, oop, no?

  • anyone

    wow, mr invisibles shadow won an event the same year as mr invisible did?

    with sub 15 pt heats… wow. profoundly coincidental.

    looks like nat wasn’t treated as well as joelp for tubes either…hmmm

    kinda funny, the old guys win most of the time and when they don’t, its the tour vets ‘with no chance”…. Kp, Ace and Ott justify their presence but the kids have hit a wall.

    pipe will sort things out.

  • Mik

    BTW: Remember Jimmicaine’s pick’s, where he wrote of Kai for this event? Can’t resist sharing my comment in response, before the event started:

    “Technically, Kai Otton is one of the best goofy foots on Tour, save the lack of emphasis on air game — which admittedly is an Achilles Heel that he is working hard to change.

    Beyond that, Kai is very creative, is amazingly quick and precise in his vertical game, and he’s a great tube rider. He started out as a rookie as #12, so this move to the top 10 isn’t a fluke.

    In fact that blow-tail / nose pick that should have eliminated Parko in France shows that he is expanding his range. If Dane had done that, or Kelly, the big score would have dropped… And it will in the future, because Kai is one of the more complete stylists on Tour. He just needs to be scored the same way as the other upper tier.

    But I’m biased. When I think of a WCT surfer I wish I surfed like, it is Ottz.”

    :-)