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5 Most Controversial Heats

The most contentious matchups of the season

| posted on December 24, 2013

No World Tour season would be complete without a little vitriol. Relive the five most contentious heats of the season.

Billabong Rio Pro Quarterfinal No. 2: Gabriel Medina (16.43) def. Ace Buchan (14.93)
[Quarterfinal starts at 1:02, priority debacle at 1:41]

We’ve heard there are plenty of distractions on the beach in Brazil, but this was on a whole new level of absent-mindedness. The person in charge of switching the priority placard forgot to flip it to indicate that Gabriel had priority following an exchange. So when a left came through with plenty of scoring potential, Ace took off only to be burned by Gabriel. The heat went on with no call. Afterwards, contest officials and the surfers engaged in an intense backstage discussion over whether or not a re-surf was in order. Instead, they gave the official heat win to Gabriel, prompting many to question if a re-surf would cause an already passionate hometown crowd to boil over.


Billabong Pro Tahiti Final: Ace Buchan (18.94) def. Kelly Slater (17.90)
[Slater's input at 0:16]

If there’s a such thing as “priority-karma,” this is it. Ace, who had a questionable priority call go against him in Brazil (for those of you that skipped over the above, see above), was on the winning end of this one though. After sitting with priority throughout a long lull, Ace made a fairly committed paddle for a wave, leaving Slater and the commentators wondering why priority didn’t change. The next set comes in and Ace utilizes priority to get a 9.27, which went into his final scoreline. It’s impossible to say what would have happened had priority shifted to Slater, but keep in mind that the difference between first and second place is 2,000 points and Slater just lost out on a twelfth World Title by 250 points.


Oakley Pro Bali Round 5, Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (20.00) def. John John Florence (19.20)

I can only imagine that judging this heat must have been like judging the Miss Universe pageant. Just when the judges thought they had seen the best Mother Nature had to offer, she produces something even better, leaving you wishing you had held off on busting out your perfect 10 card a moment longer. Parko’s first 10 was an amazing wave, but perfect 10s need to be reserved for those in which the surfer doesn’t fall doing a roundhouse in a critical section. Regardless, Parko deserved to win this heat because, top-sided judging scale aside, his two scoring waves were better than John John’s.


Quiksilver Pro France Round 2, Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (16.50) def. Marc Lacomare (15.90)

The webcasters in question, Damien Fahrenfort and Jake Paterson. Photo: peter_mel

The webcasters in question, Damien Fahrenfort and Jake Paterson. Photo: Peter Mel

Top seeds must despise Round 2 with a passion. Other than the obvious fact that it’s one more chance to lose early, they often face someone with more experience at the wave. In this heat, Frenchman Marc Lacomare used his local knowledge of the tricky conditions to put Parko in a tough position with time running out. The last few minutes saw a flurry of waves that had most thinking the World Champ would fall short to Marc. But pro surfing is a subjective sport and this heat really could have gone either way. The real point of controversy came from the webcast booth. While waiting for the official scores to drop, commentators Damien Fahrenfort and Jake Paterson bet beers over the outcome and even suggested that the judges would give Parko “World Title points.” This irked the ASP so much that they effectively fired them.


Billabong Pipe Masters Quarterfinal No.1: Mick Fanning (17.03) def. Yadin Nicol (16.90)

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Was Mick Fanning’s World-Title winning 9.77 really a 9.77? Or did Yadin deserve the win?

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  • James

    The ASP judges fucked kelly out of a title twice this year

  • Timmyvtard

    Nothing against Mick but the Judges messed up big time. He should not have won that heat. And in the big picture if it would have all worked out the same Kelly would be the champ. Giving a surfer a higher score because they got the score in the last second of the heat is retarded. the whole point of a perfect 10 at pipe is to make the beach think you are not coming out and shock everyone. we knew that mick was coming out of that wave on the take off. at the most it was an 8.5 I love watching competitive surfing but this is embarrassing for the ASP . why should we even get excited if they are just going to give it away.

  • kyle

    micks wave was at most a 9.0 compared to yadins, re watch yadins wave http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UCpLccz_XwM

  • xxpusydestroyer420noscope

    the whole asp thing is scripted. It would be boring if 1 person won everytime

    • joel

      like winning the world title 11 times?

  • Marcus B

    loved to hear “give Parko “World Title points.” Sorry for the guys who got fired!! They made my day!

  • kevin

    I don’t see any controversy in the parko vs lacomare heat: everyone agrees that marc won the heat

    • Ztrois

      It seems that France had many “World Title points”. What happened to Mark Lacomare happened to Gabriel Medina in the final against Mick Fanning. Now with 3 titles will be more difficult to win the Fanning, even more with the ASP valuing the old line of surf that still keeps the chances of Parko and Fanning.

  • ThatDank

    I can’t believe how hard the judges robbed Yadin of that heat. It really de-legimatizes the entire ASP. Makes surfing seem phony once again. We [competitive surfing] were on a good path for legitimacy but this was a few steps backwards. What a shame.

  • Richard

    if Micks winning wave was a 9.7 then Kelly,JJ, Miggy were dropping 11.7s

  • Kai

    Joel’s perfect 20 was BS. So was Mick’s win over Yadin and now he’s out for 2014…. Judges f*cked up big time.

  • I’m with Bobby

    In Brazil, Ace shouldn’t have even been in that heat were it not been for his phantom barrel for a 9 iirc against Yades…

  • Ben

    What’s really a shame is that there were more severely flawed heats this year than memorable ones (in a year with some pretty remarkable heats). No mention of Mick’s heat against CJ, the one where Mick got nearly three points for a bottom turn to closeout? I agree with the prior comment about “controversy;” none of the aforementioned heat results were controversial, they were simply wrong. Kelly seems to be getting dinged back for a few results that went his way in 2005 (which gave him the title over AI).

    • Paul

      In that same heat CJ got a 1.83 for a quick barrel that he makes it out of. By no means should it have been a big score, but how does a roll in close out get a full point more than a made barrel? The fact that one judge gave Mick a 3.5 on the closeout and CJ got a 1.2 makes it even more insane.

  • tyler

    even one of the commentary guys in the mick v. Yadin said that micks wave was really good enough..

  • matt

    Damien Hobgood got screwed in Keramas on his backside double barrel foam ball miracle ride (against Parko I believe?). Worst call of the year, and if he had made that heat he’d still be on tour.

  • Ztrois

    Medina vs Fanning in France. “World Title points” but MEDINA won the heat,

  • James B

    ASP – Australian Surfing Protection!

  • General DK

    The commentary by Damien and Jake was arguably the most entertaining all year. The ASP’s reaction to their off-the-cuff remarks makes the ASP look overly sensitive and defensive, like a dictatorial government censoring a newspaper for telling the truth. No dissent amongst the ranks boy! Its crazy, the media, internal or external, should be allowed to voice their opinions without fear of consequence. Fear produces dull reporters like Joe Turpel.

  • JM101

    Wow… I’m so excited and shocked that SURFER had the balls to put forward a “Most Controversial” list. This is progress maybe? Obviously someone with a bit of pull was just as sick as most of us about the judging this year, and at least put together a “politically correct” list of who should have won heats that got screwed, even though it was worded in a “between the lines” sort of way (minus the Joel P. / JJF heat – everyone knows John won that one hands down too.) So – the best and biggest surfing publication in the world knows what happened (even if they won’t fully commit to saying it out loud) and surprise surprise – its exactly what 99.9% of the people watching the tour have been saying as well… Hopefully this gains some traction.

    • Santa

      joel won the heat fair and square dipshit. Gotta love all the commentary coming from people who cant probably surf to save their lives.

      • JM101

        Not sure if you’ll get this or not – dipshit – but I own 2 surf shops, shape boards, and run a school/rental shop… Not only am I a better surfer than you but I do it for a living every f*cking day. But you’re right; I’m sure a lot of people on here – like you – probably can’t surf well at all and just like to bitch on the internet. XO

  • uhhhhhhhhhhhh

    i propose a solution. just like the NBA 82 games per year lasting 3 days each. this leaves the spoiled brats 119 days or 4 months of vacation per year. the ASP tells them where to show up 3 days in advance. better viewing for all (in or out of the barrel), influence biased judging becomes marginalized and the whole shit gets proper treatment.

  • gusta

    Mick´s wave was a 9.77 for sure!! A huge 2nd reef braker where he bottons turn perfectly (as A.I. on that Pipe poster) pulls in and tube rides it clearly. That kind of wave is way more difficult compare to a regular Pipe deep tube (also no easy wave). Too bad for Yadin that surfs Pipe very good, but Mick was in form and that´s the truth. And yes I believe in this marketing issues, of course Mick would win anyways… but this one he really deserve it.