Notes from Snapper

Shea Lopez on all the upsets and prospects from the Gold Coast

| posted on February 27, 2012

In a shocker of a heat, young Brazilian Miguel Pupo took down Mick Fanning at his home break. Photo: ASP

With Snapper running the last few days in average conditions, I haven’t exactly been at the edge of my seat. I have, however, been at the edge of a cliff wanting to jump off after a few of the heats I’ve watched. With Snapper looking more like the not-so-Superbank, heats are being won by either finding the odd tube behind the rock, or the even odder wave that walls up all the way through, resisting the urge to push wide and fat into deep water.

These challenging and hard-to-read waves contributed to some early surprises:

Wildcard guest Dane Reynolds completed several of the best moves of the event so far in his two heat losses. His early exit was a result of not riding the best waves and had nothing to do with talent.

Local two-time World Champion, Mick Fanning, chose to use his priority on a closeout and never had a quality wave break in his vicinity again. Mick suffered a loss to Miguel Pupo, which nobody saw coming.

Kolohe Andino popped off the lip in an inverted mess of fins and tail in every one of his heats. His close loss to World No. 5 Adriano de Souza may as well have been decided by a coin toss. And if the judges already deemed him inferior to Adriano, then Kolohe’s rookie year may be a little rockier than expected.

John John was superb on the waves he rode through the first three rounds. Losing to Ace was a simple case of your competitor riding far superior waves that allowed for average maneuvers to rack up excellent points.

The pattern I’ve seen forming in the judging thus far goes something like this: Big moves and sick tubes will score high, but if you find that clean runner that walls up all the way through, you can pretty much guarantee yourself a spot in the next round. Case in point, Owen vs. Wilko: Owen rode bigger waves with more clean snaps in the pocket. Wilko got tweaky in the lip on his fish, but didn’t have the quality, or even the look of drive and power that Owen displayed. The classier, more professional Owen is going to win that heat 9 times out of 10 when compared to Wilko’s choppy turns and awkward recoveries.

This approach by the judges should put the top class of the event—Kelly, Parko, Taj, Jordy—in a strong position for victory if Snapper continues to produce, and improve. If the event finishes up at Duranbah, then everything changes.


    Way to tow the company line Shea. For you to say Owen got bigger better waves is a joke. They each essentially had the same scoring waves. Each had a long 8 point ride and each had a shorter 3 turn 6 point ride. You really think Owen’s 6 was better than Wilko’s? Watch the two six point rides again Shea. First turn for each is the same, Wilko keeps his flow going directly into another vertical and what Dicky Porta called the “turn of the heat,”and it was not choppy or awkward at all. Yes he had to recover from the second turn because it was insane and he went right into a third. Owen’s wave went fat he did a weak azz cutback, then wiggled his way to a vertical closeout tap. Wilko should of got 1-1.5 points better than Owen for that wave. But as you say Owen is a classy ASP robot so he will always get the nod who cares about progression and commitment.


    I often appreciate your irrationalist moan, however I would like to note a few inconsistencies in the latest instalment. I would like to begin with a caveat, please don’t take this personal! My cynicism is unavoidable when surrounded by so many fair, unbiased, purists loving of this great sport.

    – I like begin with a reminder and that is: “This (The ASP world tour) is competitive surfing!”. A layman’s view on what it takes to win a heat (apart from the oblivious judging criteria):
    – Wave selection (surprise!) – Crap waves don’t win heats.
    – Tactics – waiting a whole heat for a wave that is NOT coming will NOT help your cause ( Mick Fanning should write this one on his personal black book) or win a heat.
    – Adaptability – If 20 cutbacks aren’t scoring anything over a 5.00, than throw an air reverse (Kelly wrote the book on this).
    – Drama – (the most important of all and “Hey Dane, here is a good tip for you….) Attempt to at least look like you give a dam. Others just throw 10 fingers in the air while doing the splits on a board while ridding out of a barrel to milk an extra .50 to 1.00 from the judges.

    2nd – I think the ASP should institutionalize your coin toss proposition, starting with every heat Ke11y surfs from now till the end of the year. The ASP should also make the odds official on a coin toss contest against Ke11y, 50% chance he wins and 50% chance the opponent loses. Who knows, maybe this is what it will take to keep him on tour for one more win.

    3rd – Please run me through on the logic about Wilko’s loss again? At this point in time only one other (the guy on the thread above) is disputing your view, however I support him. Sorry, the Avatar is not a human but it won’t be long until humans like Wilko take down Pandora.

    THE END.

    PS: for those who can spell, “oblivious” is intended to read as such. If you are smart enough you can figure out why.

  • Charlie

    Sounds like the judging criteria has regressed to the early 90’s four to the beach. Next time out I’m picking the safe guys who don’t flair, like buchan etc

  • Fernando

    I had the impression that Kohole won Adriano. I am brazzo, but I agree with Shea.

  • Fernando

    Shea, please watch the heat review of ABuchan x MPupo and tell me your impression.

    A Buchan was vastly overscored , or Pupo was vastly underscored.

    One or another.

    Wait your words.

  • vmvmvfo

    I dunno Fernando. i watched the heat, cant tell who won, but I can tell you this:

    Durig this particular heat, all the judges were getting high on crack or PCP. All calls made no sense whatsoever. Good waves being scored low and bad waves being score high. For both sides.
    One simple turn and a fall will give you six like happened to Ace.

    Other bizarre aspect of our sport…

    Kerr vs Heitor

    Everyone who surf knows that a BS 360 is way more harder to pull than your everyday FS grab, no matter how high (fs grab will always be higher).

    Yet, they scored a FS with 7.77 and a BS 360 with a 4.67.

    This must be the only sport where a easier move scores higher than a hard one.

  • shea

    @Fernando Heat Review sure does makes a good case for Pupo winning.
    @Vector Richie Porta is never wrong. You don’t agree with that do you?


    Competition SUCKS. Look at all the BS it causes. LIVE AND LOVE.