Photo: Kelly Cestari
Words: David Campbell
If you don’t Kanoa now you Kanoa Igarashi. Michel Bourez won the Pipemasters in an amazing feat where he basically needed to clinch the whole damn thing in order to stay on tour next year. After having a shocker of a year it’s nice to the Spartan reign on the podium. No power surfing fan wanted to see the board busting powerhouse go in 2017. But in reality, he did win and that’s fucking rad, but also, the rookie Kanoa Igarashi kinda stole the entire show. Also, John John clinched the Vans Triple Crown. Two John’s winning almost everything in 2016, except the Pipemasters. How infuriating for him to be able to dominate the sport and not be able to win in his backyard the famous Pipemasters. Even though it’s universally known that John John Florence is THE Pipemaster.
In actuality the fact that he has not won at the Pipemasters is probably a key ingredient in the formula for John to stay hungry and continue his drive for dominance in pro surfing. Hoping that Gabe can spark a new fire and give us a rivalry that we all deserve. Watch for Felipe and Jordy to hit 2017 with a new garnished ferocity as well.
The freesurf surfing that went down on one of the lay days maybe had the biggest waves and maybe the best ridden waves during the waiting period. John John made what some called the biggest alley oop they had seen in person, but Kelly’s deep backdoor tube to alley oop was talked about as being the best wave of the day. Kelly has mentioned that 2017 is gonna be a year he returns focus to the tour. You know besides making furniture, the world’s best man made wave, and running a fashionista outerwear company. As always good advice, I wouldn’t bet against Kelly in 2017. Even with all his backdoor knowledge, skill and raw talent, he still went down to the young and frothing Kanoa Igarashi.
Kanoa showed us a possible future where the World Title returns to California, hasn’t happened since Tom Curren, but boy have we put some faith in some honorable legends. We always seem to build them up too fast, apply a heavy amount of pressure and then see how they go. Kanoa didn’t try to get on the tour this year, he did so solely by trying to do well in the primaries. He knows his weakness, and knows what waves he needs to work on, Fiji, Chopes. He needs to fill in a lil more on his size, he’s a young buck for sure and still has some growing to do. But by the time John John has won multiple world titles and retires to make furniture or being a coach, I predict Kanoa could get his number on strategy. Anyone that can take down an on fire Kelly in the semifinals at Backdoor has a chance. Not saying 2017, ‘18, but probably 2021, if surfing still happens on waves in the ocean and not in outer space or some shit.
Wishful thinking would be that we see Wilko come back more on fire and take out the whole flipping thing then buy us all a round of beers. Enjoy the holidays!