JBay 2016: Florence and The Machine
We’ve been ‘away’ from the surf-stats desks lately, travelling, catching some winter swells and watching a lot of contests on mobile devices. We’ll keep it short this time, but here’s the wash-up from JBay:
• Mick is a machine. Never mind the busted ankle, unresolved shark issues, supposedly more relaxed approach to contests, or red-hot opponents, Mick can find a way to win regardless. Righting Wrongs, Finishing the Job, Taking care of Unfinished Business. Whatever the catch-phrase, it was a great moment in the sport and a massive mainstream media opportunity for the WSL. Mick now has the equal-highest number of JBay titles with 4 (tied with Slater), but I will confidently tell anyone who cares to listen that, because of last year’s bizarre final, Mick now has the best record at the event.
• We almost feel bad for Wilko. Everyone seemed to be saying the same thing after Bells, which was basically “I’m so stoked for Wilko; he’s on fire right now. I don’t think he’ll win the title though”. It almost felt like a bad thing to say, like we were wishing failure upon him somehow. After JBay though, it feels inevitable; JJF and Medina are just too focused, too able and too consistent. It’s not if, but when it will happen. We’re tipping Lowers at the latest.
• Speaking of the title race, how epic is the idea of Gabe and JJF shooting it out in Tahiti for the Yellow jersey? Throw in a resurgent Slater, and the contest looks promising...
• Did anyone see Ribeiro surf? He actually looked the best he’s been all year. He scored an 8.17 against JJF in R2 and the commentators couldn't hide their surprise. He still lost though.
• Nothing sucks the oxygen out of an event like a massive spate of lay-days. There were some great days of surfing in this contest, but it was hard to get excited after the one-and-done day of Jordy vs. John, followed by a string of holds. The first few heats of the final day were pretty slow too. 2016 just seems to be in this weird pattern of big waits during contests.
• Local wildcards/trialists are doing very poorly this year. For every Mason Ho and Leonardo Fioravanti, there are a swathe of Bino Lopes, Steven Sawyer, Tim Stevenson, Jack Robinson, Jacob Wilcox, Timothee Bisso, Jay Davies, Wade Carmichael and Tevita Gukilau stories from which to learn. Be very cautious.
• Picking Julian at Tahiti? You’ve got balls; he has been super inconsistent all year. When he’s on, he’s killing it though.
Best Possible Team
There were 355 players with the perfect team, netting a cool 836.71 points each. That’s a massive total for WSL fantasy, made possible by having both Slater and Kerr in tier C. With Kelly (91%), Jordy (78%), Mick (74%), and John John (67%) all owned by at least two-thirds of teams, it was a good contest for nearly everyone. Kerr (28%) and Filipe (37%) were the only top selections that had ownership below 50%.
Worst Possible Team
44% of players had Wilko. Ouch.
Surf-Stats Projection Reflections
The numbers team fared much better in the WSL game, but our FS team was too strong for the numbers:
Surf-Stats WSL: 567.16
Numbers WSL: 720.51
Surf-Stats FS: 1007
Numbers FS: 928
Mick, Kelly, Medina, Jordy, and John John were all suggested in one way or another. We warned against Wilko (conditions) and Kai (form), who were both in the worst team. Our Sleeper picks of Cathels (R3) and Muniz (R5) did OK, while Ace kooked it. Overall we were close, but so was everyone else it seems.
These winners are in the running to claim the overall SS awards at the end of the year:
Biggest single manoeuvre: It has to be Florence’s speedy air-reverse against Jordy and Kerr. There were other great manoeuvres, but this one was massive in regards to the way the judges tipped the progressive flair over the traditional flow/power/style focus of JBay.
Best wave: The WSL got in the action during the lay-days with this ‘best waves’ package. It turns out that the highest scoring wave wouldn’t be ridden until the final, but was it the best wave? We think not. We’re going to give it to Jordy purely for the double-fist claim. Fired-up Jordy = our favourite type of Jordy.
Best heat: The final was a high-quality and damn close contest, with both surfers taking the smaller conditions to town. The Jordy/John/Josh J-fest in R4 was a close second, as all 3 of them laid claim to some excellent rides.
Biggest disappointments: The lay-days sucked, and Wilko was average all event, but the Jordy vs. John John QF debacle was probably the worst. What were they thinking?
Most impressive performer: Mick; it was his contest. Shout-outs go to Filipe, who will be a solid JBay option in years to come; Jordy, who was looking unbeatable until the conditions got the better of him; and John John, who is on another level this year.
Tahiti is our next destination, kicking off on August 19. If the conditions are right, this could be a great contest and a huge event for the 2016 title race.
The crew at Surf-Stats are doing a surf trip to some remote Western Australian spots in late August, so it could impact our output during the Tahiti/Lowers turn-around. We will aim to get most of the projections ready early so that we can still get the content out there. Hopefully we’ll have some pictures to show for it as well…