Remember that whole cut-off the ASP implemented in 2010?
Yeah, that didn't really take. The only surfers that seem to like cut-offs are the ones who wear Ray Bans and boat shoes. And that's an entirely different kind of cut-offs. But while we still have to look at the occasional upper thigh of a guy with a resin tinted retro fish (no disrespect to classic surfboards just classic surf shorts) the ASP's mid-year rotation is out.
So here we sit, four events into the 2012 season -- three good contests and one that will go down in the annals of surfing history. The Billabong Pro Teahupoo is a month off, but it will be the fifth event of ten. Remember that we lost the Quik New York Pro and Rip Curl Search, but gained the Volcom Fiji Pro, so we're still one light. So although there is no longer a cut-off or rotation, mid-July seems a good time to asses where we are.
First up: John John Florence. He's currently No. one in the Men's World Ranking. Florence joined the tour last year at mid-season and won the Triple Crown. But only doing six World Tour events, Julian Wilson surpassed he and Gabriel Medina for Rookie of the Year. After winning the Billabong Pro Brazil, this kid certainly deserves that honor this year, no matter how you qualify a "Rookie." Florence is the complete package and his result at Chopes could put him into the World Title race.
After winning the six-star Billabong Pro at J-Bay last week, Adriano de Souza is in the No. two slot, followed by Fanning, Slater, Medina, Burrow, Kerr,... etc. Obviously your world tour heavies are going to accrue the most points. CJ Hobgood, after being axed last September and requalifying is proving his mettle in the No 10 slot.
But lets look specifically at who could be coming on or falling off tour. The first One World slot occupied by a non-World Tour surfer is Glenn Hall, who splits his time between Europe and Australia, but flies the Irish flag. This year's dark horse, he made the finals of the Nike Lowers Pro and won the Mr. Price Pro Ballito, South Africa, both Prime events to nail down the No. 16 position, landing himself north of several World Tour surfers.
Of the young Americans showing promise, former NSSA National champ, Nat Young, of Santa Cruz, beat Jordy Smith at the Mr. Price Pro to make the semis and won the Vans 4-star at Huntington Pier in April to land him in his current No. 21 ranking.
"I've had a few good results and I'm sitting in a good place in the rankings. Obviously, I'd like to be doing better and there are comps where I feel I could have done better than the results I got, but that's just how it goes. There's still half the year left, so my focus is just trying to be consistent," he said yesterday before boarding a plane home to California.
The 20-year-old goofyfoot has developed that post-adolescent power combined with some of the most technical surfing among the ranks.
"I have a few good boards this year that I have saved and only ridden in contests. That just eliminates the whole feeling of being indecisive. I've been training three days a week when I'm home and have had quite a bit of time at home. I feel stronger and I think that's really important," he added.
We could see Young on tour to start 2013.
18-year-old Kolohe Andino, who has been lukewarm in his Rookie season is at No. 18 and out of commission with an ankle sprain. He will miss the Hurley US Open in Huntington where he surfed well last year and hence, likely drop further down the ladder. It may afford him an injury wildcard should he finish on the wrong side of the bubble. His good friend Evan Geiselman, a favorite to qualify and possibly the only East Coaster with a prayer right now, is ranked No. 56. Geiselman is returning from his own broken fibula. Hawaii's Ola Eleogram, who has been quiet the last few years, is in the No. 32 slot.
Tour regs Michel Bourez and Bede Durbidge are both having average years, but only have five results to add to their One World totals. Bourez has a newborn, and told ESPN's Jake Howard he was planning on spending more time at home this year which should account for his No. 33 ranking. Durbidge owns the No. 45 spot.
As for guys who have fallen off in the past, Nathaniel Curran is back in the hunt at the No. 43 slot. Remember that he won the US Open in 2008. Gabe Kling, who lost his place in December, is No. 43 and Tanner Gudaskas is No. 49. They would all need a very solid result in Huntington.
Of some of the stories we've followed on ESPN, Mark Occhilupo, at an unprecedented age 46, occupies the No. 47 slot. His goal this year was to qualify for the Vans Triple Crown, which is very possible. Chris Ward, who came on strong in January has tailed off to No. 53 while his homeboy Cory Lopez is back at 69.
So that's the numbers. The aforementioned Prime-rated Hurley US Open starts July 30. That's the last Prime until October. The 6-star Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championships presented by Vans starts August 20. They will better shape things up as we slide off the backside of 2012.