As another year of epic world tour action draws to a close, we look back on some of the heats the WSL nominated to be in the running for heat of the year.
First up was this epic showdown in Fiji, featuring world title winner John John Florence (who you will notice pops up rather a lot) and Gabriel Medina. Pumping conditions and a seriously good showing from the boys, including a 10 from Medina and some physics defying drops from JJF meant this heat lived up to the hype. Here are the highlights:
Next on the list is that incredible round 4 match featuring Felipe toledo, Stu kennedy and John John in France. John John got on a roll early, pulling big combinations with a mixture of explosive manoeuvres and long drainers, however in the latter half of the heat minutes Felipe answered back, first snagging a perfect little Hossegor keg and then, in the dying minutes, boosting one of the best airs of the year, sending John John into round 5 at a particularly critical stage in his world title race:
The penultimate pick features JJF once again, this time up against Taj Burrow, who was surfing his last ever CT heat before retiring. It went down in incredible wave conditions at Cloudbreak, without a breath of wind. It was destined to be a landmark heat considering it was the the last of Taj’s epic competitive career, but Huey really came to the party on this one, throwing out near perfect waves and light winds, giving the mohawk sporting crowd of pros in the channel plenty to cheer about:
The final one made the list as it was probably the most controversial heat of the year, with the aftermath throwing up one of the biggest backlashes ever seen against world tour judging (which we summed up here).
It featured Medina, who was at a critical point in his quest for another world title and local wild card Tanner Gudauskas. Medina took a wave and earned himself an 8.3, which came in just below the score he needed, giving Tanner the nod, much to the surprise of the commentary team. Potts has since decided that the experience was ‘character building’ For Medina. Here’s a clip comparing that 8.30 with Tanner’s 8.67 from earlier in the heat, so you can make your own mind up: