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Bottle’s Tour Corkers – A Mixed Bag of Lollies

by on Monday 3rd March, 2014   6712 Visits   Comments

I think Adriano is going to be the 2014 world champ, Kelly Slater didn't say to Mick Fanning. © 2014 ASP/ Kirstin

Jay Bottle Thompson decants some thoughts on the 2014 ASP World Tour. Seeing as the Quik Pro has already started and we have the benefit of hindsight, you can critique his predictions in real time.

So here we go again, 2014, like every other bloody year has been highly anticipated. Blood, sweat and tears will be lost, multi-million dollar contracts will be signed, new aerials will be invented, champagne will sting the eyeballs of the champions on podiums and surfboards will be copping a few average left/right hook combos after losses. 

Another long intense, sometimes gruelling year on the ASP World Dream Tour, with hard working, dedicated, and talented earthlings striving for the title and being crowned the king and queen of the world. Well, maybe not the world, but teeny tiny percentage of the globe that follows surfing.

Early indications are positive, all the athletes are embracing the changes, Tweeting, Instagramming and blogging the new ASP logo. Rumour has it that Matt Wilkinson got the logo tattooed on his inner left thigh by a gnarly Australian biker. #yolo
 There have been massive changes behind the scenes of ASP for 2014, from what I gather ASP entered in to an agreement with ZoSea Media to take over all the tour rights. To cut a long story short, ZoSea now run the show. As with any new agreement, not everybody was happy. I have spoken with some media sources who have lost jobs in the process, although like an off lemon there is some bitterness, they are concerned with the future of the sport and worried that Zosea wont live up to the expectation that they have promised.
 
Early indications are positive, all the athletes are embracing the changes, Tweeting, Instagramming and blogging the new ASP logo. Rumour has it that Matt Wilkinson got the logo tattooed on his inner left thigh by a gnarly Australian biker. #yolo

If you are looking at Snapper Rocks this week, they have pretty much built a new town on the sand, its reminds me of the “Magic Kingdom of Fantasia” from the movie, The Never-ending Story. The new ASP has also confirmed that the event at JBay is back on the schedule for 2014. This got the juices bubbling for the boy’s on the elite tour. They were jumping up and down like they just scored a date with the Dalai Lama.
 

Carissa Moore is a bang tidy surfer, perfectly illustrates with this power punch. © 2014 ASP/ Kirstin

The gentlemen are not the only ones benefiting from the changes; the ladies/gurfers (girl surfers) are absolutely frothing too. Female Professional Surfing was looking pretty bleak to say the least in recent years. Struggling to find major sponsorships and having to cut back on events. The new ASP has pretty much doubled the prize money and rejuvenated the Women’s World Tour with three fresh in events in 2014. Fiji and Trestles to start, and then, the icing on the cake – the ladies are heading back to Maui to decide their World Title and work on their tans. It’s great to see that female surfing is finally getting the recognition it deserves.

So who will win this year’s World Title? I wish I could put myself in the mix, but I’m too busy scratching around like bush turkey looking for earthworms! That is, looking for a couple of extra pennies to get around the globe to compete on the World Qualifying Series for what feels like my 67th consecutive year.

So here is my inside scoop on which surfers I think will take the unicorn by the horn in 2014 and trample over the other competitors like a wild brumby trying to escape the man from Snowy River.  
 

We don’t have to waffle on too much about Parko. We all know his surfing is more therapeutic than getting a one hour Shiatsu massage. © 2014 ASP/ Cestari

The Usual Suspects

 
First cab of the rank would have to be the 11 times ASP World Champion, the one and only Chuck Norris. I mean Robert Kelly Slater, (however, it would be funny to see Chuck storming up to the judging scaffolding, turning them in to one big human stir-fry after they didn’t give him the score he wanted). We all know Kelly is a freak of nature; pretty much immortal on land and in the water, there are next to no flaws in his surfing. Slater will be only disadvantaged if he is surfing 1ft lefts in a heat against Gabriel Medina. He means business this year, the other day in a press conference he confirmed he’ll be attending all the events in 2014. For Kelly to commit publicly for the first time in a long time, this is a dangerous thought.

Michael Eugene Fanning stepped it up in 2013 to clinch his third title. He employed a tribe of humans to help and support him throughout the year.  I feel this little Irish Leprechaun has another title in him. Mick is surfing like a cat on acid and he is my pick for the crown in 2014.

Joel Porky Parkinson – We don’t have to waffle on too much about Parko. We all know his surfing is more therapeutic than getting a one hour Shiatsu massage.  This smooth operator will be a title contender, I will bet my left fig on it.

Now I will bet my right fig that one of the following surfers mentioned in this next sentence will win the world title in the next five years. Gabriel Medina, Julian Wilson and John John Florence.Taj Burrow – Will this little meat pillow ever get the pleasure of polishing the world crown? One thing I love about TB’s act is he actually lives the so-called “dream”. He loves surfing, training, sipping tins with the boys, shouting his mates on fun trips to exotic locations and most of all he loves competing.  He is more persistent than a starving seagull begging for a chip at the local park. If he can combo this persistence with consistence, Taj will get his long lost crown in 2014.

Jordy Smith – This large chunk of South African Biltong is destined for a big year in 2014. I feel like the last few years Jordy has not been 100% committed and he still managed to get 4th in the world in 2013. I know for a fact Jordy has been training hard, has a full-time coach and is ready for his first ASP World Title. His consistency in backhand tube riding has let him down in the past. However, if he can somehow manage to park that big butt a little deeper in some gaping left funnels he will be a favourite to win the title.

The 3 Stooges – Now I will bet my right fig that one of the following surfers mentioned in this next sentence will win the world title in the next five years. Gabriel Medina, Julian Wilson and John John Florence. These gifted earthlings have more talent than a beach full of beautiful ladies in gee-strings. It’s only a matter of time before they all run away with the World title and take the entire sport to a whole new level. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these characters snatches the crown from Fanning by the end of this year.
 

The long awaited return of Owen Wright. Well he took his bloody time didn’t he? © 2014 ASP/ Cestari

Outside Chancers

 
These humans are all capable of titles if every little measly star in the sky align. First, the long awaited return of Owen Wright. Well he took his bloody time didn’t he? It was a couple of years ago when Owen was all up in Slater’s grill contesting for his own first world title. It wasn’t the Cinderella story as predicted for Wright, but this human avatar has shown Planet Earth that he has what it takes to win a title.

Adriano De Souza – One word describes this fiery Brazilian “passionate”. He is arguably the most consistent athlete on tour. He has been knocking on the door for the last couple of years and reminds me of Smeagol from the Lord of the Rings – ready to pounce on the title if anyone faults.

Michel Bourez AKA Spartan, if Michel decides to ever retire, he could switch his bag of mince into some tighty whities and be an underwear model for Calvin Klein. The Spartan had a breakthrough year in 2013 and was a bee’s dick away from taking out Keramas in Bali. He is now an official threat on tour. Everyone will have to bring their A-game to get passed this Tahitian warrior.  

The rest – I honestly can’t pick the rest, from a more experienced and calculated approach from the likes of Adrian ‘Ace’ Buchan to the more scattered uncalculated approach of Filipe Toledo or Sebastian Zietz.

There are so many talented humans on tour to choose from. It reminds me of a candy store, you will always have your favourites but there is so many more flavours that will give your taste buds orgasmic contractions. Do you go with the golden oldies, or do you step out of the box and try something new? Either way we are set up for another epic race towards the world title and and exciting year for the tour both in and out of the water.

Love Bottle

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