Kai Otton wins the Rip Curl Pro at Supertubos, this was the goofy-footed dangerman's first Tour win and vindication of his attacking approach over the last few events. A popular winner if ever there were one.
Kai's natural tendency is to overthink and you could see him nervously pushing back those unruly curls, blowing his cheeks out, trying to dispel the nerves with 10 minutes to go and the lead firmly in the bag.
“It’s the weirdest feeling ever, I just can’t comprehend it,” an ecstatic Otton said. “I really want to dedicate it to my Granddad, he passed away the year I qualified and never saw me on tour so this is for him. It seems like this event was a little bit of a grind, every heat the tide changed so dramatically you never really knew what was going to happen!”
“It’s the weirdest feeling ever, I just can’t comprehend it. I really want to dedicate it to my Granddad, he passed away the year I qualified and never saw me on tour so this is for him. It seems like this event was a little bit of a grind, every heat the tide changed so dramatically you never really knew what was going to happen!”Kai Otton
“One of the things that has changed for me this year is my girlfriend being pregnant, I’m pretty excited about that,” Otton continued. “It’s unbelievable, it’s the next chapter I’m really looking forward to. It’s amazing to have all of the support, all my home town of Tathra, my Mom and Dad who supported me all of my career. To get here is kind of a pinnacle for me.”
All Mick needed to achieve in order to drop Slater out of the title race was to get to the semi finals. The wind was light variable, the swell building gently. Not the picture perfect offshore which makes Supertubos turn into a barrel machine, but some of the best waves of the event. Contest director, Damian Hard-man, by name and nature, drafted in at the last minute to bully the surfers into the water had called it just right.
If Mick won his all-Aussie Quarterfinal that was it, niggly processional maths aside he would be a three time World Champion. Would Kai Otton help Mick out in the Quarterfinals? Did he heck. The Aussie contingent on tour run together but compete hard. Exemplified by Julian Wilson shouting: "how many times are they going to put him through heats!" Upon narrowly losing to Parko.
Kai had made three Quarterfinals in a row and seems rejuvenated and refreshed in a year which has consistently gone against the hype. John John Florence, who Otton beat in Round 5 earns a reported five million dollars a year. Kai probably hasn't earned that in his career and is 12 years his senior. Kai stuffed John John and then cancelled Mick's World Title party whilst claiming Mick owed him for Kelly out of Brazil all those years back. Someone has all these IOUs stored somewhere safe and Kai Otten could potentially have decided two world titles.
Nat Young kicked off the winning earlier in the day with a deserved Rookie of the Year award. "It feels amazing to achieve your goals. This is what you work for." He said before reminding everyone that he had his beady eye on the prize. "I'm still going in this event." He almost managed it.
Three things you need to take away from Supertubos:
1. The World Title showdown moves to Pipeline where the wildcards are more more dangerous than the Tour stalwarts and Mick needs to get a third to win. Kelly needs to win the whole thing.
2. This was the first goofy to win at Supertubos and the winner's first ever ... win. This statement would have applied to either finalist.
3. Matty Wilkinson had a new wetsuit design but needs a result more. The World Tour needs him.
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Kai Otton (AUS) 12.23
2 – Nat Young (USA) 11.03
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL SEMI-FINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.83 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.23
SF 2: Nat Young (USA) 14.07 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.66
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL QUARTER-FINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.07 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.90
QF 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 10.00 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 9.43
QF 3: Nat Young (USA) 15.10 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.54
QF 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.67 def. C.J Hobgood (USA) 8.56
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 5 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.17 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.10
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 14.60 def. John John Florence (HAW) 12.16
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.33 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.90
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 18.40 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.53
RIP CURL PRO PORTUGAL ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.50, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.50, Kai Otton (AUS) 9.90
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.00, John John Florence (HAW) 11.70, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 4.74
Heat 3: Nat Young (USA) 14.67, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 9.60, Josh Kerr (AUS) 6.46
Heat 4: C.J Hobgood (USA) 15.33, Taj Burrow (AUS) 9.30, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 8.17