“A twitching convulsion of vicious drivel passing itself off as journalism.”

Welcome to the 2023 pre-season BeachGrit Power Rankings! Are you excited?! 

Wait, no? 

35. Jadson Andre
Placing here based on me wanting to use “Now if we be dead with Jaddy, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Jaddy being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto Bob [Kellz]. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto Bob through Jaddy our Lord,” after he wins Pipe.

34. Liam O’Brien
Injured and ousted off Tour last year before he even had the chance to surf, we get to see him cut on skill this year.

33. Michael Rodrigues
Michael comes back to the Tour following… I guess he’s been surfing, right? I don’t know. Hold onto your acai bowls, Letty.

32. Ryan Callinan
Still remember a time watching the hugely impressive backside boosts in Blow Up. That was a long time ago.

31. Ramzi Boukhiam
Having spent 10 years on the ‘QS and Challenger Series, the Moroccan Kelly Slater finally qualified for the ‘CT this year! How fun! I’ve read somewhere… or heard maybe?… it be said that Ramzi’s long tenure in the minor leagues should not be taken as an indication of his true talent level. I don’t know about that, but maybe people like David Scales are right and he becomes the first 29-year-old rookie worth watching ever! With a busted ankle already, it’s not looking great.

30. Jake Marshall
With a surprisingly successful rookie year last year, highlights for him being 1) beating JJF at Sunset and; 2) somehow managing to be on the right side of the cut line after Margs, Young Snake gets to take on Pipe this year with the benefit of a middling seed, free to continue not making any barrels.

29. Jackson Baker
Looking like a mustachioed Humpty Dumpty, Jacko heads into the 2023 season determined to improve his rating… I mean, I’m assuming, since usually people want to do better than they previously did… anyway… 

28. Rio Waida
A possible Rookie-of-the-Year candidate this year, Rio might do well! He also might not. He could finish anywhere from 11 to 34.

27. Caio Ibelli
Caio had a great year last year, bagging three semi-finals and finishing in the Top-10 by year’s end. Seems a little weird then that I’d have him here.

26. Ian Gentil
It would be fun to get Ian to comment on his views on Israel’s new government. 

25. Matthew McGillivray
Mr. Post-It pulled a rabbit out of his prolapsed rectum to survive the mid-year cut last year to the excitement of precisely six people in the world. I wonder if one of the six includes the person who let him park in their alleyway carport in the Make or Break episode where they pretended he was homeless.

24. K-Hole Andino
Never having been particularly good at anything, I like to imagine that life as a former child prodigy would in most circumstances be hard and/or bleak. A hyped adolescence giving way to a life of unfulfilled potential and cheap jokes at their expense, an existence that becomes largely and broadly defined by questions concerning what if? What ifs in general, about any subject, while maybe not fun for the failed wunderkind when directed toward him, are entertaining for everyone else almost no matter what, the debate becoming infectious.

When it comes to the surf world, the two most exciting what ifs to contemplate being 1) what if Ms. Defay and I had responded to each other’s separate DMs about a year and a half ago? and; 2) what if K-Hole’s dad wasn’t Dino and he was born in 1987? I am 100% certain that in that scenario, K-Hole would not have become a professional surfer and would have spent his sophomore year in high school wearing tube socks paired with Adidas slides, calf-length jean shorts, and a bright orange University of Miami (calling it “The U”) Ken Dorsey jersey and speaking in a blaccent.   

23. Maxime Huscenot
It has been a hard, long road for the Frenchman, a road marked by the interluding tragic episodes that comprised the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre before his eventually qualification for the World Championship Tour via the Edict of Nantes, an uneasy peace that, hopefully, we will not have to revisit.

22. Seth Moniz
A great start to the year last year, Seth eventually got injured and then apparently decided that he’d better trying to audition for the Three Stooges (so much falling). If the surf is good, he should have no problem requalifying and maybe barge his way into the Top-10.

21. Joao Chianca
The most exciting rookie on Tour last year, dazzling viewers in losing efforts to Double John at both Pipe and Bells, Baby Chumbo didn’t make the cut and embarrassingly finished below human television static, Jake Marshall, in the Rookie-of-the-Year race, won by Eyebrow Williams.

20. Leonardo Fioravanti
Winner of the Challenger Series last year following being cut from Tour last year, Leo will have to work very hard and be quite lucky for me to not mention Roberto Benigni in reference to him… wait, shit…

19. John John Florence
Married and living with the Kafkaesque-sized injury bug that has plagued him since 2017, not to mention worrying about his clothing brand, John John might not have what it takes to compete for a Title this year. Is this stupid of me to say? Yes. 

18. Samuel Pupo
Sammy joins Bruce and Mikey in the Younger Professional Surfer Brother Whom Some, Consumed by a Case of Spoken Diarrhea, Have Said “Could” Be Better Than Their Older Brother but Actually Isn’t Club. Epic. 

17. Jordan Michael Smith
After a bad year last year, one that saw our ageing hero dispassionately and passively drive a stake through the widely held idea that he could win a World Title, Jordan’s career is at a crossroads. Should he try to win, only to fall short yet again? Or should he give up on winning and be content cruising and making the cut? Either way, ten years down the road, we’ll get to see him have a surfing cameo in some young hot ripper’s video and think that he sorta rips and remember that he was pretty good.

16. Zeke Lau
Another year, another time for people like me to convince themselves that things will be different and Zeke will finally become a Top-10 surfer. Like the serially on and off again ex that you knew things inevitably would not work out with, but you kept going back to just because she was there, available, still looked OK, and hadn’t realized there were more than the five guys she had ever dated in the world for her, maybe things will work out for Zeke… at least until he realizes that becoming a server at Tommy Bahama is the better option.

15. Callum Robson
Equipped with a virtually anonymous profile and decent enough rail game heading into last season, like Morgan before him, Callum was able to intoxicate the judges with potatoes and potatoes surfing to great results! Hopefully unlike Morgs, he doesn’t shit the bed this year. 

14. Connor O’Leary
Surfing’s jack of all trades, master of none, Connor was entertaining enough last year, coming out against the cut and not-winning last minute in G-Land, all while surfing well enough to requalify. It appears as if he just might yet reach his ceiling, settling into the role as the new Ace.  

13. Nat Young
Nat’s a pretty good surfer, one who should be able to leverage his backside surfing, which the judges have rated highly in the past, to make enough heats to requalify in case he doesn’t go very far at Pipe.

12. Barron Mamiya

Blitzing the field and winning the second event of the year at Sunset to take the early ratings lead, Barron steadily slid down the ratings, finishing no better than ninth in any contest the rest of the year. Taking just the results, one might think that he sucked the rest of the year, which was not the case, he ripped, especially in his heat with the year’s Golden Boy, Jack Robbo, at Margs where after the comp Pritamo was found with head lodged up into Jack’s colon. 

11. Kelly Slater
How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop according to that owl? More than the number of event wins Kelly has left in him. Still the prime surfer to watch at Pipe and Te-ah-hu-p-o-o-o-o, I’m more excited for Kelly to get on the mic and start to focus on his next true life calling telling stories about himself while commentating surf contests.

10. Kanoa Igarashi
In coming up with a rating for Kanoa going into this year, I was conflicted. Based on his trip to Finals Day and placing in the Top 5 at the end of the year, you’d expect him to be high on the list. Easy enough, except I kept not being able to consider into the equation his surprisingly low standing in the unpublished and unwritten “BeachGrit Presents: The Rizz* Power Rankings,” where I think I would write, “while sometimes able to benefit off white girls thinking he may be a member of some K-Pop band, Kanoa’s ability to pull women by a trio of factors, including 1) the words he speaks sounding distorted and somewhat muffled like he’s trying to talk to someone underwater; 2) him referring to himself in the third-person, and; 3) his insistence on incessantly misquoting the Art of World to prospective partners in order to make himself seem more intelligent and worldly.” 

9. Ethan Ewing
As an armchair surf coach, I think that a winning strategy for Ethan would be to catch more waves, while also making sure to surf them better than anyone else. Sorry, I commissioned the team responsible for stupid talking head debate sports show to write Ewing’s section for me because I kept falling asleep.

8. Italo Ferreira
With the return of Gabe full-time, Italo should be able to surf well enough to make the Top 10 but probably not able convince everyone that he is the clearly best goofy on Tour like he had the opportunity to do last year. 

7. Yago Dora
This is the year that Yago takes over as the second-best goofy on Tour. Mark that down.

6. Filipe Toledo
With the tub on the schedule and Trestles, where he can exhibit his best-in-the-game rail and top tier aerial abilities, still looming as the Finals Day location, Fil isthe overwhelming favorite to take the Title. 

Why rated here then? 

Mostly because, even with the recent run of large swell in Southern California, I have not seen him surf any waves larger than head high in any clips recently, the newly added geometric lines to his lion chest tattoo looks awful, and… no, that’s it.

5. Griffin Colapinto
Possessing an all-around skillset that should allow him to compete for a win at nearly every venue on the schedule this year, save Wave Ranch, Griff will make it into the Top 5 by year’s end.  

4. Jack Robinson
Having Finals Day at Trestles hurts Jack more than any other Title contender. At almost any other high-performance good wave around the world, he could be reasonably considered a favorite. Problem is at Lowers I’d more likely believe that he would be attacked by a shark than be able to beat either Fil or Gabe there, both of whose skills in that wave are a level far beyond anybody else’s by an order of magnitude greater than else perhaps any other venue, save the tub. That being the case, I have to just mention that December of this year will mark the 10-year anniversary of the last crowned Aussie World Champion. So sad.

3. Miguel Pupo
Still vicariously riding high from his win in Tahiti at the end of last year, I am placing Miguel here for no other reason than I like him, want him to do well, and I do what I want.

2. Gabriel Medina
Back in action after missing the first half of last year on a self-imposed hiatus for emotional healing and then the final two events for physical healing, Gabe is a lock to make it to Finals Day on his way to a possible fourth World Title. When he gets there, he is the only one I have any confidence in that could beat Toledo, as he did in 2021. His ability at all event locations, including specifically Hawaii and Tahiti, where Fil might decide to use the excuse of trying to not injure himself, will likely have him holding onto first position going into the Finals, with the opportunity to only need to take two of three heats.

1. Luke Shepardson
During what was considered by one Billiam Kemper to be “the best day in surfing history,” Luke etched his name into everlasting (next 20 or so years, at least) surf glory by winning the Eddie in front of an adoring, mostly digital audience, who liked the idea of the humble, North Shore lifeguard taking it to the pros, like Billiam, who do this sort of thing for a living. Or maybe I just did. Either way, I am delighted to take the easy way out and confer upon him the title of Most Powerful.

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