Is four points just reward for this kind of barbarity?
I’m not exaggerating when I tell you it is, roughly, a 95-5 split on the merits, or not, of Kelly Slater’s backside air, unmade, but ridden out of.
Kelly is a matchless surfer (and, once, a first-rate swordsman, if the rumours are to be believed) and he advanced down a mid-sized left at a canter, though on an oblique line. He looked strong and compact so it was evident that…something… was going to happen.
He threw his blade men the air, seemed to fly into smoke and was lost from view, struggled to get free, but jerked his body enough to remount his board.
Beauty or barbarity?
The photo editor of Surfing Magazine, a purist of the game, wrote: “I guess I’m alone on this one but It seems the world doesn’t care if someone lands on their feet or on their belly. it’s time to start practicing 1080s and just as long as part of my body lands on my board and I can stand up then it’s the craziest move ever. Ok cool. Got it.”
On the beach, a cheer burst from every lip. Men took off their caps and shouted; women clapped their hands again and again. To their inexpressible disgust, the unmade, but ridden out of, air scored a 4.17.
“The greatest underscore in the history of surfing,” said the noted photographer Nate Smith.
“Best four point ride ever!” said the big-wave surfer Mark Mathews.
Kelly is now dead and gone, from contest, beaten by Mick Fanning’s simple, but effective, windmills.
Watch the air here!
And a compressed version of the heat, here.
Meanwhile, Mike Ho, Shaun Tomson, Cheyne Horan, Simon Anderson and Rabs had a heritage heat. And it was rad!
And the quarter-finals are here, very soon!
Filipe Toledo v Joel Parkinson (BeachGrit says Filipe!)
Adriano de Souza v Wiggoly Dantas (BeachGrit says Wiggoly!)
Ace Buchan v Mick Fanning (BeachGrit says Mick!)
Gabriel Medina v Nat Young (BeachGrit says Gabriel!)