And Kelly accelerates towards worst season ever! Day one, Pipeline Masters.
What an event of passing contradictions the Pipe Masters is. A quick glance at the six-to-eight-foot hissing waves would’ve suggested nothing but blue tubes with sunbursts dancing over it all, the very best surfers riding ‘em to oblivion.
Tens and tens.
But the famous Pipe ain’t like that. It’s in the middle of the Pacific, for one. All that bellowing of rip and wind.
“I don’t want to be cruel but it’s extremely tough out there,” said the commentator Ross Williams.
And so we must examine these contradictions of a wave so perfect, yet so raw.
Where else might a retiring athlete well into his third decade emerge with the fluid power of a tiger from nowhere and collect a perfect score?
But where else, in the very same event, might a two-point, two-wave total ensure an easy win, as Bede Durbidge discovered in round one against Adam Melling and Wiggly Dantas? The worst heat ever in competition!
The heaviest wave in the world, as some call it, with a perfect air wedge? John John just humps the joint.
And yet his performance, the third-highest heat total of round one, and vigorous enough to suggest he ain’t spent, wasn’t enough to blow past the unnatural white brilliance of Mick Fanning.
With those ping-pong ball eyes bulging on either side of his face, Filipe Toledo almost disintegrated BeachGrit’s #1 pick Jamie O’Brien. That last-second insider just about did the trick but judges are consistent, if anything, and an insider ain’t gonna get you shit.
Kolohe Andino, meanwhile, nearly belted through to round three with a one-wave total.
Kelly Slater continued his trajectory toward his worst year in 22 seasons, possibly spinning out of the top ten. He has the energy of a 20 year year old and he gleams with enthusiasm… such a joy of living!… but it don’t mean a rideable wave is going to appear in front of you.
Who knew he could be so vulnerable?
|BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 14.26, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.33, Glenn Hall (IRL) 1.70
Heat 2: Mason Ho (HAW) 6.17, Jadson Andre (BRA) 5.70, Dusty Payne (HAW) 1.70
Heat 5: Jamie O’Brien (HAW) 8.06, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 7.84, Kolohe Andino (USA) 6.50
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.60, Bruce Irons (HAW) 14.33, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 4.37
Heat 7: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.40, Julian Wilson (AUS) 3.84, Ricardo Christie (NZL) 3.10
Heat 10: John John Florence (HAW) 13.33, Nat Young (USA) 6.67, Brett Simpson (USA) 1.50
UPCOMING BILLABONG PIPE MASTERS ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)