Prediction: defending champ vs lawnmower man from Lennox Head…
Human all too Human.
The dream continues. Great day for the race. Putin pulls out of Syria, Ohio and Florida primaries tomorrow, Stu Kennedy continues his run in the biggest pro surfing cinderella story since…since… the last time a highly fancied sponnoed surfer was parachuted into a comp as wildcard and failed miserably. So, ever.
Not a single military analyst saw Putin’s exit from Syria, same with Kennedy’s wrecking ball run through the draw. Not one commenter picked it, least of all me, and he lives around the corner. Couple of weeks ago I saw him out the front mowing the lawn, thought the dream was over and he was a phone call away from picking up a Jim’s Mowing franchise.
Just by way of preamble, I parked down in the Cooly-gatta by the old ASP headquarters. To get a panorama of the Superbank. If you’re reading in America, or England, or Hawaii, or Israel or South Africa and you haven’t seen this thing, you’re really missing something. It’s phenomenal. A mile of ruler-edged sand, waves of amazing perfection whipcracking at maximum surfboard speed. Not dirty green or brown like Sandspit. They slither like phantasmic eels in electric blue, Tahitian Pacific warm blue. You’ve got to see it, surf it. You only need one. Just one.
From the vantage of the rocks at Little Marley, Stu K out surfed JJF in the morning round four heat in the best looking surf of the event. Rielly asked me to get technical today in the wrap. By that analysis Stu beat with him superior repertoire, turn speed, drive off the bottom and rotational arc.
He failed the first critical finishing move to avoid running over a freesurfer. He fell on the second to open the door for Florence. Those flat spin air reverses from Florence where he hucks off the lip and lands in the flats aren’t pretty and scream busted ankle. But it was enough to get the job done. Kanoa was not in the hunt. He’s had a dream run with low-scoring heats but if real talk rules he would have not made a womens heat today.
Two guys look like Finalists. One is the defending champion and one is a part-timer from Lennox who racked up a hell of a credit card debt chasing the QS after Rip Curl dumped him in his prime. Is he aggressive in the surf, does he take his and yours as well, ala Fanning at the Superbank? Not at all. He’s the most mellow cat out there. No interview today but tomorrow we’ll get down with the Stu and see where the declarations of war come from
By forecasting a Brother revival in 2016 and a QF finish at least I was ridiculed: Brother drops off Tour, Brother has a busted hoof etc etc. To double down on the call, I predict Kolohe Andino to take out the Aussie Leg and vy for the Republican nomination in 2020 as a dual world champion with Snips as VP and Speaker verballing the empty chair.
Two guys look like finalists. One is the defending champion and one is a part-timer from Lennox who racked up a hell of a credit card debt chasing the QS after Rip Curl dumped him in his prime. Is he aggressive in the surf, does he take his and yours as well, ala Fanning at the Superbank? Not at all. He’s the most mellow cat out there. No interview today but tomorrow we’ll get down with the Stu and see where the declarations of war come from. Throw a question in the comments and I’ll get it to him.
Without a media pass I had to hustle with the rest of the cattle and all the dewey eyed groupies looking for a piece of Florence. I wanted to know if had a strategy to rein in Toledo.
“Looks pretty obvious to me,” I said, “that Filipe is surfing at a level well above everyone else. What are you going to do to beat him?”
“Ummm, I don’t know, he’s human too, he’ll make his mistakes. I’m just going to surf my best and not worry about him”.
As a strategy, the human, all-too-human strategy, has worked out badly for JJF in the past. Remember the Final at Margies with De Souza? Waiting for De Souza to make a mistake worked out, how? He just calmly slotted two eights and put Florence to sleep.
Can anyone see Filipe crumbling? Seeing as how every Final he’s been in he’s absolutely crushed his opponent. You’ll have to throw him off the balcony of the fifth floor to cripple him first or give him the pre-heat drug of choice of Wilson and Freestone. He’s going to have to be outsurfed. Or out muscled and harassed by a no name lawn-mower from the Ox.
Can anyone see Filipe crumbling? Seeing as how every Final he’s been in he’s absolutely crushed his opponent. Put the fish and the chicken on the combo plate as Ross Williams would say. Nup. You’ll have to throw him off the balcony of the fifth floor to cripple him first or give him the pre-heat drug of choice of Wilson and Freestone. He’s going to have to be outsurfed. Or out muscled and harassed by a no name lawn-mower from the Ox.
Didn’t the afternoon get weird. The vibe on the beach was low key, kind of non-existent really, the surf faded out so I went looking for expert commentary to watch the final heats unfold. I found it in the form of BeachGrit commenter DeathStar who was manning one of the core surfboard shops on the outskirts of Byron Bay. Deathstar speaks from the perspective of thirty years in the surfboard biz. I asked Deathstar to walk us through the mechanics of the Parkinson/Ibelli restart.
Longtom: What the fuck just happened then Deathstar?
Deathstar: They’ve had a talk and Parko’s said to the young guy “We’re going in” and the young guy’s gone “Yes Mr Parkinson, lets do that”. And an official has told them to get back out there because this is surfing time.
Longtom: So Parko’s verballed him?
Deathstar: I think so. They didn’t stop the clock. The surfers don’t have a right. It’s a professional event and it’s on.
Longtom: Any other sport in the world where that could happen. Where they’d just stop and say “nah we’re done”.
Deathstar: “Maybe golf? If there was an electrical storm. But no, can’t think of another sport where they could just go nah, we’re not doing it. I just think that was massive mind games from Joel Parkinson, the master. I’m flabbergasted by that, we just saw a bit of history.
Longtom: What’s your overall assessment of this event?
Deathstar: It’s been fascinating, I reckon. For a lot of reasons. Definite generational change, it’s actually really coming into effect now. Dunno, I just think it’s a cleaner, better produced product.
Longtom: But is anyone watching, does anyone care?
Deathstar: I think a lot of people are watching but beyond the people who are watching no one gives a shit. Unless something major happens like an 11-time world champ getting taken down by an unknown from Lennox Head.
Longtom: Or a shark attack.
Deathstar: Or a shark attack.
I’m not a betting man, but you’d put Toledo in an unbackable favourite. But if the most famous Kennedy from Lennox Head does get up it’ll be the best time to surf the Point uncrowded: the party will last for weeks and every surfer in the district will be keeping European hours.