And a judging scale that seemed artificially tweaked to reward mediocrity…
Kelly Slater, when asked by Kaipo Guerrero about his thoughts on the impact of Day one of the Founders’ Cup held in a wave system in central California, admitted “I’m in the woods, I’m biased”.
I also offer a similar caveat. I tried so hard to come with an open mind but it’s impossible, three years into the life of the Kelly Slater Wave Ranch, to not have a fully formed opinion locked down.
The reality was a majority mind numbing predictable safety surfing and a judging scale that seemed artificially tweaked to reward mediocrity.
A structural problem is the novelty paradox. After three years of (admittedly brilliant) drip feed marketing from wavepool owners WSL there wasn’t much left to reveal. The promise was futuristic progression on tap, in a stadium atmosphere.
The reality was a majority mind-numbing predictable safety surfing and a judging scale that seemed artificially tweaked to reward mediocrity. When is a tube not a tube? When a surfer can crouch under the lip, fully visible, with a shot clock that I want to borrow in the bedroom for my next sexual performance. To put it delicately, it was flattering. I thought it not possible to score the tube. How could they? When you know it is coming you are basically scoring people for crouching down. They scored the tube.
The tub is killing Raimana, he looks pre-diabetic. Hope he’s going to be OK.
The steady beat of the action, was nice. The leaderboard, when they displayed it, was welcome. There is the germ of a very good idea there. But it didn’t quite work as designed. By mid-way through the second round I’d completely lost touch with the scoring and the leaderboard. It seemed arbitrary and disconnected from reality. When Kaipo said “historic day” I twitched, by the close of the first round I had developed a visceral loathing of Chris Cote, and he seems like a very nice gentleman who has never done a thing wrong by me. The tub is killing Raimana, he looks pre-diabetic. Hope he’s going to be OK.
The left is a porcine joke, suitable for foam climbs and not much else and punctuated by a toy tube section at the end. The most cringeworthy moment of the day came when Pete Mel started yelping like a drowning puppy when Slater did three foam climbs in a row on his penultimate wave of the day. Progression? We see things with different eyes Peter Mel, but if you can tell me that a foam climb on a head high wave was avante-garde any time after 1997 I speak for the surf world in calling your judgement into question.
The right is a decent simulacrum of a high-performance wave except the majority of it can only be surfed with rail free fins only snaps. Anyone trying to engage the rail properly left or right, except as a very finishing manouevre was summarily executed and left to stand in knee high water in front of five thousand fans. Were they baying fans? The broadcast gave no sense of fan engagement except when Kelly did a victory lap with golf claps or took the long walk back down the side of the pool, separated from California’s finest by only a moat of grey-green freshwater and a concrete wall.
The most cringeworthy moment of the day came when Pete Mel started yelping like a drowning puppy when Slater did three foam climbs. Progression? We see things with different eyes Peter Mel, but if you can tell me that a foam climb on a head high wave was avante-garde any time after 1997 I speak for the surf world in calling your judgement into question.
I felt for the camera-men. A staple wide-shot before the train left the station was grim, industrial, like something scripted by Solzhenitsyn. There were no easy options for attractive cutaways, no gals, no beach; just shimmering heatwaves and beer in plastic cups. Round one ended and it was still black on the East Coast of Australia. I tried to catch some sleep but I felt so cold. So bone chilled cold that my blood felt frozen. When I woke, the future was there waiting for me.
No gender disparity existed, as far as I could see. Lakey Peterson and Tyler Wright turned as hard, or harder than men. Carissa Moore and Steph Gilmore rode deeper and more reliably in the tube.
The gals were a revelation. No gender disparity existed, as far as I could see. Lakey Peterson and Tyler Wright turned as hard, or harder than men. Carissa Moore and Steph Gilmore rode deeper and more reliably in the tube. Frankie Harrer from Team Europe: her beat was nice.The inclusion of mainstream CBS sports reporter, the sharp and savvy Jamie Erdahl lifted the mood in the pressers. Fresh blood is desperately needed in the booth.
Drama was hard to come by. The inter-country concept is well tried and well tested in international sport but they need to rejig the format to have any sense of real competition between nations. Tomorrow maybe different. I still cannot understand the format but it looks like there will be a sense of surfers from different nations surfing against each other.
Was the CBS broadcast live when Parko was marooned for an hour by mechanical failure? That must have kept Sophie up at night. Sharks, onshore winds and flat spells are a hazard but the breakdown of the train is a stalking horse that trumps all as a boner kill. Still, it gave us one of the days many delicious ironies: 1978 World Champion Wayne Bartholomew filling dead air detailing the reasoning for the Dream Tour – World’s Best surfers in the World’s Best waves – with the pan cake flat lake as a back drop behind the Michelob encrusted glass.
When play resumed Parko made a wave, his first for the day. He wasn’t the only one to struggle. John Florence fell on both his opening waves… runs? What’s the terminology for these things now, and looked truly and wretchedly discombobulated standing in the shallows. He fell again on his left before loosing the one truly progressive, albeit utterly predictable, air of the day: a tail-high inverted reverse with an incredible landing.
Based on what I saw today I would have Team Brazil first place. Judges have them languishing second last, below the cut. Filipe was the best surfer in the house, daylight second, even if his ten-point ride had a whiff of (historical) desperation about it. Still, he was the only surfer during the whole day to punt mid way through the ride. Another irony, bitter this time: the predictability of man-made perfection was designed and sold on the premise of loosing creativity and risk.
Based on the evidence from today, it has done exactly the opposite.
More to come etc etc.
Founders’ Cup of Surfing Qualifying Runs:
L1 = First Lefthand Wave
R1 = First Righthand Wave
Lakey Peterson – L1: 6.6, R1: 7.83, L2: 2.77, R2: 7.93
Kolohe Andino – L1: 8.5, R1: 6.00, L2: 8.8, R2: 7.43
Carissa Moore – L1: 7.43, R1: 9.27, L2: 8.37, R2: 9.43
John John Florence – L1: 3.43, R1: 6.63, L2: 5.3, R2: 9.8
Kelly Slater – L1: 8.80, R1: 8.47, L2: 8.6, R2: 7.87
USA Team Total: 80.83
Tyler Wright – L1: 4.83, R1: 9.1, L2: 6.4, R2: 9.33
Joel Parkinson – L1: 3.5, R1: 6, L2: 3.53, R2: 7.4
Mick Fanning – L1: 7.43, R1: 8, L2: 9.07, R2: 8.43
Stephanie Gilmore – L1: 8.63, R1: 8.23, L2: 5.53, R2: 2.17
Matt Wilkinson – L1: 8.37, R1: 3.83, L2: 4.5, R2:6.43
Australia Team Total: 75.82
Bianca Buitendag – L1: 7.6, R1: 2.5, L2: 6.77, R2: 4.93
Kanoa Igarashi – L1: 2.17, R1: 8.83, L2: 3.87, R2: 4.5
Michel Bourez – L1: 8.8, R1: 7.5, L2: 5.5, R2: 4.5
Jordy Smith – L1: 7.27, R1: 9.07, L2: 8.87, R2: 4.53
Paige Hareb – L1: 7.53, R1: 7.93, L2: 7.43, R2: 8.33
World Team Total: 75.33
Taina Hinckel – L1: 2.17, R1: 4.17, L2: 5.5, R2: 4.1
Filipe Toledo – L1: 7.83, R1: 6.93, L2: 4.2, R2: 10
Gabriel Medina – L1: 6.67, R1: 7.83, L2: 6.87, R2: 9.17
Adriano de Souza – L1: 6.83, R1: 7.93, L2: 3.93 R2: 4.93
Silvana Lima – L1: 5.5, R1: 7.73, L2: 5.67, R2: 8.33
Brazil Team Total: 72.3
Frankie Harrer – L1: 5.73, R1: 1.93, L2:5.87, R2: 3.83
Leonardo Fioravanti – L1: 8, R1: 8.17, L2: 3.73, R2: 9.57
Johanne Defay – L1: 6.67, R1: 0.77, L2: 5.33 R2: 7
Frederico Morais – L1: 7.17, R1: 3.07, L2: 7.17, R2: 6.77
Jeremy Flores – L1: 8, R1: 8.47, L2: 8.77, R2: 7.77
Europe Team Total: 72.12