Jordy Smith says, "I'm tired of spending money to finish almost last!"
Caught on the hop again. Up in the dark reading the latest Surfline forecast for Bali and they said unfavourable conditions all weekend with onshore winds. No matter, I had meat goats showing up and the fencing had to be staunch, those evil-eyed motherfuckers will climb over anything.
So once more, I missed the Women’s quarters and got back to it as the best four heats of the year went down for the Men’s Tour.
I will say one thing though, because I detest tokenism, an observation based on Snapper/Lemoore and what little I have seen of the womens surfing in Keramas. There is now insignificant difference between genders in the basics of rail surfing fundamentals. Observe Tyler Wrights second scoring ride in her semi against Tatiana Weston-Webb and compare with Jordy Smith’s power turns.
Not a struck match between them.
Thirty-two-year-old power surfing dreamboat Michel Bourez, a man whose sexual power exudes so strongly through the screen I forbid my wife from entering the room when he surfs, vs 19-year-old Griffin Colapinto, whose head bobbling smirk after a big ride may yet turn out to be the best psych-out weapon in surfing going head to head in perfect surf. Sheet glass. Tubes, steep walls, cupped out lips etc etc. A flurry of rides to get started by Colapinto. Three waves in three minutes. I make two falls going above the lip. Bourez cooly ices a dreamy tube and power hack combo.
Earlier, we identified the two correct, but contrasting approaches to Keramas. The Parko line, ie. the deep-tube-to-full-rail-cutback-back-into-the-bowl, now renamed the Bourez line, and the hi-fi straight-up-and-over-line, maybe the Toledo Line.
Griff went Toledo to start, which is great, except without a big make going back to power surfing looks like a capitulation. Bourez nailed another scoring ride, fading out of the tube before hacking viciously.
Griff spiked a set, dreamy tube-ride, couldn’t quite cut the power line back into the bowl. Needed an 8.51. Was awarded an 8.5. You kidding me. 13.84 plays 13.83.
Forty-two seconds remaining Griff paddles in gains speed and throws the tail into the sky.
Behind him, as the hooter sounds, Bourez is threading another perfect tube.
Quarter-final two. The 32-year-old Panda verse the 21-year-old Mullet. That Mikey Wright grab rail cut-down seems strangely at odds with the wave after seeing Bourez carve the board right back through the trim line. He has a tendency to slightly bog through turns and lose speed. But also an opening turn harder and more vertical than any other natural foot.
Panda has the best backstory in the League but I find his incessant micro-pumping between turns, especially the opening turn a distraction. I think, a board volume problem. He blows the best tube of the event. The heat is see-sawing. Mikey has the lead then Panda paddles into an absolutely perfect one with a under two minutes remaining.
Judges completely over-cook the score.
On the buzzer, ice-veined Mullet Mikey threads a deep tube then slices and dices.
It’s a winning wave but the previous over-score now puts judges into the position of having to juice the fuck out of it to take the heat. Minutes tick by, you can feel the tropical heat. They give the score.
The passion of the Christ. The passion of Jordy Smith. Passion fruit, passion play. I see Jordy’s aggression to Gabe in historical terms, and very much in the negative for him. Julian Wilson called out Kelly Slater for missing J-Bay one year and threw other shade his way. Kelly was relentless in learning him a lesson. Gabe will likewise punish the Passion of Jordy. At Teahupoo, at Pipe. Jordy just a wrote a cheque that his courage and commitment can’t, or won’t, cash.
Overhead glassy Keramas plays into 23-year- old Filipe’s hands, but even more into 30-year-old Jordy’s (Thirty!, can you believe!). He opens with a back-doored deep tube. The 9.57 is an outrageous over-score. And that is the heat.
Filipe drops his bundle. He can’t put a clean make on and resorts to showy, but phoney turns.
Judges under-score Jordy’s waves to try and even the playing field but it’s all over. Big turns offer what Strider called, “breakfast, lunch, and dinner” and Filipe stumbles, the second Brazilian Title contender in consecutive days to fall victim to the passion of Jordy.
Jordy attributed his winning form to having become “tired of losing” to being over “spending a bunch of money to travel to these places and come almost last.” I see it more as a surfer being supplied with the perfect raw material to showcase their strengths. A tour with nothing but head-high righthand reefs and pointbreaks is a Tour where Jordy Smith is multiple World Champ.
Last Quarter. Twenty-four-year-old Italo Ferreira against 30-year-old veteran Jeremy Flores. Yesterday Pottz claimed no one could touch the “zest for life” of Italo. To which I might add he showed a “frenzied, joyous affirmation of life”. I quote because it belongs to Nietzsche, I think.
Last night, I drove a German gal from airport to Byron Bay. Rock chick in tight jeans, bangs. Snaggle toothed smile.
She said she was from Rocken. No shit.
I said, “Wow, birthplace of Nietzsche”.
“You like,” she said.
“Love him,” I replied.
“Whats your favourite book,” she challenged.
“Nietzsche contra Wagner,” I responded.
“Ooohh, you do love him”.
“Very much so, shame there was no Happy Ending for him in life.”
“You prefer a Happy Ending?”
Don’t we all?
Italo got his, after an incendiary performance of backside and switch surfing. The only criticism that can be levelled by churlish and probably racist scribes, not me, is that some of his surfing was so precise and with so much torque and flair it verged on the mechanical.
Jeremy came back with a deep tube ride and a fins free layback with the foot ala Tom Curren at a pointbreak south of Durban. Judges could not deny Italo. Once again, he launched but could not quite land clean a massive tweaked rotation into the flats. A real ankle buster. If he greases one in the Final, it’s all over.
Unfortunately, the two best surfers of the event will meet in the semi’s.
I think, we finish tomorrow? Maybe.
Corona Bali Protected Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.17 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 14.43
Heat 2: Mikey Wright (AUS) 14.93 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 14.86
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.34 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.40
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.20 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.73
Corona Bali Protected Men’s Semifinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Italo Ferreira (BRA)