Jordy Smith Corona Bali Protected
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. | Photo: WSL/Sloane

Day 6, Keramas: “Jordy’s Passion of the Christ!”

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)

Brodie Jenner
Happy groom Brodie Jenner with daddy/mommy Caitlyn Jenner neé Olympic gold medallist and step-daddy to Kim, Khloe, Kendall etc Bruce Jenner.

Quasi-Kardashian rents world’s most expensive surf resort!

And gets married in front of Coolangatta A-listers!

Shortly, the step-brother of the Kardashian sisters, Brodie Jenner, will enjoy a traditional heterosexual wedding on the Indonesian island of Sumba.

Jenner, who is thirty-three years old and an ol pal of the Mad Hueys as well as Cut Snake principal Paul Fisher, has rented out the entire resort that fronts and owns the rights to Occy’s Left.

Do you remember when it was voted the best hotel in the world?

Read that here. 

For twelve thousand dollars a night, you can rent a five-bedroom estate while a “starter villa” is $US1500 a night. If you want to actually surf the left out the front, you have to peel off an extra c-note every day with a maximum of “one surf slot per villa.”

It really is fabulous.

Brodie”s daddy/mommy, Caitlyn Jenner isn’t on the island (she can’t give up a “lucrative business opportunity) although by cosmic coincidence the woman Brodie’s marrying is also called Kaitlynn.

Let’s scroll through the hashtag #jennerisland. It’s a window into what life might be like if you were pretty and had money in the bank.

And so on.

Throw it up against that wall!
Throw it up against that wall!

New: Surfing’s next great sideshow!

A format that will save professional surfing!

I do hope that you are watching the NBA finals right now even if you aren’t a big basketball fan. Of all the sports and all the leagues in this world the National Basketball Association sure does know how to put on a show. The stars are given proper wattage and this year’s Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavs IV is narrative perfection. We have LeBron James on one side, arguably the greatest of all time and we have Steph Curry on the other, the smoothest operator around.

Last night they locked horns in an epic game one that went into overtime before the Warriors pulled away due, in large part, to Steph Curry’s magnificent shooting. It was he who made 3-point shots sexxy for the first time in basketball history and now that’s what kids on playgrounds mimic, standing very far away from the basket and heaving far-away bombs. LeBron James said, “Chicks dig the long ball.” And he is right.

But now let us naturally transition to Justin Cote, one half of the greatest* brother duo in surfing. I watched a Facebook clip of him recently surfing the Waco wave pool and he mentioned something about “spraying the wall.” I was confused until seeing how much water he smashed against a giant cement wall during a plus-sized cutback. It was like a giant firehose of spray that stuck against the dry grey and was quite impressive. Kelly’s Surf Ranch, as you know, has no wall but rather a chainlink fence.

Watching Justin’s big spray, though, gave me a revelation. Surfing should have a Cutback Series or a Gouge Series or something much like the Air Shows of old wherein the greatest “power surfers” aim to throw the most water, and highest, against a wall. Just imagine! Sunny Garcia vs. Zeke Lau. The Spartan vs. John John Florence. Kieren Perrow vs. Rose Hodge. It would be fantastic watching, clear to the viewer who wins and not dependent on any judging.

Tell me this is the greatest idea since Josh Kerr named his flip Kerrazy. Chicks will soon dig the wet wall.

*not counting the Carrolls.

Wacko In Waco from Superbrand on Vimeo.

Corona Bali Protected
The heat pivoted on a paddle battle with three minutes to go. Jordy greased a slick air, kicked out in front of Gabe, then went toe-to-toe with Medina in a physical paddle battle. I was stunned Jordy won that. Absolutely pole-axed. That left Medina last priority as the clock ticked down and a heat loss he will bitterly rue come year's end.  | Photo: WSL/Sloane

Day 5, Keramas: “Jordy pole-axes Gabriel!”

And challenges Gabriel Medina to fight!

Day five, six, whatever it is caught me on the hop. Women’s heats called on, and it’s not that I’m not interested in womens Pro Surfing – my plan is to transition into full-time coverage and ditch the mens – but after thinking and focussing on pro surfing so much a sportswriter needs some clean air away from the screen. ie. the waves were pumping here. 

The notification came half way through heat one round four. But first should we riff a little more on John Florence? Does his year not recall that famous quote from Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, “How did you go broke?”

“Slowly at first, then all at once.” Paraphrase, I know. 

We’ve failed, so far, to attribute any of the blame to mere randomness, what author Nassim Nicolas Taleb calls the “Black Swan event.” His first loss to Mikey Wright (at Snapper) just occurred from a slightly too sleepy start in a heat where the best waves came to Mikey.

Then at Bells, he was hassled off the first wave by Zeke Lau and over-compensated with patience.

Margarets he is still going and here in Bali he again suffered a slightly too sleepy heat against an unfancied opponent who threw caution to the wind and prevailed. 

Surf journalist Nick Carroll in comments said he could have walked to his second title last year except for a relapse in heat strategy. I see it slightly differently. He was on fire at Bells and should have won his heat against an over-scored Ibelli. Same in J-Bay against Morais. Again, luck: randomness. The subjectivity of judges. If those two events went his way, the title would have been won far sooner.

I don’t believe he wants to walk away.


My short but intensive interviews with him revealed a man of surprising competitive intensity. I take at face value his claims to want to win big by going bigger and redrawing the boundaries of competitive surfing. I believe that is sufficient motivating force for him to be on tour.

But he’s been mugged by the reality of randomness. So far. Problem is now plugging the holes so the losing slowly, heat by heat, doesn’t begat the catastrophe of losing the whole year in a torrent of uncontrolled bad heats. J-bay, more than Ulus, offers a reset. 

Four heats today, in perfect high-perf conditions. Bourez masterful, masterful rail lord in heat one.

Heat two was a banger. Ace out of the blocks quickly, Mikey looked hesitant and slow. Griff patient. In the back third Ace’s lead was reversed as Mikey caught fire then Griff bought full repertoire from rail game to fins out surfing. One thing to note: Mikey has been unable to score using hi-fi surfing and has had to “backpeddle” to the rail game. If he meets Filipe that will be telling. Wright and Colapinto through. 

Jordy stole away from Flores and Medina in heat three to open a slender lead with very big opening turns. Medina looked beastly, again. But could not finish a wave properly to ice a lead. J-Flo played patient tube hound and rode the best waves of the heat. The heat pivoted on a paddle battle with three minutes to go. Jordy greased a slick air, kicked out in front of Gabe, then went toe-to-toe with Medina in a physical paddle battle. I was stunned Jordy won that. Absolutely pole-axed. That left Medina last priority as the clock ticked down and a heat loss he will bitterly rue come year’s end. 

“This really fired me up,” said Jordy in the post-heat presser with Kaipo Guerrero. “We were paddling  and he pulled my leg once and I went, ok accident, twice, I thought that’s deliberate. Put em up. Let’s go.”

“Love it, love it, that passion,” muttered a panicked Kaipo, echoes of Todd Kline’s interview with Bobby Martinez in 2011. 

Jordy had just said, on a live webcast, that he’d been deliberately interfered with by Medina and that he’d subsequently suggested they fight.

No follow-up question. No investigation. No probing.

“Can you carry that passion into the quarter-final?” said Kaipo.


The final matchup with Italo, Filipe and ADS was a slight, slight anti-climax. Not for aficionados of backside surfing because Italo showed the game has changed and he is at the apex of high performance surfing, not John, not Filipe.

It was slight anti-climax because he skipped away so quickly and with so much dominance that it was no contest. He too, can not quite grease one of the towering airs he’s been attempting. If he sticks one, the dam wall will burst. If Australia can support thrre CT’s an actual Bali leg should be a no-brainer, even if the tech billionaires who now seem to control Big Surfing are enthralled with trains in tubs. 

We’ll meet again tomorrow for the final, I guess. 

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 4 Matchups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.00 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.60, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 11.66
Heat 2: Mikey Wright (AUS) 15.80 def. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 13.73, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.50
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.76 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.70, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.76
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 17.00 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.87, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.16

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Griffin Colapinto (USA)
Heat 2: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)


The big diff between the Cloudbreak swells of 2012 and 2018? The tide. The 2012 swell peaked on a radically low tide which birthed the eye-watering "flat-bottomed drainer." | Photo: @ownemilnemedia

Compare: Thundercloud vs Tornadocloud!

How's the great Cloudbreak swell of 2018 compare to the might of 2012?

Last Sunday, on a grey paste porridge day Cloudbreak was devastating. It was the best outside ledge, which only starts to really break at fifteen-foot plus, since the 2012 swell that got turned into the documentary, Thundercloud, by the Australian Talon Clemow.

So how do the two swells compare?

Earlier today, I called the Tasmania-based Clemow, who was there for both swells, to discuss whether or not the comparison is warranted.

First, I wanted to know what it was about Cloudbreak that thrilled the filmmaker so much.

Clemow says the thing about Cloudbreak, and what separates it from other big-wave joints like Mavericks or Shipsterns or Dungeons, is that you can surf it at two feet or twenty feet.

“And” he says, “It has everything, beauty, the water. It offers so much and in terms of quality and if you get the right swell direction it can produce magnificent results.”

As for the two swells, “They were… different,” he says. “In 2012 there weren’t any jetskis towing in. Everyone was under their own steam and going for it and that created that level of performance. Because if someone got a sick wave someone else would go on a crazier one. This year, the first wave that was ridden was a tow wave. A solid thing, a fifteen footer. In 2012, it was six-to-eight-foot in the morning, maybe ten-foot sets.  This year, I was concerned that because it was so big so early there was no limit to how extreme the day was going to get.”

As for a wave-by-wave comparison, Clemow says the closest thing was Ramon’s twenty-five-footer this year versus a wave in 2012, which you can see below, where Mark Healey bails on his board.

Little Mark Healey gifts his surfboard the view of a lifetime during the Thundercloud swell of 2012.

Other things?

“The channel this year was real crowded. Fifty-plus boats in the channel. And in the lineup which got real crowded when the wind went a buttery south-east two thirds of the guys were wearing those red Quiksilver AirLift vests so it was hard to ID who it was taking off unless it was Ramon or Laurie or whomever. There were definitely a few waves where I had no idea who I was shooting.”

Mostly, howevs, the difference was the tide.

“Check the tide graph. In 2012, it was the seconds lowest tide of the year, 0.13 metres. This year, the low tide was 0.3. That’s a discrepancy of twenty centimetres. In a long period swell that makes a huge difference. In 2012, the swell hit at the bottom of the tide. This year it was on a higher tide and it made a big difference to the roundness. There were no flat-bottom drainers like the one Healey had to dive under.”

Anything else?

“The secret’s out,” says Clemow.