Judges "negligent," says the shaper Matt Biolos.
As the rich and good looking Julian Wilson gallops towards a world title in his thirtieth year, it might be interesting to examine pivotal heats en route to this title and the response thereof.
Five days ago, Julian won a semi-final heat at Uluwatu against the similarly rich but not-quite-so good looking Kolohe Andino. The result was not received well by all surf fans.
BeachGrit‘s Longtom had a swing (“Kolohe got absolutely cooked by this phenomenon, the overcooking of Julian’s scores. He was clearly the better surfer, on the better waves doing the better surfing against Julian in semi one.”) and the commentary accompanying the heat video on YouTube was similarly in favour of the moustachioed American.
“Kolohe’s barrel wave was at least an8 something. Bad scoring, bad characters at wsl.”
“Kolohe surfed better in this heat. Came down to Kohole’s barrel compared to Julian’s barrel. Kolohe was deeper, it was a bigger set wave, and he did more aggressive turns.”
“another rigged heat!!? wtf? how many rigged heats in a contest can you have? wsl, when you’re like the whl and nobody remembers yo or what you were,,, don’t complain because you’re becoming irrelevant,,,, fast.”
“Result manipulation. Kalohe was clearly harmed. Your 7.70 should be 8.70. WSL without credibility.”
“Kolohe clearly won & jordy even more so in heat before… wsl is disgusting.”
‘So sad to see how WSL is manipulating the score in favor of JW, it is not a honest way to manager the sport!”
“First they favor him through vs jordy and now vs kolohe man as an australian I feel sorry for julian the judges making everyones energy negative towards him and its not his faut he was overscored. Every decent surfer I know agrees julian was gifted in this heat.”
“I don’t know who got robbed worse, Kolohe or Jordy. That dumb girl Sophie must have a crush on Julian.”
Kolohe’s shaper Matt “Mayhem” Biolos was equally convinced his surfer had been cut off at the knees, jumping onto the FCS Instagram account and calling the result a “blatant rip off.”
Shortly afterwards, BeachGrit’s Chas Smith took pleasure in kneading Biolos’ clay into a story, which you can read here.
It was a short piece and the writer didn’t contact Biolos who subsequently expressed his dissatisfaction in a DM.
“Stirring the pot. Damn, you guys used to call me to elaborate. Not any more, huh?”
Earlier today, I called Biolos, who was about to drive to LA for a flight to Fiji where he’ll be joining Strider Wasilewski on Tavarua, to elaborate.
I say, “Blatant rip off. A sentiment hard to misinterpret.”
“Maybe those words weren’t right,” says Biolos. “I was grouchy and jet-lagged. Blatant means the judges purposely did it and maybe they were just negligent. Just a negligent mistake. They made an honest mistake. And it wasn’t just me who thought it. I watched it individually in the middle of the night and I was blown away. Obviously there was a storm of social media and even legitimate media you like you and Stab believed Kolohe won. I mean, the criteria is speed power and flow. He was going faster, with bigger more powerful turns and better flow. Julian was kinda pivoting and hitting the lip but I don’t think he was projecting nearly as much or linking his turns like Kolohe. Nothing against Julian. He’s surfing very well and I worked closely with him for a long time and I hope he wins a world title. I think it’s his year. The judges obviously think so too.”
I express my belief that there’s something…tight… about Julian, where his phenomenal, beautiful, natural skill isn’t allowed a room to breathe.
“A little mechanical, yeah. Kolohe suffers the same fate. They get knotted up. It’s a similar hiccup in their game. But I thought Ulu’s was (Kolohe’s) to win. The draw was gong down and watching him in that heat with Julian, I thought he’s going to win this heat, he’s going to win the contest. Didn’t happen.”
I missed the semi live, and therefore missed the spike of emotion, and found Julian a clear winner and that, despite claims to the contrary, most heats are a points-per-manoeuvre deal.
“I was watching it live and Kolohe was doing harder turns, going faster, his flow was a lot better and, bottom line, Kolohe’s 6.83 was the best wave of the heat. It sure as hell wasn’t a 6.83.”
After the post, Julian’s brother, and manager, Bart Wilson, called Biolos to register his complaint and ask why Biolos thought Kolohe had won.
“That’s how I felt. I’m not going too hide from it,” says Biolos. “I’m not going to comment on your website and I’ll never, ever, ever sign up to comment on anyone’s website. But fuck it. I’m going to defend my guy. I think he got screwed. I think he’s chronically underscored. Maybe he’s done a few things in his career to welcome that.”
Like board punching and being very sad after a loss?
“You know as well as I do, things like that, and being very successful financially, numerous things. But if you know him as a man, as a person, he’s awesome. Kolohe asks me, does it bother me when he punches a board? I’ve been watching baseball players break their bats for a hundred years. It’s not as if Louisville Slugger throws a temper tantrum every time Mark McGwire breaks a bat.
“I think that there’s a lot of scoring on the WSL where they score the surfers not the competitors. They score Gabriel Medina against what he can do, not in the actual heat he’s in. ”