Say it ain't so!
DH Lawrence had Mornings in Mexico, surfers have afternoons in Indonesia. Didn’t it look pretty? Enticing.
And so nice to have Barton back in the mic, a surprisingly pleasant combination with Joey Turpel.
I won’t say anything about the theatrics or otherwise of John’s injury other than to note a: he walked up the beach unaided so rule out an ACL injury and b: how perfectly timed, how coincidental after D. Rielly prophesied a transition away from the Tour and I beseeched Ross to get his man out of the game, at least for a short while to get his head right.
And then it happened, right on cue. Spooky.
“John is like any other guy out here, when he has pent up energy from a frustrating loss, he’s going to find a way to decompress. Johns style of decompressing is looking for big sections and sending it. I was holding my breath the minute he paddled out. I knew he was feeling jumpy. At one point I looked at him from the beach and gestured to take it easy! Haha. In my position it’s sketchy watching him surf like that cause I want him to be ready for the next comp, but you can’t tell someone like John to just surf safe. It’s not in his nature……..thankfully so.” @rosswilliamshawaii
At the least, John John now avoids the horrific prospect of getting his clock cleaned by Mikey Wright again. Room to breathe away from the glare of the spotlight and the slow burning meltdown of his campaign this year.
God, the natural-foots going left looked strange for a heat or two, been so long since we have seen their backhand. Owen snuck past Asing, Kolohe Andino, former great white hope for America achieved his first excellent score of the year to defeat Jesse Mendes. Jordy completely overpowered a hapless Michael February.
That was all guff and prologue to what I thought had to be the closest thing to a sure thing in Pro Surfing right now: Italo Ferreira at overhead Ulus. The free surfing snippets had been tantalising. Did you see? Treating Ulus like a total skatepark. His opening wave was raggedy, hesitant.
It couldn’t be happening could it? Our Italo, our cocksure, swaggering swarthy showman – the man who less than a week ago was positively unbeatable – safety surfing. Say it ain’t so champ. But it was. He crumbled like a block of mouldy cheese left in the Indonesian sun. That pains me to write.
Many moons ago, I camped next to a Fijian village on the premises of an establishment run by two Californian brothers of dubious moral vintage. If I say their chief concerns were getting toobed and seeing who could be first to impregnate the series of Indian maids who came to work at the joint you’ll get the idea these weren’t no utilitarians. Which would be correct.
If I was tucked up he would scoop me up like a baby and slow dance me around the room, nestle my head into the crook of his arm and murmur soft Fijian sayings into my ear. I learnt not to resist. He meant no harm.
One young man in the village, typically Fijian in physique, took a shine to me. Come nightfall, if the kava and weed had been forthcoming, which it usually was, and the brothers had the music playing he would come looking for me. If I was tucked up he would scoop me up like a baby and slow dance me around the room, nestle my head into the crook of his arm and murmur soft Fijian sayings into my ear. I learnt not to resist. He meant no harm.
I thought Italo would treat Ulus like that Fijian man treated me. Lovingly, but with overwhelming power and tenderness. But he couldn’t seem to escape the prison his mind had created for him and Rodriguez opened up the shoulders and let loose to take the win. Shocking.
I was so bummed I needed to find another miserable soul to keep me company so I gave WA Minister for Tourism Paul Papalia a call. Gotta be hurting, right. Spare a thought for poor Pauly and his apparatchiks: bankrolled the event for years and for his beneficence the WSL left his Tourism strategy in tatters (come to WA and get chomped by a white shark!) and finished the event in an entirely different country.
There are no words available for that kind of marketing fail. Paul wasn’t available, surprise surprise, and I spoke to a succession of lovely flak catchers with none able to give me an official quote on the WATourism position (hint: I think we can assume, not stoked).
More heats were ran, all surprisingly downbeat in head-high Ulus. Not great, but there to be picked up and slow danced with by someone feeling an intoxication of power. It wasn’t Gabe Medina, my other high hope for the afternoon. He surfed like an old alley cat, scratching and screeching at anything that moved. It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t even effective, but it was entertaining. Poor Jack Robinson sat and waited, tried to thread tubes that weren’t there and in the end laid not a scratch on the 2014 World Champ.
The sun set and not a single form surfer announced themselves as ready to take the Ulus Pro by the scruff of the neck. A continuation of a year in which we’ve gone down or sideways more than we’ve gone up.
As we go to print I got a text message from one of the flak catchers, lovely lady named Kellie from Tourism WA.
Can I share?
Hi Steve, FYI None of our funding is being used to stage the final heats in Indonesia.*
Response from Tourism WA is, “As we know this year’s Margaret River Pro was impacted by an unusual confluence of circumstances and despite extensive mitigation measures the WSL made the call to cancel the event.
“We are pleased with the confirmation that the event will return in 2019 and will continue to work with Surfing WA and the WSL to deliver a to deliver a world class event in Margaret River”.
A response, if I may?
The tone, a little passive-aggressive, I think. Are there any vacancies? I can craft press releases, deal with journalists, leave the toilet seat in the correct position, handle boozy lunches etc etc. Please reply below.
*Good to know.
Uluwatu CT Men’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.43 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.43
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.47 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 14.33
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33 def. Michael February (ZAF) 7.26
Heat 4: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.77 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.93
Heat 5: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.77 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.16
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 8.34 def. Kael Walsh (AUS) 7.27
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.50 def. Jack Robinson (AUS) 4.20
Heat 8: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.06 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.04
Heat 9: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.00 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.37
Remaining Uluwatu CT Men’s Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)