Conservatism rewarded in dream-like perfection at Jeffreys Bay…
You could imagine the exec meeting this morning as Stone Dead Soph drilled down into the Facebook roll-out.
“Will” – Will being the new guy marketing manager, came from America’s Cup, fellow rugger bugger – “How did we go with the Facebook debut?”
“Fookin’ brilliant Soph, absolutely historical!”
“And what about the fan engagement Joe?” Joe is the UFC guy, Joe Carr. Fattened the UFC before a four-billion dollar sale to WME-IMG.
I think we could suppose Ziff’s strategy in hiring a guy like Joe as his strategy guy.
“Ballistic Soph… just freaking out of this fucking world”.
And my opinion was hopelessly compromised by a preparation that mostly consisted of binge watching Marine Layer videos. Not a good idea to fill your head full of Dane before sitting down to watch Pro Surfing 2018. Holy shit, the only conclusion one can draw after watching Dane videos is: surfing as a sport has gone backwards. On so many levels.
Oh don’t listen to me. I’m sure Soph was distraught the feed crapped out before (and during) the Kelly heat and that legions of core fans would put her Joe and Will in stocks and leave them there for the Facey debacle. And my opinion was hopelessly compromised by a preparation that mostly consisted of binge watching Marine Layer videos. Not a good idea to fill your head full of Dane before sitting down to watch Pro Surfing 2018. Holy shit, the only conclusion one can draw after watching Dane videos is: surfing as a sport has gone backwards. On so many levels.
His decision to hit the eject button as ZoSea took control of the ASP looks, in retrospect, like the smartest zig to mainstream zag in surfing history.
It took me almost a full heat to get a live feed happening; it kept defaulting back to yesterday’s feed. I got solid just as Kelly hit the water. It’s just hoping against hope now to expect to see the magic from Kelly. Another 18 months feels… too long. The wheels fell off in 2014 and the performances since then have become increasingly erratic, save the last victory at Teahupoo in 2016. But that moment for a graceful full-impact kick-out has passed and now we are here watching Kelly struggle in devil wind J-Bay against Jordy.
At least he attacked.
Kelly in the post heat presser took aim at Kieran for the call to run in the devil wind. He was “bummed they ran”. Gunna be a long eighteen months Kelly.
Jordy looked ponderous but his weightier gavel had more authority when he banged it on a J-Bay wall ridden with bump. Kelly’s third wave was a score despite the lack of drive through the turns. A deep tube ride attempt on the following ride would have turned the heat but unlike the Old Kelly it never looked like happening. The familiar heart-in-the-mouth sensation of a piece of Kelly impossible magic was missing. Kelly sat dormant as the heat dripped down, second by second. Last place at J-Bay. An unthinkable result even 12 months ago.
Kelly in the post heat presser took aim at Kieren Perrow for the call to run in the devil wind. He was “bummed they ran”. Gunna be a long eighteen months Kelly.
The surf went velvet as the wind laid down for Wade Carmichael and Joan Duru. It was a strangely low drama heat as judges wrestled with the reality they had chosen at Bali; that beefcake turns and no progression were the new state of the art. In the end Wade took it.
Mendes and Wright promised to be the heat of the day in perfect pumping J-Bay. The opening part of the heat was a shoot-out. Mikey brought big turns and savage angles, like flesh fed into an angle grinder. It wasn’t pretty and the lack of flow was seriously disturbing. Jesse did the better surfing, to my eye. The heat hinged on the final two waves ridden. Mikey hacked and gouged away and spaz pumped and jerked his way to a big closing move. God that was ugly, I thought. Surely no more than a mid-six. The 7.9 awarded threw the heat out of whack and put a Mendes buzzer beater out of reach. The mullet moves on. There is a sibling symmetry with Owens wildcard run in 2009, which ended with Owen’s busted ear drum at Supertubos.
If you wanted to watch one heat in it’s entirety, with the best surfing, watch Conner O’Leary v Zeke. Connor was beautiful off the bottom with maximum leverage and flow. It was the surfing I thought Italo would do here. Big bodies in motion, huge spray fans.
Wilko surfed a good heat, clearly the better surfer against Tomas Hermes and lost. Pottz added insult to injury describing Hermes as having a “beautiful style.” That is untrue. He waves his arms wildly like a drunken traffic cop. It is not pleasant to watch. Wilko swam for a broken board. Hermes swam for a broken leash. In the end, Hermes’ final scoring wave looked like a QS wave scored for number of turns. Judges seem to be slipping back into that fantasy realm they occupied this time last year.
Parko looked regal in groomed J-bay walls. Regal in comparison to earlier performances, both in and out of the water. Ronnie Blakey dared assert his top turns had “lost potency” before he speared the wave of the day for a long deep tube. Bourez looked, by turns, over animated and out of control. Parko sails through but I do not see an event winner while Filipe Toledo remains in the draw.
A shark stoppage added spice to the end of the Conner Coffin Ace Buchan heat; Jordy went home and had a shower then came out and dropped a demolished vehicle (probably a late model VW bug) on Hermes to take the penultimate heat.
The final heat ended with Kolohe head in hands in tears. Run down and shot from behind by Fred Morais after greasing a trick landing on a rotated air reverse. It was a tough result but I had to agree with it. Fred threw buckets. For what it was: for extended periods an almost dream-like perfection the world’s best were well down on J-Bay benchmarks. There was a bona fide 20 point heat left out in the water.
And Facebook? I’m used to it already. Internet outrages live hard and die easy.
Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Remaining Round 2 (H3-12) Results:
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.16 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.50
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 11.74
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.26 def. Ian Gouveia (BRA) 14.23
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.33 def. Michael February (ZAF) 12.50
Heat 7: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.47 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.70
Heat 8: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 16.14 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 11.34
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.80 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.77
Heat 10: Mikey Wright (AUS) 16.17 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 15.26
Heat 11: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 17.16 def. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.57
Heat 12: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 14.07 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.30
Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Round 3 (H1-4) Results:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.87 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.80
Heat 2: Conner Coffin (USA) 16.57 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.30
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.07 def. Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.63
Heat 4: Frederico Morais (PRT) 15.67 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.53
Men’s Corona Open J-Bay Remaining Round 3 (H5-12) Matchups:
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 8: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 9: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 10: Willian Cardoso (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)
Heat 11: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
Heat 12: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)