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Corona Bali Protected: “Japan steals California’s first CT event win in ten years!”

And Pip Toledo and Kelly Slater quarter-final exceeds the insane hype!

Japan steals California’s first CT event victory in ten years at Keramas when 21-year-old Igarashi Kanoa from Huntington Beach wins the Bali Protected pro in perfect four-to-six-foot surf.

Steph Gilmore wins her 30th (!) event in a totally dominant display that would have won the men’s final.

Kelly Slater makes the whole world forget about climate change and the extinction crisis by defeating Filipe Toledo in a quarter-final that, for the first time in the history of pro surfing, totally eclipsed the hype.

It took a while to warm up.

Seemed during an uneventful last women’s QF and the first two men’s QF’s that the WSL had again, like they did at D-Bah, tried to squeeze too much into the event window. Two entire CT events, a mens and a womens and an airshow as well.

Just like he did at Bells, though, KP managed to find a golden pot at the end of a very long rainbow. It came to fruition in the Kelly-Filipe super heat. Pip was flippant in the pre-heat interview. In mock horror he said about Kelly “Oohh, he’s scary” and that it was good to see him “back on the fire”.

It’s almost insane. Who remembers a single thing from the first two rounds? Nobody!

Just like he did at Bells, though, KP managed to find a golden pot at the end of a very long rainbow. It came to fruition in the Kelly-Filipe super heat. Pip was flippant in the pre-heat interview. In mock horror he said about Kelly “Oohh, he’s scary” and that it was good to see him “back on the fire”.

Too flippant, as it turned out.

Kelly sold him the first wave. A scoreless close-out.

Kelly needed to win the opening exchange, and he did. The roundhouse-cutback-to-foam-rebound would be practically extinct at the elite level if not for Kelly. After the first scoring waves he opened a two-point spread on FT.

Two near makes from Kelly would have been ten-point rides apiece.

Messy, slabby, insanely technical tube rides with styled out roundhouses, Kelly playing matador with angry knuckles of foam, saw him in the lead with 10 to go.

Filipe was looking wobbly.

Pottz accused him of getting sucked into Kelly’s game, trying to out-tube him in a tube-riding duel.

But what choice did he have? What was he going to do, dodge the tube? And walk straight into Kelly’s verbal trap of being the best small-wave surfer ever? Kelly pricked his pride and Filipe’s pride fucked him over.

The sunshine and slabby tubes, the drained-out end section made Keramas look like Soup Bowls, one of Kelly’s favoured haunts.

Pip went over the falls selling Kelly on a lemon. Kelly gave it back to Toledo and he pin-dropped out of the lip of a close-out. With clock pressure and scoreboard pressure mounting there was a failure to communicate from Dickie on the beach to Filipe in the water.

He whistled him off an open face that could have been the score. Toledo looked fragile and confused. The clock ticked down and on the buzzer Filipe caught a wave.

“I saw him take off and thought, what’s he going to do,” said Kelly. Then I heard the board snap.”

Done. Kelly in the semi.

I went to see Momentum Generation last month. Went in a hater and came out all loved-up on Kelly. Meant to ask him something abrasive and ended up thanking him for 27 years of entertainment, joy and inspiration.

God, he brought it today.

We will note at this juncture that judges had held the scoring scale steady and maintained the low ball, and we will note that headroom in surf that was becoming groomed by incoming tide and slack winds was justified.

Kanoa overcame Kolohe with the turn he had perfected all event, the vertical lip punch with a tail drift.
Steph looked silky but very restrained in overcoming a Nikki Van Dyke whose skill set and experience did not look up to the challenge.

Earlier in the event Jez Flores had given the clue to his ultimate motivation.

“Everywhere is so crowded, ” he said. “To get the chance to surf these waves with one other guy is the reason I’m still doing it”.

He began to feast on Balinese tubes like a fat man at a breakfast buffet. Gorging himself until it was almost insulting to M-Rod. Judges had paid the tube all event. They paid it for Jezza. The anger drained out him, visibly.

The trash talking before Kanoa and Kelly’s semi-final had become a little cartoonish, devoid of the genuine psychological barbs Kelly had aimed at Filipe.

I mean, how could you trash talk Kanoa?

What an extraordinary time it all of a sudden seemed. Like Krymov the tank commander felt during the Battle for Stalingrad in Vasily Grossman’s Life and Fate it was as if history had left the pages of books and come to life. Kelly caught the opening wave on the hooter and sought and found shade in a clean cabana. Kanoa fell and fell and fell.

One more clean cut and Kelly could have put him in a deep combo. He did not. A very long deep technical tube ended when the cavern collapsed on him.

It was halfway through before Kanoa put a wave on the scoreboard. It was the most critical piece of judging of the contest. All through the contest judges had recalibrated scoring between men and women.

Highballing tail-based fin turns by women if they were well-timed and in the pocket. Chief beneficiary being Brisa Hennesy.

In a flash, they bought the same recalibration to bear on Kanoa’s wave. The turns were weak and fin based but awarded a 7.67.

Kelly flubbed a turn between a double tube for a 7.17 and unable to back down the panel went big again for Kanoa’s second scoring ride.

Winners are grinners.

Kanoa thanked the “People who talked trash about him” in the seconds after he won the comp. There will be no need to go back and analyse turns that, based on the scale so far this year, would have been judged fair.

Jordy Smith, in a righteous universe, would be entitled to drop kick a rabid dog in an alleyway.

The contrast between men’s and women’s surfing which had so far looked acute and almost embarrassing to the detriment of the ladies was suddenly reversed. Steph Gilmore’s opening turns had flow and elegant power and unlike the punch and release of Igarashi were arced all the way back against the grain. She was in cruise control mode, by her own admission, before coming to a conclusion that she wanted an excellent number.

The wave she rode next was adjudged perfect. Go look at it on heat analyzer if you missed it. You won’t get the impact of watching it live. Appreciate the hard tube stall snap and the immense pressure of the final hit which buckled her knee flat to the deck. Best wave of the comp.

A little air wind had puffed up for the final.

You could imagine the damage Filipe would have done to the lineup had he been there. Locked into the new scoring paradigm judges gave a floater and three regulation turns by Kanoa one of the highest scores of the event. I hate that “you can script this” conspiracy thinking but it did seem like objectivity was being torched and sent into the atmosphere.

Jeremy tore into a set wave. It was the best wave of the final.

You could imagine the damage Filipe would have done to the lineup had he been there. Locked into the new scoring paradigm judges gave a floater and three regulation turns by Kanoa one of the highest scores of the event. I hate that “you can script this” conspiracy thinking but it did seem like objectivity was being torched and sent into the atmosphere.

I saw it. Pottz saw it.

Even one judge saw it and gave it a 9.5. A lowball from another meant it sat lower than Kanoa’s 9.1.

When Jeremy went straight on a closeout with 11 minutes to go and handed priority back to Kanoa it was all over.

Twenty one years old. Wow. It feels like Kanoa has been on Tour for ever.

Second in the World. Kelly in the Top Ten. One spot ahead of Gabe Medina. Totally mad.

Kelly is making this year a real pleasure. I feel ashamed for casting aspersions on the credibility of the injury wildcard they gave him.

Open Thread: Comment Live, Quarterfinals, Semifinals, etc. Corona Bali Protected!

Protect your açai bowl!

There are still a few hours until the Corona Bali Protected kicks off but I’m in a pinch here, leaving signal behind for the next few hours and Derek is attending a dawn yoga session where signal is clearly not invited.

Will it run? I think it has to. Right? I think the contest window is rapidly closing and they have to run today but what if they don’t and/or Luke Egan owns Keramas as part of a deal for the Komune Hotel and can force the window open again with one monotone utterance?

Then this post will forever be enshrined on BeachGrit as yet another Monument to Failure.


If my gamble pays off and it does run and run through the quarters, semis and things then everything will work out just fine and nobody will even remember it was posted a couple hours early.

I’m sweating but…

…two double vodka sodas in so GOING FOR IT!

You only live once.


“Today’s” matchups include:

Michael “Açai Bowl” Rodrigues v. Wade Charmichael

J-Flo v. K-Ando

Pip v. Kelly

Ace v. Kanoa Igarashi

(I hope.)

Come chat! (In a few hours)

Watch live!

How to: Dress like a surfer in 2019!

Are you a Craig Anderson or a Kelly Slater?

When you wake up in the morning, after getting out of bed, brushing teeth, etc., do you think, “Now it’s time to put on my surfer clothes…”?

I can’t imagine you do, but maybe you should. Maybe we all should. The surfing lifestyle is back in vogue and we should own the moment, as by rights it’s ours, but I fear that we’ve all forgotten how to put on surfer clothes because the last time we did was, like, 20 years ago.

Well, thankfully we have D’Marge, Australia’s largest website for men and let’s not delay in our lesson. Let’s duck dive straight in.

It helps if you surf, but you really don’t need to! In fact, most surf branded clothes are bought by people who’ve never put feet to wax. So all you need to do to nail that cruisey ‘surfer boy’ vibe is to bin the snapback, throw the trucker cap in the trash (2005 is over, dude) and purchase a Mikey Wright style Akubra (if you’re not brave enough to go all out and rock the mullet).

Pair this with some naturally bleached hair, trashed jeans, an oversized scoop neck, sockless vans, a stupidly comfy jacket, and you’ve got yourself a surfer. Bonus tips include: avoiding tacky accessories (like thongs with beer openers on the underside) with the same vehemence you bypass a bad Bondi bank, and talking about the weather like an overqualified meteorologist.

And never washing your board shorts.

You could also, if you’re so inclined, dress like a skater (a la Craig Anderson) with chinos, button-ups and crew neck tees or like a nue-age golfer (a la Kelly Slater) if you like to come off as a sophisticated globetrotter with enough dinero not just to travel the world, but also to plant enough trees to counteract the carbon emissions in your wake.

So, what is your surfer flavor?

a) Akubra

b) Naturally bleached hair, trashed jean, oversized scoop, sockless vans, stupid jacket

c) Skater a la Craig Anderson

d) Nue-age golfer a la Kelly Slater

e) Other

Question: “Is the WSL setting Kelly up for some Hillary Clinton-style, Kafkaesque tragedy of errors?”

"Go Jordy? Maybe? I don't care."

As I mentioned before in a previous article, I live a domestically routine Orange County existence.

Every day, I make exactly two french presses and check my personal and work emails. Today, I nearly spit that coastal elitist pressed bean water right out of my mouth when I opened an email from the WSL that read “Is Kelly Slater Back?”

I initially laughed but then I read it because I am a surf lemming. The short snippet highlights that, even despite Kelly’s last-place finish at the Gold Coast, he has had a “hot hand” moving through events and into Quarters at both Bells and Bali. Mathematically, sure, yeah, I guess, hypothetically Kelly could win a world title.

I have a laundry list of problems with Slater that make me not like him on just a personal level, but he fucking rips is undoubtedly the most qualified and pedigreed athlete to win a twelveth title. He wants a dozen. We all know it. But can he do it? I say no. Americans put the most qualified and pedigreed candidates up in 2016, but here we have President Trump. Stranger stuff has happened. Plus, now that Kelly stumbled, the Brazilian Storm and in-form youngbloods have seen the champ fall and now know he’s beatable. His peers are gone. He’s not an enigma. He’s just an older weird double jointed bald guy with a freak talent, but he is no longer “unbeatable”. Also, I frankly don’t think any of the new blood on tour are as intimidated by the “Slater Head Game” as the people he came up with, nor do I think he is playing the same games.

I loved the email and appreciate the WSL trying to jockey their viewership by promoting Kelly as on a tear. I will always applaud unabashed and unapologetic speculation in the name of capitalism because that’s showbiz, baby! In doing so, however, is the WSL setting Kelly up for some Hillary Clinton style, Kafkaesque tragedy of errors? A tragedy where his own sense of entitlement to Title numero doce and the unrelenting cheers of “you got this in the bag!” from Slater fans that have “twelve-time world champ” boners cloud Kelly from seeing how bad this all could go for him? A tragedy where the man of fragile ego who has, for decades, had to bear the burden of an existence plagued by frankly unfair facial symmetry, unmatched athleticism, wealth, freedom, waves, and supermodel women will be blind to his own fall from grace?

I hope so.

Change is good. News is boring and so are people who are viewed as entitled to stuff and victories. I don’t really even like Donald Trump but if he wasn’t elected I would have never read the headline “Senate Hopeful Kid Rock Slams Eminem For Anti-President Trump Dis-Track” which is far better than any singular headline I would have read if Hillary took office (unless Billy diddled another intern, because then I would like to see the New York Post’s headline that day but I digress). Kelly, I hope you lose, and I don’t really care who wins because honestly, it will make a better story than watching the same fucking dude win the same fucking trophy for the twelveth fucking time.

Go Jordy? Maybe? I don’t care. Just not Kelly.

And WSL, give me a darkhorse story and put this one out to pasture and turn it into glue. I can get behind a darkhorse, but I am having a lot of trouble staying behind baldy Seabiscuit.