Who's gonna beat Filipe at head-high Keramas? Anyone?
Tough day comrades, with scoring all over the place and my judgement not as sharp as it could be. I wanted a change of government in Australia and when that didn’t happen a joyless drunken evening morphed into the kind of dour hangover that makes you think of all kinds of nasty things.
The problem for the judges started in heat one with Julian Wilson getting a 6.4 for a toy little head-high tube with a doggy door exit that any sixteen-year-old kid or forty-year-old plumber could have threaded.
That pretty much fucked the scale for the rest of the day.
Jaddy had scored threes for multiple backhand hooks with completions. Confusion about what was good surfing and how to score it was now ingrained in the booth.
Yago completely failed to fire in heat two, another theme for the day. Certain surfers just could not get out of the blocks in slow conditions. One failed air, two failed airs and the heat was over. M-Rod was also over-scored based on the Wilson over-scores.
All of which meant that coming into the marquee heat of the day, John John Florence vs Joan Duru, judges had less idea about how to score than Luke Egan did in pronouncing Joan.
In saying that, I will advance an unpopular view that judges got the result right. Based on my notes and going back to the heat analyser.
Joan’s opening waves with really crisp vertical slices and a big power hook cutdown were under-scored. An almost four-point spread between Florence and Duru was clearly disconnected from reality.
Quite clearly insane.
John’s waves were incompleted. You got the strong feeling judges were, as they say in a modern men’s circle,“holding space” for him. He fell, and fell again.
It was reminiscent of his final with Adriano at Margaret River in 2015. Miss the end section and lose the heat. In the end, judges paid a late vertical hit from Duru with a heat-winning score and were gifted a final wave from John where he fell on an opening turn.
John was seething in the presser. Through gritted teeth he called it a “tricky heat” and said he was on his way to review the Duru winning wave. He did not use the word “fun” once.
His mohawk, for the first time this season, seemed appropriate.
The other significant feature of the day, the return of the extinct air, was showcased in heat five. Jack Freestone greased an Alley Oop, which, correct if wrong, has barely been sighted since 2013.
Another slick opening turn air was similarly scored in the five range. The quagmire of five and sixes had not been breached in the previous heat with Wade and Deivid Silva.
It did beg the question, almost but not quite asked by Ronnie Blakey, what is good surfing?
Italo was just not there. Injured, off kilter, looking really weird and kooky with his front moon bootie. No man in the history of Planet Earth has managed to look competent rocking a single bootie look.
You disagree? Example then?
Rosie tried to bait Kolohe into committing to an aerial attack before his heat with Ricardo Christie but he wisely said he was going to take what the wave offered him before promptly sticking two big rotations, the first of which seemed to defeat time and gravity temporarily by fluttering in the breeze on the re-entry. Judges finally felt comfortable going into the sevens.
If the best 34 surfers in the world can’t reach that top in greasy head-high Indonesian perfection what hard questions need to be asked about the standard of surfing proffered?
Brother was pumped on the compressed scoring scale. “It’s great the scale is down,” he said. “It leaves a lot of room at the top.”
True story but if the best 34 surfers in the world can’t reach that top in greasy head-high Indonesian perfection what hard questions need to be asked about the standard of surfing proffered?
I think some kind of detente between judges, the scale and the world’s best is becoming a glaring necessity if they want to maintain the illusion of an elite product. The numbers are not flattering.
The one surfer that judges have decreed excellent at Keramas flew through the air repeatedly without a make. Luckily for Filipe, Ciao Ibelli sat mute out the back waiting for waves that never came. When Filipe finally did combo up a big hack to slide, fins out punch and air reverse ending you could smell the relief in the judges booth when they finally gave a number greater than eight.
Did you see the Kelly heat? Made you feel good didn’t it. Come on, even the biggest Kelly hater was silently cheering. A tonic. Made my bitter hangover more endurable, made life all of a sudden plausible again.
Ibelli dragged another aerial from beneath the permafrost of extinction but even that souped-up Superman wasn’t enough to get him back in the heat.
Did you see the Kelly heat? Made you feel good didn’t it.
Come on, even the biggest Kelly hater was silently cheering. A tonic. Made my bitter hangover more endurable, made life all of a sudden plausible again.
Kelly said the “first exchange will set the pace of the heat” and he was close enough. They both put ones on the board before an exchange of set waves saw Kelly tuck his carcass in behind a delectable little knuckle of Indian ocean juice and give it a couple of love taps for a 6.33.
Warm water makes old bones feel young and you could see the old man come to life in a way he couldn’t at Bells. He took to the air before finding a little speed run under priority. Like the seeding round he unleashed the turn of the day, a slightly different, more classic Slater power snap. Judges lowballed it a six, but in the context of the heat it was more than enough to send Owen packing.
Matt George, again, provided highlights in the booth. This self-appointed spokesman for Indonesian surfing called Kelly Slater the “George Foreman of surfing”. That is a stretch comparing Kelly to the greatest pitch man in history but Kelly still has a long way to run. A lot of things to pitch for. Maybe not steak knives and non-stick grills but those Aipa’s sure look sizzling under his feet.
The tide ran out and the waves stopped. I think we will come back tomorrow and do it all again.
Can you see Filipe being beaten in head-high Keramas, cause I sure can’t.
Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 3 (Round of 32) Results:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.23 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.00
Heat 2: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 12.27 DEF. Yago Dora (BRA) 3.57
Heat 3: Joan Duru (FRA) 12.14 DEF. John John Florence (HAW) 12.04
Heat 4: Wade Carmichael (AUS) 11.63 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.44
Heat 5: Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.26 DEF. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 4.77
Heat 6: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.74 DEF. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 11.34
Heat 7: Conner Coffin (USA) 10.33 DEF. Griffin Colapinto (USA) 7.33
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.54 DEF. Ricardo Christie (NZL) 8.37
Heat 9: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.00 DEF. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 7.13
Heat 10: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 11.76 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 9.50
Heat 11: Kelly Slater (USA) 12.50 DEF. Owen Wright (AUS) 8.30
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (FRA) 9.13 DEF. Rio Waida (IDN) 8.10
Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 3 (Round of 32) Matchups:
Heat 13: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA)
Heat 14: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
Heat 15: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)
Heat 16: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 4 (Round of 16) Matchups:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Michael Rodrigues (BRA)
Heat 2: Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Wade Carmichael (AUS)
Heat 3: Jack Freestone (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 4: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (FRA)
Heat 7: TBD
Heat 8: TBD