Kelly Slater, Italo Ferreira dominate opening day at crummy three-foot Teahupoo…
It really does feel a lifetime ago since J-Bay wrapped but here we are six weeks later for day one of the Tahiti Pro, held in three-foot gurgle that would nonetheless make many rec surfers brown their undergarments.
A big day, very entertaining I thought, mostly for the calls in the booth and the exposition of the talking points as the WSL tries to retro-fit a post-modern greenwash onto one of the most carbon hungry pursuits on Earth.
First, did you notice Billabong had slipped out the backdoor and Hurley had shyly and slyly slipped in as “presenting” sponsor, presumably at a good discount on the naming rights?
But it happened last year, must have been when the press release kid was on holidays. Smart pick up from Hurley. They get the kudos without carrying the can.
It was obvious from the get go we were going “all in” with the wozzle on the Glowing, glowing gone campaign. Obvs a part of Elo’s big push into the content and branding space.
How should we judge the output?
Patchy? Glossy but a tad insipid? A little too much Oprah?
To be very honest, I have not been able to watch the latest Sounds Waves with Courtney Conlogue because I like watching her surf and don’t want my pleasure interrupted by intrusive thoughts.
Like I now have after watching Connor Coffin’s Sound Waves episode.
Soli Bailey got off to a flying start in heat one, threading a couple of very nice translucent blue tubes. The day-glo jerseys which, according to a refreshed Joe Turpel represented a “cry for help” from our coralline brethren and sistren, looked very snazzy tucked in behind the curtain.
Medina showed an appropriate level of desperation in hyena-ing his way around the line-up. Eventually, he found two scrappy rides and consigned a hapless Crisanto to the losers’ round.
It was very easy to get lost behind collapsing chandeliers, as happened to Jordan Smith. My feed kept dropping out which meant a constant confrontation with an unfortunate and kooky error that had Elo written all over it.
On the live page a shot of Gabe Medina grabbing rail at the Box had been flipped so he presented as a natural footer grabbing rail on a left.
Did you see? It took until heat eight before the high castle at Santa Monica was able to replace the image with an actual shot of Gabe at Teahupoo.
Heat four was the highlight of the day. Kieren Perrow was in the booth. By my calculations speaking almost non-stop for 19 minutes while waves refused to break.
At one point, the action seemed so slow he entertained the idea of calling it off. It’s also a known known that Kelly was pressuring him to swivel the sign to stop on the day. Kieren did not flinch and Italo found a flurry of good waves to take out the heat.
The only wave worth catching up on if you missed: an under-the-lip-drop-to-deep-tube and searing cutback for a high seven . The colours: bleached blond, pink, yellow, translucent blue. To die for. We are all confident enough in our masculinity to admit that, surely?
Joan Duru, thirty years of age and struggling outside the cut-off mark (again) won his heat and is my pick for the working class roughie to come through and win.
He can win in small and ugly and he will send it when it’s heavy, brah.
Andino in the next heat bested Yago Dora in a paddle battle that was an inverse of the humiliation he suffered at the hands of Medina in 2014, when Medina slowly led him up the reef like a docile cow, then left him stranded. Brothers’s different now.
Not only does he wear the yellow jersey, the first Californian since Arnold Schwarzenegger to attain world domination, he has also superseded Jordy Smith in terms of giving the best post-heat pressers. He called his current tenure as world Number One in the yellow, “a moment in time” before admitting to nerves when he put it on.
“This is proper,” he thought.
He then called himself “the underdog” in the world-title contenders. This put Ross Williams into a paroxysm of joy, declaring that Kolohe was “marching forwards as a warrior.”
Stirring stuff and very true and beautiful.
Kelly was beautiful too, with his brown, glowing bald head protruding out of the day-glo jersey. There was something vaguely pornographic about it, in the most tasteful sense.
Kelly looked jet-lagged and out of sorts, which he freely admitted later, after arriving in Tahiti overnight. He got his pants pulled down and his bottom spanked in a paddle battle with Fred Morais, inspiring a bit of revisionist history making from the champ later in the booth when he claimed he could “keep up with anyone”.
I was very glad to see justice restored. Having Kelly eliminated in scrappy baby food when proper Chopes beckons by competitors who aren’t fit to scrape the dog caca off his thongs would be a very sad outcome.
It came down to two or three glorious minutes when he dominated the closing third of the heat with two sizzling rides and went from last to first. I was very glad to see justice restored. Having Kelly eliminated in scrappy baby food when proper Chopes beckons by competitors who aren’t fit to scrape the dog caca off his thongs would be a very sad outcome.
It was tough to hear the commentators in the booth blagging about coral reefs. As the holder of a (useless) degree in Marine Biology, hearing Kaipo mangle the biology was like a series of sharp blows to the nuts.
Zooaxanthellae are single-celled dinoflagellates, not algae, Kaipo. I’m not about to tell you how Madonna likes her coffee. Likewise, you could find someone who knows what they are talking about.
That sure weren’t Koa Smith. Great guy, no doubt. Insane tube-rider but a guy who thought coral was that “hard stuff on the bottom”.
At some point, Koa riffing on how to save the reefs from global warming said with a straight face “the solution is to reduce your own carbon footprint”. I think he means you and me and everyone on the planet who doesn’t chase swells to Skeleton Bay and have the carbon footprint of an entire Pacific nation. It’s crazy beautiful but I will forgive each and every hypocrisy and idiocy, large small or medium if the WSL can do something to protect and preserve the orangutans.
Surely they could set something up at G-Land next year.
Each heat was scrappy.
Griff looked very smooth, very fluid and composed.
O-dog looked a little shakey but did enough to win.
Can you believe it was eight years ago he finalled with Kelly and was challenging for the Title?
Jack Freestone got one on the buzzer to oust Conner Coffin.
Small and crisp tomorrow for the loser rounds then some real surf.
I’m feeling Kelly and Italo.