"Kelly's Pipe win could well be a heavy curse he carries all year. The curse of unrealistic expectations."
Four men’s heats completed.
Worth a report?
I think so.
Supertubos looked nothing like it should today. The wind was howling cross-off and it was frankly junk.
In honour of International Women’s Day, presumably, they sent the women out first to enjoy it.
There was a new addition to the booth in the form of Paul Evans. No stranger to commentary, of course, though normally relegated to the lower leagues or Nazare comps no-one gives a whistling shit about.
Being a Portugal veteran, he’s no stranger either, I would presume, to the occasional bifter at Consolacao pier along the beach and some crumbly peaks that don’t involve your face being chewed off by rabid bodyboarders at Supertubos. And I guess that only through personal experience of fleeing there or Molhe Leste just to the north in search of a more relaxing atmosphere. Supertubos is tough when it’s on and often only borderline makeable for non-freaks who prefer waves on their feet.
For my money Evans is one of the sharpest wits in surfing. Good on him getting one up on his pal Ben Mondy, who’s left writing articles on the WSL site with titles like “Five Moments That Lifted The Mood And Made Us Smile In 2021”.
I hope we hear more from Evans at this level. Shame about the accent, really.
The surfers wore jerseys with the name of a women who had inspired them today. My personal favourite was Jadson Andre’s quite hilarious choice of Jess Miley-Dyer. In a weird way it was very on-brand.
Genius gamesmanship or the greatest burn ever? You be the judge.
And anyway, WSL, International Women’s Day isn’t til March 8th, but today is World Book Day!
Why not have the surfers put the names of their favourite literary characters on their backs? Is it because it would be all Gruffalos and Harry Potters?
Except for Nat Young (Legolas), Leo Fioravanti (Christian Grey) and Kanoa Igarashi (Draco Malfoy).
Slater faced off against two sparky rookies in Sammy Pupo and Imaikalani deVault. Both appear to be made from elastic and semtex and spun wildly and cleanly, leaving Slater looking dated and forced to surf in the losers round. This was always the danger in anything but huge reef barrels.
The Pipe win could well be a heavy curse he carries all year. The curse of unrealistic expectations.
Pete Mel rolled out a classic euphemism in saying that Slater “wasn’t super excited about these waves”. Strider was more blunt in saying he was “pretty vocal about not wanting to surf today”.
Kelly doesn’t like the cold, apparently. Makes sense. It’s warm in hell.
Just on that “cold” thing.
Portugal is not cold.
There’s never been a proper cold water wave on the WCT and that’s a major oversight.
Aside from the fact that everyone involved in making these decisions is soft, why not add a cold water spot? There are plenty of world class options and it would add a fascinating new dynamic to the tour and a challenge for the surfers.
I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: the tour needs a real cold water stop.
Paul Evans played a welcome aggravator in Kelly’s heat by prodding Pete to see what he thought of Kelly’s scores. He was awarded a 4.67 for three unremarkable backside turns, which did perhaps look a little odd in the context of deVault score a minute later of 6.40 for three slightly better backside turns.
Pete thinks Kelly’s been underscored this year. Kaipo thinks he’s being unfairly judged against old Kelly. “The numbers seem a bit suppressed in the context of his actual performance,” Kaipo claimed.
I say nonsense.
Do the claims (from two men of Kelly’s age) have any validity? You tell me.
The debate and push-back against the judges and scoring was welcome contrarianism instigated by Evans. Was he freestyling? Or are the powers-that-be in their ivory tower listening? Regardless, I hope there’s more.
Italo was utterly dominant to close out the day. Ferreira and Portugal go together like MDMA and house music.
Put some euphoric bets on that.