And Kelly Slater survives sudden-death elimination heat!
On a scale of one to how-shit-is-windy-beachbreak, what was your enjoyment factor today?
It was a patchy kind of day. Scores and waves were hard to come by.
There was certainly swell in the water, but maybe a bit too much north in it and hence too much refraction.
Low tides to start the day didn’t help.
Statistical evidence of the wonky, slow start is bleakly provided by the fact that no surfer managed a double figure heat total for the first three heats of the day.
Let me clarify that: nine professional surfers competed across three heats and not one of them could manage a cumulative heat total of ten.
In fact, reader, allow me to espouse that further…
Today in its entirety there were 36 heat scores recorded, yet only 12 of those were in double figures.
Poorest heat totals of any event ever? That’s a deep stat I’d like to know.
In this context the performance of wildcard Afonso Antunes seems a little less…something. Just a little. I’m not even sure what to think of a professional surfer who doesn’t even paddle for a wave in a heat that lasted forty minutes due to a restart.
Think about that.
What sort of comparison could there be in other sports? A sprinter motionless on the blocks as everyone else crosses the finish line? A golfer, poised at the tee with driver in hand but never beginning the backswing?
“He really just needs to take off on something,” Shannon kept insisting from the booth, willing him on out of sheer embarrassment.
But he didn’t.
It was less rabbit in the headlights, and more corpse with rigor mortis.
The waves weren’t great, but the scoring did seem suppressed. Castrated, even.
I wondered if the judges were keeping their powder dry, expecting it to pump later in the day.
I remain confused about whether scores are scaled on a heat by heat basis or over the whole day? Early scoring would suggest the latter, but this seems far from consistent and even fluctuates within events.
Wakey, wakey, Richie…
We need an explanation.
As the competition went on hold I went back to the day job and lectured on the value of art. It was an introduction to a poem in which the speaker wrestles with his vocation and purpose.
What’s the point of art or creativity? I asked the assembled 16/17 year olds. Why might someone feel compelled to make art? Does it have any value?
And what is art…writing, film-making, graffiti, music, dance, sculpting..?
Is surfing art? I asked them, in a collision of ideas and vocations.
Some faces in the classroom showed glimpses of realisation and spark, and yet more were simply befuddled, wondering why the man in front of them was so animated about a fucking poem, and what on earth it had to do with surfing.
There wasn’t much art on show today in Peniche and few realisations, but perhaps one or two surfers questioning their vocation.
Lots of them were repping female tennis players. Of all the inspirational women in the world I was generally uninspired by these choices. John Florence and Ethan Ewing get a tick in my book for repping their mums. What more inspiring woman than your very own mother, or that of your children?
The ghost of Bobby Martinez was present and prescient today as the pundits discussed surfing’s tennis connections.
Parallels were mentioned, an individual sport, the bracket system, equal pay…
I noted another connection – the equality of inequality. So far this year the women do not get treated equally when it comes to wave quality, just as in tennis they play fewer sets than the men.
Why do the WSL hide from the fact that women don’t or can’t surf the same waves as men?
Should we acknowledge it?
Would it be regressive to point out the deficiencies rather than pretend they don’t exist?
I’m not looking to shame anyone here, but hiding from the truth seems like going backwards to go forwards.
Or is it? I’m honestly not sure.
I enjoyed Griffin Colapinto’s esoteric and labyrinthine explanation in justifying why he had Bethany Hamilton’s name on the back of his shirt.
“She, like, got her arm bit off by a shark…”
Caio Ibelli is on such a heater this year he thinks he’s an angel. Dressed in a white wetsuit like a messenger of god, he did a praying claim on a kick out after a head dip. I could be mistaken, but if the lord has bestowed power on a journeyman pro surfer, I can’t imagine his tolerance will stretch to claiming mid-twos.
I hope Slater looked at him with some derision today for stealing his circa 2003 style. Slater wore that suit mainly to fuck with Andy, of course, who hated it. Which is surely a better excuse than Caio has.
Kelly did some Kelly things as the day wound down, winning his elimination round heat with aplomb. As much as I rag on Slater, he’s as necessary to this competition as he is to this tour as he is to me.
The game is objectively poorer without him. I’m glad he’s still in the mix and I hope the weather for the next few rounds does everyone justice.
Does anyone understand the re-seeding for the round of 32, by the way?
How does Barron draw Jordy but Morgan Ciblic surfs against Connor O’Leary?
Kelly gets Caio, yet we’ve got Leo Fioravanti vs Jake Marshall?
It makes no sense.
All in all, not the most glorious day of pro surfing ever. I’d have to say teaching poetry this morning was far more stimulating.
The conclusions of the poem in question are ambiguous, as they so often are.
Yet it suggests that art is valuable even if it is appreciated by just one person.
Was it you who appreciated the art of pro surfing today?
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Opening Round Results:
Heat 1: Jackson Baker (AUS) 11.70 DEF. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.10, Jake Marshall (USA) 6.00
Heat 2: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 14.60 DEF. Imaikalani Devault (HAW) 13.73, Kelly Slater (USA) 9.90
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 12.36 DEF. Seth Moniz (HAW) 9.66, Lucca Mesinas (PER) 9.43
Heat 4: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 16.17 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.47, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 9.17
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.20 DEF. Justin Becret (FRA) 6.23, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 5.93
HEAT 6: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 9.33 DEF. Callum Robson (AUS) 8.84, Afonso Antunes (PRT)
HEAT 7: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 8.20 DEF. Frederico Morais (PRT) 7.73, Conner Coffin (USA) 7.67
HEAT 8: John John Florence (HAW) 17.57 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 13.50, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 6.14
HEAT 9: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 12.27 DEF. Barron Mamiya (HAW) 12.17, Deivid Silva (BRA) 0.67
HEAT 10: Joao Chianca (BRA) 14.17 DEF. Jack Robinson (AUS) 11.60, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 9.06
HEAT 11: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 7.67 DEF. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 7.17, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 5.40
HEAT 12: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 11.67 DEF. Nat Young (USA) 11.20, Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.67
MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Elimination Round Results:
HEAT 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.10 DEF. Connor O’Leary (AUS) 9.17, Afonso Antunes (PRT) 2.00
HEAT 2: Lucca Mesinas (PER) 6.77 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 6.70, Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 4.20
HEAT 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.60 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 7.57, Matthew McGillivray (ZAF) 5.90
HEAT 4: Ryan Callinan (AUS) 12.87 DEF. Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 12.73, Deivid Silva (BRA) 7.43
Upcoming MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Men’s Round of 32 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Imaikalani deVault (HAW)
HEAT 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Samuel Pupo (BRA)
HEAT 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Barron Mamiya (HAW)
HEAT 4: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) vs. Connor O’Leary (AUS)
HEAT 5: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Owen Wright (AUS)
HEAT 6: Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) vs. Jake Marshall (USA)
HEAT 7: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Joao Chianca (BRA)
HEAT 8: Jack Robinson (AUS) vs. Callum Robson (AUS)
HEAT 9: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Justin Becret (FRA)
HEAT 10: Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Frederico Morais (PRT)
HEAT 11: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Nat Young (USA)
HEAT 12: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
HEAT 13: Seth Moniz (HAW) vs. Jackson Baker (AUS)
HEAT 14: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Lucca Mesinas (PER)
HEAT 15: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
HEAT 16: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Caio Ibelli (BRA)
Upcoming MEO Pro Portugal Presented by Rip Curl Women’s Round of 16 Matchups:
Heat 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Molly Picklum (AUS)
Heat 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Heat 3: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 6: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Gabriela Bryan (HAW)
Heat 7: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Luana Silva (HAW)
Heat 8: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. India Robinson (AUS)