Was That An Interference On Kelly?

On the very first wave of what would become a tightly contested quarterfinal, Kelly Slater found a gem of a tube, pulled in, and expected to come flying out. Only to run into a thick foam ball and fall off. There was no priority at the time, meaning he was free to catch the wave unimpeded but Gabriel Medina, who was paddling hard on the end section, pushed the section down on him.

Kelly Interference

Watch the above clip from 0:24 and ponder the potential of Kelly Slater.

“At the time I thought it was strange that the whitewater caved in. I didn’t realise it was from him. It looked like a clean wave when I stood up and I had a nice line into the barrel and I just ran right into the foam ball.”

“I thought that was strange ‘cos it looked like it was gonna stay open. When I watched it on video it was pretty clear that he caved it in,” he said.

Gabs Cestari

While Kelly believes Gabs didn't intentionally push down the face, he definitely affected his ride. (Image: WSL/Cestari)

Having reviewed it on video, Slater thinks it was accidental, not that it really matters.

“I don’t think he intended too. I think he didn’t realise how much he paddled onto the wave most likely but ah it definitely blocked my exit,” he said.

“Generally, it should be (an interference). With the priority, if I had priority when that happened it 100% would have been. But personally I don’t see why it’s any different if I don’t have priority because by saying that they are acknowledging that it interfered on my wave,” he said.

Kelly Sloane

It was a quarter final duel that went down to the wire.

Kelly was quick to point out that it wouldn’t necessarily have changed the outcome of the heat. “What did that wave do after? Would I have definitely made the barrel?” he said.

Accidental or not, the rules of the WSL say that equals an interference. Kelly discussed the incident with the judges and was told there was not enough video evidence to make a ruling... 

“They said from the camera angles they couldn’t determine 100% whether that stopped me from making it or if I ran into his white water. So they had to err on the side of caution,” he said.