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Not everyone can jet off to Bali mid-window and come back and still collect scores. Gabby went out there in third gear and got a pair of 8's like it was nothing. Italo on the other hand... Photo by WSL/Matt Dunbar

A Quik G Land Debrief

Learnings from CUSP host and jungle pundit, Stace Galbraith.

news // Jun 6, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 6 minutes

There are approximately a gazillion billion surfable waves worldwide.

Two gazillion billion if you ask Ben Gravy. 

The WSL picked 11 of them for CT venues this season. 

Pipeline, Sunset (Hawaii), Supertubos (Portugal), Bells, Margaret River (Australia), G-Land (Indonesia), Punta Roca (El Salvador), Saquarema (Brazil), J Bay (South Africa), Teahupo’o (Tahiti) and Lower Trestles (USA). 

The sixth event, G-Land, has just concluded after twenty-five years off the tour schedule. 

Jack Robinson and Johanne Defay won tigers

Grrrr.

And was it a success? 

Let’s disqus.

Mike Tyson approves. Photo by Ed Sloane/World Surf League

The Waves

Let’s call a spade a spade and concede we got shafted by the swell. 

And when I say ‘we’, I mean the WSL, the surfers, the audience. 

All of us together, shafted.

Italo and Gabby even choppered off to Bali mid-window because they were eggy.

“Look it was 1/10 of its potential, but all things considered the highlight reel is still pretty sick. We still saw lots of high-performance surfing,” says Jungle TV and CUSP host, Stace Galbraith.

G-Land, as Mason Ho, Luke Egan and numerous other highly-regarded surfers concluded, is one of the best waves in the world*. 

*On its day. 

“It’s like Pipeline but in a pointbreak scenario. Where you come out of the barrel, get a little breather, and then drive into another Pipeline,” said former champ Luke Egan describing thumping Speed Reef, the inner section of the pass. 

But we saw no Banzai. 

Por que?

Not quite Banzai. Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

The Numbers

Following the mid-season cut, the WSL shortened its event window.

The opening two events at Pipe and Sunset had fourteen days to get through competition. Portugal and Bells had eleven, Margies had twelve. After the cut, G Land had ten days, El Salvador will have nine days, Rio will have eight days, J Bay will have ten days, and Teahupoo will have eleven. 

Pre cut, that is 64 days to run five events, after the cut, that is 48 days to run five events. 

Overall, a 25% decrease in the event period after the cut.

The idea of cutting 22 surfers (43% of the pack) was to refine the tour and give them better opportunities to run events in optimal swell cycles. 

Remember E Lo’s letter? Less surfers, less heats, ergo, more freedom to pick and choose when they surf etc. 

Made sense, no? 

Pre-cut, a full competition required running 70 heats. 

After the cut it required only 46. 

A 34% drop in running time.

But then the WSL also cut the event window by ~25%. 

So yes, overall a slight increase in opportunities for good waves.

A significant one? 

Not really.

A small taste of what’s (hopefully) to come. Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

A Suggestion

Now, the League cannot be blamed for the surf quality but they can be blamed for the tightening of the window.

G-Land is a South Swell magnet. Nothing but the Indian Ocean below it. The Indian’s largest swells tend to come in the Southern Hemisphere’s winter (June-August) where reliable southeast trade winds and a consistent supply of swell from Indian Ocean winter storms come from southwest. 

The G-Land waiting period began on May 28 and finished on the 6th. As it turned out, there was great swell before the event started, and a bigger SW swell coming from the 7th onwards. Even if this event had a normal length window, they would have only scored on finals day.

Still not ideal but better than nothing.

No washing is warranted for the WSL’s tour schedulers, as this one can be chalked up more to bad luck rather than bad planning. But for future events, give them a full waiting period for a better chance of hitting them ‘optimal swell cycles’.

Please.

Mens

Now, surfing. 

It’s good to have Gabby around. 

“When you need me but do not want me I stay. When you want me but no longer need me, I go,’ said Nanny McPhee once. 

So too with Gabs.

Was five seconds and one clutch Jack Robinson performance away from a finals finish first event back. 

On that note, Jack. 

Holy shit. Back to back. Now second place on tour. 

Also, two Aussies in the top 5.

Who wound the clock back to 2013?

‘The surfer’s definitely enjoyed themselves. Anytime they can surf to themselves without getting peppered is a good time,” said Stace Galbraith. Aussies boyz + Matt, glowing. Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

Womens

Next, chix. 

On the women’s side we have now had six different winners from six events. 

Riss in #1, currently has a 0% winning percentage in finals this season despite making 50% of them. 

Mom’s spaghetti. 

“Johanne Defay definitely has the best backhand on the women’s tour,” CUSP host and WSL commentator, Stace Galbraith told us. 

“There was no surprises there.”

“The clocks run out, times up, over, blaow.” Johanne with the mic drop. Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

Scoring

Onto scoring. 

Now I love my boy Jack. 

But between Bells (vs Italo), Margarets (vs John Florence) and G Land (vs Filipe Toledo) he’s gotten three nods from three fairly contentious situations. 

Stace felt otherwise.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to think you can lose a CT final holding a 5.33. Jack didn’t need a nine, he needed a 6.67. That’s not an unattainable total, and he did three big turns.” Stace reminded us. “I don’t get wound up so much about judging anymore, it takes up too much energy. Three of the judges gave him the score. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.”

Settled.

Grumbling after the fact ain’t gonna change anything. Photo by Ed Sloane/World Surf League

John’s Knee

Unsettled.

Every year since 2018 JJF has experienced knee issues around this mid-year period. 

At G Land John appeared wearing a “space-shuttle-sized” knee brace in his round one heat.

He still won easily.

When he came in, John gave the following statement about his knee:

“Unfortunately yesterday morning I kind of tweaked my left knee, maybe my MCL. It’s been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me. I was thinking about pulling out of the event then did some work with the medical staff then had a surf this morning and felt okay so decided to keep at it. I was so nervous before that heat because I still didn’t really know what it was going to feel like but it ended up feeling fine and having no pain so I’m really stoked to get the heat win and now.”

Then he lost to Jadson Andre. 

‘Dear Santa Claus, I have been a very good boy this year and I would very much appreciate a new knee joint. Sincerely, John x.’ Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League)

Gabriel’s Voluptuous Thighs

“Yeah, it doesn’t look great (for John). Heavily strapped and braced is not a good sign. He claimed it was ‘preventative’ but that’s some pretty serious gear to be getting around in. Some people are just built differently. I was looking at Gabriel Medina’s quads in his post-heat interview and his board shorts were riding up around his thighs. I was just in awe. I don’t reckon you could kill him. He looks that strong. Then queue Brazilian sexual fantasies… etc”

Anyhows…

Brief over.

Dreamy and unkillable. Photo by Matt Dunbar/World Surf League

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