Stab Magazine | Adriano De Souza is still number one, and here’s why:
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Adriano De Souza is still number one, and here’s why:

Story by Elliot Struck By now, you’ll have heard the inescapable news that Mick Fanning fought off a shark less than five minutes into the 2015 J-Bay Open final, cutting the event short. And when something of this magnitude happens, we’re left with a thousand burning questions. Such as (among many others): How come Mick […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Story by Elliot Struck

By now, you’ll have heard the inescapable news that Mick Fanning fought off a shark less than five minutes into the 2015 J-Bay Open final, cutting the event short. And when something of this magnitude happens, we’re left with a thousand burning questions. Such as (among many others): How come Mick and Jules get 8000 points each, rather than the 10,000 points a winner would’ve scooped, leaving Adriano de Souza in the yellow jersey? This question has been reverberating particularly loudly in the Stab digital dungeons, and we wished to clear the haze. Dave Prodan is the highly suave and articulate VP of Communications for the WSL, and he kindly filled some blanks for us.

Stab: Please break down the decision on point-splitting and rankings.
Dave Prodan: It’s not overly interesting. It’s outlined in the WSL Rulebook that if a competition is cancelled (for whatever reason), then surfers receive placings and points from lowest place in that round – in this case, the round was the Final and they both finish Equal 2nd with 8,000 points and split the US$140k up for grabs in the final $70k/$70k.

Things could have gone a lot worse during the incident. At what point are the cameras turned off? Webcast protocol is a tricky one to articulate. There is one in place, as there is for all major sports, for incidents of a potentially violent or graphic nature. The WSL’s is always in place and, depending on how the situation evolves, various protocols are activated. We’re all very relieved that both surfers came out of the situation physically unscathed.

Jules_Paddles_For_Mick_Fanning_Main

The worst moment in Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson’s lives. Photo: WSL/Kirstin Scholtz

Will the World Tour ever return to J-Bay? With regards to next steps, everyone is taking a minute to decompress, process and have a discussion about the path forward. There will be a lot of discussion between the surfers, the WSL Commissioner’s Office and the Executive Team as well as a review of the measures that were in place – what worked well, what can be improved upon, etc. The WSL (formerly-ASP-formerly-IPS) has been coming to South Africa since the sport’s inception in 1976 and it’s a beautiful country with renowned wildlife in and out of the water. The WSL remains committed to putting the world’s best surfers in the world’s best waves and Jeffreys Bay, on its day, absolutely qualifies – the form in which it exists in the WSL universe moving forward will result from the ongoing discussion with our surfers.

Any other impressions from the day? I don’t know what else to say that hasn’t been already. Mick Fanning, a guy that I already had a lot of respect for, fought off a fuckin’ aggressive shark in competition, lost his board, swam away, urged Julian to paddle in and then swung around for another clash with the shark – there’s not even a level for that, next or otherwise. And Julian! The guy sprint paddled into the fray to support a boardless Mick – we’ve all thought about what we’d do in that situation and Julian did the most heroic thing imaginable. The response time from the Water Safety Team was rapid and effective and our unsung hero, water photog Kelly Cestari, urged them to help the surfers and leave him in the water to swim in by himself. Just admiration for everyone involved and gratitude that no one was hurt. Justifiably the biggest story on the planet today.

Mick_And_Jules_On_Boat

The best moment in Mick Fanning and Julian Wilson’s lives. Photo: WSL/Kirstin Scholtz

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