Day One Of The 59th Eggy Invitational, Capped - Stab Mag

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"I'm going to win the world title" said Kanoa Igarashi after posting the highest wave and heat total. He just might too. Photo by WSL

Day One Of The 59th Eggy Invitational, Capped

F1 drivers decorate the Bells stairway and Kelly waxes the inside of his jersey.

news // Apr 11, 2022
Words by Ethan Davis
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Today was slow. 

If you missed it DW (don’t worry), none of your fav pros have been issued their redundancy packages yet. Only eight heats of the Men’s non-elimination ran today, and thank god (or JMD) for that. 

In a snapshot

  • Waves: junky head high Bells bowl
  • Overall surf entertainment: 3/10, Red Bull stunt plane 7/10 (noisy) 
  • Standouts: Mikey Wright, Sammy Pupo, Jackson Baker
  • Miscellanea: Kelly waxed the inside of his jersey, the Bells staircase today decorated with F1 drivers today (Mick Schumaker and Yuki Tsunoda)
  • Peak performance: Kanoa Igarashi (Heat 6 – 16.24)
  • Head to heat analyzer for: Heats 4, 5, 6

WSL’s SVPOTAC, Jessi Miley Dyer had a tough gig with this forecast. A maximum of 10 days to get through the Men’s and Women’s draws doesn’t leave a whole lot of wiggle room. As a result, round 1 of the men were thrown in the drink today, at the highly specific time of 11:02 AM as the tide bottomed out. She wound up pulling the pin around the 3:17 mark as it ebbed higher once again.

Cal Rob and Connor O, not overly enthused. Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League

All apt descriptors for the opening heats of the 59th Bells event began with the letter S — soupy, sleepy, slopey were used in equal measure from those in the booth. ‘Shithouse’ was the term my housemate used who took one glance at the screen and hurried off to work. Drumming up the mid-season cut was the WSL’s improvised solution for a slow ocean, with the soft-packaged ‘bubble watch’ infographic being conjured up during the down time. There was lots of down time. Someone buy the broadcast team some Don Julios.

Takeaways from today? Kanoa looks lethal. The highest heat total of the round + donning yellow = scary. “I’m winning the world title this year,” he announced in his post-heat interview. Mikey Wright looked great clobbering the outside bowl, putting his jacked forearms from plucking people out of floodwaters to good use — more on him and Kanoa below. Jacko Baker also looked solid off the back of his Surfest win, eclipsing JJF in the final moments with good ol’ fashioned meat and potatoes rail work.

The Red Bull stunt plane, Mick Schumaker and Yuki Tsunoda were welcome additions to the broadcast. A tactful PR ploy by the WSL to promote the release of the new ‘Make or Break’ series? Or just a timely budding romance between F1 and surfers? “We need more fireball personalities like Yuki on tour,” said the dearly missed Ronnie Blakey. 

Amen.

Two kings, Kanoa Igarashi and Yuki Tsunoda. Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League

Callum Robson, still without a major sponsor, opened proceedings in heat one against Seth Moniz and Ry Cal. Power surfing prevailed, and his three big thuds on the outside bowl saw the pride of Evans Head move into round 3 with Ry Cal in tow. Current #5, Seth Moniz was sent to the elimination round. 

Former Bell-ringer, Italo Ferreira, showed early signs of repeating his 2018 run, linking together multiple turns in the squally slop against Zeke Lau and Imaikalani deVault at mid-day. Zeke answered back with a couple of nice gouges, but ended up trailing by a 1.5 point margin. His Tokoro’s looked fire though. Imai was captivated by the stunt plane doing flips for the opening ten minutes and forgot to catch a wave. To be fair, it was very distracting. 

What sound does a stunt plane make? Photo by Ed Sloane/World Surf League

In heat three, it was Owen Wright, the WSL’s injury replacement wildcard for this season, who took the W over Kelly and Nat Young. Owen, currently in equal 31st has yet to advance past round 3 this season, but managed to nab a 7.43 for his tidy backside swoops. Owen will need major results in Bells and WA if he wants to keep his spot with the impending mid-year cut. 

Nat looked wobbly and the GOAT looked tired, likely from dealing with the tedious admin to pass Australian immigration two weeks after contracting the spicy cough. It was either fatigue induced delirium or pro-level trolling that saw him scrub wax inside his jersey in the competitors area pre-heat. “It fits much better now,” he told Seth with a stone cold expression. 

Ah Kelly, always playing mind games.

Heat 4 is worth visiting the ol’ analyzer for. Leo vs Mikey vs Griffin, finished in that same order, and performances by all were fine and noble. Mikey, who seems like he would be happy to knock off early and go cray fishing really has nothing to lose here. Big beard, big mullet and big turns ended up a fraction of a point short to Leo’s more refined approach in the end. His lead-footed hacks were fun to watch though. 

“I feel a bit embarrassed,” said Mick after collecting a heat total of 6.73 against Fil Toledo and Sammy Pupo. The embarrassment was unwarranted. The 4x Bell-ringer has spent the last few months on the frontlines of the floods, pulling people to safety and paying for search choppers to rescue people out of pocket. He looked a little rusty in the first ten, but the waves were also shithouse/soupy/sloppy and he was groveling against two masters of the art, and he’s 40, and hasn’t done this in a while. Sammy’s first wave saw him in the driver’s seat for the entire heat – a 7.5 for four really nice and varied powerful turns. He could do some damage here. 

Heat six was great but first, we go to a quick ‘Bonsoy Brew Break.’ Sally Fitz soon appears on screen handling various kitchen appliances. “Harvey Norman products help me move through this Kaleidoscope of worlds,” she says. Heavy lysergic acid undertones.

Kanoa was nek level today in the yellow-jersey. Caught the two best and biggest waves and surfed them to a tee. He was the only surfer in the draw to notch upwards of a 14 point heat total, and between his 9.07 and 7.17, and his overall cyborg consistency and precision, his remark that he would “win the world title” is not all that unlikely.

Heat seven was unremarkable, and saw Freddy Morais slide past South Africans Jordy Smith and Matt McGillivray. Heat Eight was more entertaining, with Jacko Baker pipping John Florence in the dying seconds. Is he this year’s Morgan Cibillic, here to haunt John? We’ll see.

Competition is expected to continue tomorrow with better conditions expected for the morning.

Today he dusted off the cobwebs. Tomorrow, maybe he’ll rinse the field. Photo by WSL

Gamble Ramble

With online surf betting finally legal in the US, we’re teaming up with Betonline.ag to give you our picks for this year’s CT season. Here are Mikey’s picks for potential Bells event winners

  • Lakey Peterson at +800 (I did $20)
  • Griffin Colapinto at +1400 (I did $10)
  • Filipe Toledo at +700 (I did $40)
  • Johanne Defay at +1600 (I did $25)
  • Leonardo Fioravanti at +8000 (I did $5)
  • Jordy Smith at +800 (I did $30)
  • Steph Gilmore at +400 (I did $20)
  • Ethan Ewing at +1000 (I did $25) 
  • Total spend: $175

And for Round 1…

  • Kolohe Andino over Jack Robinson and Jadson Andre at +150 (I bet $20 to return $50)
  • Gabriela Bryan over Lakey Peterson and Courtney Conlogue at +400 (I bet $10 to return $50)
  • Bettylou Sakura Johnson over Malia Manuel and Tyler Wright at +325 (I best $5 to return $21.25)
  • Leonardo Fioravanti over Griffin Colapinto and Mikey Wright at +300 (I bet $5 to return $20) WIN
  • Samuel Pupo over Filipe Toledo and Mick Fanning at +450 (I bet $5 to return $27.50) WIN
  • Jackson Baker over John Florence and Connor O’Leary at +350 (I bet $5 to return $22.50) WIN
  • Joao Chianca over Conner Coffin and Caio Ibelli at +275 (I bet $5 to return $18.75)
  • Molly Picklum over Steph Gilmore and Brisa Hennessy at +250 (I bet $5 to return $17.50)

Total spend: $60
So far: 3/3, up $55.0 on the event.

Higher odds, lower return — but still, Italo won his heat. Photo by Ed Sloane/World Surf League

Results

Men’s Round 1

  • Heat One: Callum Robson (11.33) DEF Ryan Callinan (11.23) DEF Seth Moniz (6.73)
  • Heat Two: Italo Ferreira (12.83) DEF Zeke Lau (10.73) DEF Imai deVault (8.46)
  • Heat Three: Owen Wright (12.44) DEF Kelly Slater (12.04) DEF Nat Young (8.37)
  • Heat Four: Leo Fioravanti (13.27) DEF Mikey Wright (12.67) DEF Griffin Colapinto (11.76)
  • Heat Five: Samuel Pupo (13.23) DEF Filipe Toledo (12.23) DEF Mick Fanning (6.73)
  • Heat Six: Kanoa Igarashi (16.24) DEF Lucca Mesinas (11.17) DEF Tully Wylie (9.36) 
  • Heat Seven: Frederico Morais (10.33) DEF Jordy Smith (9.67) DEF Matt McGillivray (7.23)
  • Heat Eight: Jackson Baker (13.77) DEF John Florence (13.37) DEF Connor O’Leary

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