Stab Magazine | How/Why Kieren Perrow Called The Comp Off (From The Channel!) And Proceeded To Get Tubed All Day

How/Why Kieren Perrow Called The Comp Off (From The Channel!) And Proceeded To Get Tubed All Day

“They’re calling for two-knot winds [tomorrow],” KP said in the water. “That’s nothing. And it could be ten foot and unreal!” 

news // Aug 28, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

There is perhaps no more thankless job in surfing than Kieren Perrow’s, outgoing WSL commissioner. 

This morning in Tahiti, before the light had begun to creep above the mountains to the East, Kieren was headed out around the reef and into the Teahupoo channel, to get eyes on the lineup and, of course, to get a personal little taste of what he would be asking surfers to compete in.

For the last six years, KP—former Pipe Master, 2002 ASP Rookie of the Year, and 2003’s #6 in the world—has been tasked with a job that, as Stab‘s Sam McIntosh likes to say, maybe three or four people in the world are capable of handling. 

After announcing he was stepping away from his role as Commissioner earlier this year, it was rumored KP would retire following Chopes—although whether or not he actually will, remains to be determined. 

Watching clips from the AM freesurf, holy fuck were there some gems. Everyone from Gabs to Wade Carmichael nabbed crystal clear, square four-footers heaving on the inside ledge. After Friday’s layday turned into a dreamy small wave surf, Saturday’s green light left much to be desired. With Tuesday and Wednesday’s swell looking very solid, indeed, the little chatter around the little village at the end of the road was ripe with many an armchair swell forecaster’s hemming and hawing.

They should have ran all day Sunday!

The swell Tuesday is too west!

It’s going to be onshore! 

They should have ran Friday! (instead of waiting for Slater to arrive with the wonk Saturday morning, as many implied.)

The guy can’t fuckin win. 

This morning, after packing a few good ones, and watching most everyone present do the same, KP reached up to the WSL boat and grabbed what looked like a Nokia flip phone circa his 2003 rookie year, and put the comp on hold til noon, as a West Bowl went square a stone’s throw up the reef. 

With the 11:30 call approaching, Slater, Seabass, Caio Ibelli, as well as the newly arrived Hobgood Brothers jockeyed with a handful of the local boys for the occasional four-to-six footer, with plenty of long lulls between flurries. At one point Slater claimed it had been almost an hour between waves, then nabbed an absolute drainer.

Just inside, Perrow was again lurking on the West Bowl, nabbing square lurchers from beneath the pack. Around 11:55, after a particularly heavy one hugged the reef and spat him into the channel, KP bolted for the boat again, to push the call to 1pm (and presumably rejoin the pack for another couple pits).

What you wouldn’t know from KP’s relaxed demeanor in the lineup was the heavy fire the poor fucker was under. Today was dreamy, almost playful, if slow. It would have made for potentially fantastic viewing, or it could have fallen flat, a bloodless afternoon punctuated by occasional flourishes of solid juice.

“There’s so many Brazilians on tour this year,” one of our favorite Brazilians told us, “and they were all giving him so much shit to run today.”

Tomorrow is going to be pretty fucking heavy. Surfers with less of a penchant for big waves would have dominated today’s playground. Tomorrow they’ll potentially be lambs at slaughter. 

“They’re calling for two-knot winds,” KP said in the water. “That’s nothing. And it could be ten foot and unreal.” 

As we paddled in after KP made the 1 pm call to wait until tomorrow to run, we looked back up the reef as he chipped into a double-up that slipped under the pack and grew, knifed the drop and pumped through the guts of the thing. 

You’re a good man, KP. We don’t care what they say about your calls. 


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