Italo Ferreira Just Got Shafted With That Interference Call, But It’s Not The Judges’ Fault
Did Italo “hinder Jordy’s scoring ability”? Not one bit. But apparently that’s irrelevant.
Let’s keep this short and sweet.
Italo got robbed in Quarter 4, by way of an interference call that never, ever should have happened.
Italo drops in on a sizeable Bells wall from way out the back. Jordy, holding priority and sitting further in on the bowl, decided to swing around and take off in the whitewater in front of Italo. Realizing he had to get out of the wave to not interfere with Jordy, he went around the section Jordy was dropping in on and kicked off the shoulder.
Jordy then bounced out of the whitewater and popped to his feet, with Italo completely out of the picture.
Jordy rode the wave well and scored a 7.9.
Italo caught the next wave out the back, throwing a huge under the lip snap and banging the massive end section for an 8.4.
But the judges didn’t drop those scores for quite some time. I assumed they were deliberating on the waves themselves, as the rides were quite close in quality, but as it turned out the judges were considering whether or not to give Italo an interference.
After five minutes, the men in the tower delivered a devastating blow. Interference to Ferreira, knocking his entire second score out of the equation, meaning, in essence, that he could not win.
My first reaction was one of fire and fury.
“What?! He was nowhere near Jordy! His track was eaten by the whitewater before Jordy even stood up! He didn’t hinder Jordy’s scoring ability whatsoever! How, on earth, can this be an interference?
Occy, who was standing nearby, agreed.
“They really need to change that rule,” Occy asserted.
So I started writing this dissertation, which was initially titled, “Italo Ferreira Got Fucking Shafted On That Interference Call,” my fingers bouncing off keys like horny rabbits. Fired the fuck up.
Then I got a tap on the shoulder, followed by the handing of a mobile device, which had the WSL rulebook pulled up to page 61. It read:
And just like that, my world fell to pieces. The judges didn’t blow the decision, in fact, they called it exactly right. Surfers will receive an interference in a priority situation if they: “Cross in front of or bottom turn around the Surfer with priority, regardless if the Surfer is up and Riding a wave or in the process of catching a wave.”
That’s what Italo did, to a tee.
So when it comes down to it, and despite every emotion inside of me that wants to argue the latter, Italo was at fault in this situation. Not the judges, and certainly not Jordy Smith.
If there are two things to take from this, it’s that I shouldn’t always trust my instincts on these matters (which I should have learned with my latest seeding faux pas), and that, as Occy said, the WSL really needs to change this rule. If a surfer doesn’t hinder scoring ability, there should be no interference, full stop.
Italo would have, and probably should have, won that heat. But he broke the rules so he didn’t.
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