Stab Magazine | Jake Paterson On Judging At Lowers: “These Guys Had A Shocker!”

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Jake Paterson On Judging At Lowers: “These Guys Had A Shocker!”

The Snake’s take on the panel, Jordy Smith’s win and our title contenders.

news // Sep 16, 2016
Words by Jake Paterson
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Where do we start with this event? Best to address the elephant in the room first I think – the judging. Holy shit these guys had a shocker! After giving the judges praise from the last event, I think I have to take it all back.

Ok, to be fair everyone has different opinions and are bias to the guy they think should win but I’ve never seen almost the whole world have the same opinion as they did in the Tanner Gudauskas vs Gabriel Medina heat. I have re-watched this heat ten times and still can’t see how Gabs lost it. Yes, Tanner was ripping and maybe the judges had never seen him rip so hard, is that the reason why every score was over 8.4? For me Gab’s 8.3 was as good, if not better then his first good wave of 8.8 and I think most of the world thinks the same.

You know when the commentators are baffled about a score and can’t explain it, then something’s up! What I really wanted to see on the web cast was the head judge to man up and get on camera to explain why Gab’s wave was only scored an 8.3. I’m sure they can try and justify the score somehow so why didn’t they get on camera and explain to the public what exactly the judges were thinking?

Other suss heats include Matt Wilkinson and Julian Wilson’s exchange. I read What Julian wrote on Instagram and think he said it perfectly: “I think the judges need to sit with a few of the best surfers in the world and know what good surfing is!” The problem is the world’s best surfers make hard things look easy, and the judges expect more from the top dogs. With Trestles being the most high-performance stop I’m sure half the tour’s scratching their heads wondering what the WSL criteria actual is.

Jordy Smith, the overall winner, had some huge heat totals along the way – he also dodged a few bullets as well! In Kai Otton’s round three heat, he only needed a 3.94, and in the semi finals Filipe Toledo made a huge mistake by splitting the peak with Jordy, giving up priority. This allowed Jordy to start the heat with an 8. In the final Joel Parkinson falling on his first wave ended up costing him. All in all Jordy was a well deserved winner.

Kelly ‘forever young’ Slater: Just keeps on doing it! Back to his old solid and confident best. Looks like he’s finally worked out what Firewire boards work for him. Beating Jack Freestone at his own game was very impressive. I just wish Kelly had of stuck to his guns in the quarter finals against Filipe. He got suckered into a wave that I’m sure wasn’t in his game plan and the very next wave gave Filipe the heat win.

The World Title race:

A two horse race all of a sudden turned into a four horse race. All of the top four have three bad results, Wilko having four bad results but the only one with two wins! The WSL rules state that the surfers get to drop two of their worse results at the end of the year, so consistency for the rest of the year will be crucial for these guys. I’m still calling a John John v Gabs showdown at Pipe.

Next up is the Quik Pro France where both John John and Gabs have pretty much owned in the last few year. The word on the street is that the sand banks are amazing in France so could be a crazy barrel fest. If it is, old mate Kelly could be a chance, but everyone knows John John is one of the best tube riders in the world and if the wind comes up onshore Gabs will be flying high. I think Wilko will get past the third round for the first time in the past three starts. Jordy hasn’t done great in France in the past but coming off a win he will be full of confidence so this could be the year to make the finals day. Exciting times, let’s just hope the judges get it right.

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