Kelly Slater Defends Mikey Wright Against Internet Haters
Chivalry ain’t dead!
A few days ago, Stab posted an Instagram clip of Mikey Wright decimating oversized South African walls, captioned with the announcement that he had officially received another wildcard, this time into the 2018 Corona J-Bay Open.
True to Stab’s form, we included a fiery quote from our recent interview with Mikey with the hope that it would get people talking. The quote read: “I just kind of turn up to events and turn stones. I ruffle some feathers.”
As it turns out, Mikey’s string of wildcard entries this season (he’s surfed every event except Bells)—the result of consistently impressive results against top CT competitors—have “ruffled the feathers” of more than just John and Gabriel.
In fact, and this came as quite a surprise to Stab, many surf fans are livid that the WSL keeps offering him wildcard slots.
In fact, the top comment was a negative one from a man called @whothefuckisjohnking, who felt the WSL was unfairly “fixing” the season so Mikey would be guaranteed a spot on next year’s Tour. Then Kelly Slater swooped in to defend the tight-lipped Aussie.
Interesting points on both sides.
As Slater points out, talent, above all else, should be rewarded in the world of professional sports. As spectators, would we rather watch a bunch of mediocre athletes who try really hard, or someone intrinsically gifted who offers occasional moments of jaw-dropping performance?
The ol’ Ben Dunn or Dane Reynolds conundrum…
But on the other hand, to John King’s point, how does the WSL justify this to the rest of the QS warriors who for years have been bouncing from mediocre beach break to mediocre beach break in hopes of realizing their ultimate dream?
Worse still, how do they explain it to Jack Robinson?
When asked about this, the WSL told Stab:
“From Snapper on, [Mikey’s] wildcards [at Margaret River/Uluwatu, Rio and Keramas] have all been allocated by the WSL Commissioner’s Office based on CT performance [a 9th at Gold Coast] as well as QS performance [winning Newcastle, highest-rated Australian, etc.]. Those subsequent wildcards have fed into further CT performances [13th at Rio, 3rd in Keramas – as well as the 3rd at Margies/Ulus] and he’s now firmly entrenched within the Top 10. As he has a legitimate chance at qualifying via the CT and his performances [low seed besting high seeds] have validated his place in these events, it’s possible that he’ll see more CT wildcards allocated by the Commissioner’s Office before the year’s out.”
So: Slater/WSL 1, Haters 0.
Then another guy, who goes by the handle @m4attk3nt, hit Slater with a historically salient rebuttal. Slater bent, but did not break.
The debate rages on, but with the King’s opinion firmly stamped and the undeniable performances Mikey has delivered on both Tours in 2018, it would be silly to combat his entry into further CT events.
Think about it this way: he’s not taking any local wildcard slots, nor is he there based on someone else’s injury (a la Stu Kennedy in 2016). Mikey Wright is unofficially on the CT through a little luck and a lot of effort; now he’s number seven in the world and within World Title range.
Let the mullet surf.
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