Kelly Slater Loses To Leo Fioravanti, Again!
Jordy Smith is Ryan Callinan’s good luck charm.
In a rare bout of smugness, I’d like to refer to this paragraph written yesterday:
“Out of the top five surfers (The “Title Race”) Gabby and John John–who have been the most dominant in France for the past few years–are through to round three, while Kelly, Wilko and Jordy head into elimination. Is this a foreshadow of where the world title is headed? A face-off between Gabby and JJF, with the others badgering ’till the end, but never venturing into their space.”
I had hoped it wouldn’t be true. Nothing helps my mood more than Kelly or Jordy getting into a final. It’s like Zoloft for the soul.
When Wilko got through his heat against Joan Duru it seemed like things were going to be all right, and that the gloomy prediction wouldn’t come to life. The French local had been electric throughout the European leg, with a quarter-final at Cascais, and some strong surfing in and around the Quiksilver Pro France.
For the first time in a while, however, Wilko’s heat went his way; there was a sigh of relief that he didn’t fall foul of luck–the norm of late. He surfed strong, got decent waves, and beat his opponent, just like he did so many times in the first two events this year. His winning bender seems so long ago now, as if years have passed. He put the Frenchman out to pasture, and then things went a little bit pear.
Jordy was up against Ryan Callinan–who has had a shocker of a rookie year on only winning two heats thus far. Until this heat against Jordy, where he upped it to three. In his words, he summarised, “I’ve only made two heats this year, and that’s my third one. And two of them have been against Jordy, so maybe he’s my lucky charm.”
It was all about a backhand tail slide rotation that Ryan had to pull off to get the score he needed, and with seconds left, Jordy needed a 5.77. He picked up a right and rode it for all it was worth, but his three cracks weren’t enough. A visibly disappointed Jordy promptly walked his board into a wall.
“I didn’t get the chance to open up and get started,” said Jordy after his heat. “Ryan’s a great surfer, and he just tried his luck on that last move. It is hard to take the loss, but I’ll push on to the next one.”
That prophecy was coming true.
It was a weird heat with Kelly against Leo. Neither of them could buy a wave out there. Leo had two scoring waves that were under two points, and Kelly was struggling to get anything decent on the board. Then things got strange. Kelly was holding priority, and to the casual observers, like us, he didn’t seem to paddle for anything, and then the priority swapped to Leo. Kelly was amused, bemused, and confused. It appeared to rattle him and resulted in a few bogged rails and a bit of a wobble here and there. He also didn’t seem confident on his board, and the combination saw him out of the event and heading for Portugal.
It’s disappointing to see Kelly and Jordy bow out at this stage of the event because they bring a particular brand of excitement and drama to the tour, along with cutting edge surfing and loads of power. On the other hand, it’s heartening to see Wilko still breathing, for now.
Dusty Payne and Stu Kennedy was an evenly matched battle of the wildcards, and both surfers were going hard and to the air. However, their points came from large backhand turns. Stu–who is trying to further his opportunity as a replacement surfer–is a new dad, sitting at 17 on the Championship Tour and has owned his good luck so far. This heat win over Dusty is a continuation of this program.
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