Stab Magazine | Kelly Slater Was Robbed By The WSL

Playing (Mostly) Exclusively On Stab Premium: Facing Monsters, Featuring Kerby & Cortney Brown

59 Views

Kelly Slater Was Robbed By The WSL

The rulebook confirms, Gabby’s now-famous drop-in was not so legal after all. 

news // Dec 21, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Surf fans were wrong about Slater’s infamous 4.17 at the 2015 Hurley Lowers Pro. So wrong that it made my brain hurt. You screamed like lunatics about an incompetent and backward-thinking judging panel, while failing to recognize falling down on your stomach and popping back up again constitute a “make” in our sport. The WSL scored it correctly, which made me very glad that surfing was a dictatorship, and not a democracy, on that day. 

But this time dear surf fans, your base instincts were correct. 

When we watched Gabriel Medina look back once, and then once more, before free-falling within feet of Kelly Slater’s head, our initial surfer response was: What the fuck?

https://www.youtube.com/embed/atZiUvv02N4

For reasons you’ll soon understand, it was more justified when Kelly did it to Joel in 2012.

As if the drop-in wasn’t bad enough, Gabby then steered his board in the opposite direction of the wave just to ensure that Kelly would receive an interference. Despite the World Title on the line, this act went beyond most surfers’ sense of competitive gamesmanship. And the message boards went crazy. 

Here are some of the tamest rinsings:

From Coconut bombs: Karma, lost your heat against Jeremy haha. Good for you medina.

From Paul D.: Media may have won the heat but he lost all of my respect (yeah I get it I’m just a fan). Kelly is already injured, and to drop in on someone in a backdoor tube is just reckless endangerment. He’s a kid dropping in on a 7 time pipe master and greatest of all time. Show some respect.

From Haha: Wrong, fucked up a wave that he had no intent of riding… if he went to ride and to get a score, fair enough…

During the live broadcast, Ronnie Blakey made a similar observation to Haha‘s. While bickering with Peter Mel about the incident, Ron Dawg said: “But there’s also another rule, right? And that is when you’ve got priority, you can’t sit down the line and take off on the wave on someone and… basically block the ride.”

While that was being explained, the WSL displayed the following visual: 

Screen Shot 2017 12 20 at 5.39.27 PM

The mixed messaging made it difficult for viewers to pinpoint who, if anybody, was in the wrong in this situation. Morality and righteousness aside, what did the rules dictate? 

If I’m being completely transparent, I believed that due to the power of Priority, Gabby was free to do what he did. If anything, based on the WSL’s policies, I thought Kelly could be at risk of an interference. A lot of viewers felt differently, but I wrote that off as the same type of emotion-based, Kelly-worshipping logic that had you believing a botched air was worth of a 10. Today I became privy to new information that has changed my view entirely. 

A few hours ago, @kellyslater posted the following on his Instagram Story, of all places:

Screen Shot 2017 12 20 at 6.22.47 PM

Did he just game the system?

And it does seem that Gabby’s offense fits perfectly within the guidelines of Rule 154:09, AKA Unsportsmanlike Interference, specifically because he turned toward Kelly as opposed to following the wave’s true direction (right). This was not only a petty move on Medina’s part, but technically it should have been an interference against Kelly. 

And how would that have played out, if it were called? Well, assuming it would have been deemed a Priority Interference, Gabs would have lost his second highest score of the heat. That would have left Gab with just one score — a 9.07 — which would have been just shy of Kelly’s two wave total of 9.16. In other words, Kelly Slater should have technically won that heat.

Not that it really matters, because Jeremy beat Gabriel in the next heat thus securing the Title for Two Johns, but it’s still pretty interesting — especially considering the uproar the incident caused in the broader surfing community.

So congrats surf fans! Your instincts were correct, and the WSL needs to take a closer look at its own rule book. 

 

 

 

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

Jack Robinson Isn’t (Really) Injured, Police Say ‘No Surfing’, A Chinese Star Emerges

Our first dispatch from the 2024 Olympic Games in Tahiti.

Jul 25, 2024

The Hog Makes His Olympic Predictions

After a night spent vigorously cross-examining athlete data, Hedgy produced these BOAG picks.

Jul 25, 2024

2024 Stab Surfer Of The Year MYC (Mid-Year Check-in)

Who's made the biggest footwell in surf culture, thus far, in the Year of the…

Jul 25, 2024

Are Bronze Medalists Really Happier Than Silver?

Owen 'Bronze God' Wright demystifies the 2024 surfing Olympics.

Jul 24, 2024

‘Desensitised’ Chronicles Kipp Caddy’s Journey To The ‘Wave Of A Lifetime’ In Mind Melting 8K 

“I think crew get a bit too beaten up on the whole tow vs paddle…

Jul 24, 2024

Long Read: How Surfing The World’s Most Dangerous Slabs Saved Kerby Brown’s Life

"There is big wave surfing, and then there is what Kerby does." - Kai Lenny

Jul 24, 2024

Who Nathan Florence Is Betting On For Olympic Gold

Become a better better with our 2023 SSOTY.

Jul 23, 2024

Kai McKenzie Attacked By Shark In Port Macquarie

The young freesurfer sustained a life-threatening injury to his right leg.

Jul 23, 2024

Op-ed: PSA From The Photog World — Know Your Fucking Limits

Nate Lawrence, Chris Bryan, Dom Mosqueira, Morgan Maassen and more chime in on the recent…

Jul 22, 2024

Unlocked: Oxbow’s Children Of Teahupo’o

10,000 miles from Paris, here's a portrait of surfing's 'Olympic Village.'

Jul 22, 2024

Dimitri Poulos Is Reinvigorated After Losing His Taurine-Caffeine Sponsor

Now the 21-year-old ‘comp guy’ from Ventura threatens a Dane-esque pivot to freesurfing.

Jul 22, 2024

Empty Set: When Is It Ok To Bail Your Board?

The Florences and Mark Healey dissect the razor-thin line between cowardice and common sense

Jul 21, 2024

A (Non) Objective Look At The Best Backside Barrel Riders In History

Who has the best pigdog in the pen?

Jul 21, 2024

The Stab Interview With Jordy Smith

"If I won a gold medal, yeah, I'd probably kick out. I'd have one up…

Jul 19, 2024

How Does A Board Brand Licensing Model Work?

The Lost Stub 3.0 Joyride.

Jul 18, 2024

Challenger Series Losers Win Consolation Prizes At Namibian Desert Casino

"Some crew were saying it was a 3/10, but for me, it was 10/10. The…

Jul 18, 2024

How Teahupo’o Slungshot A Surf-Mat Toting Photographer Into An Induced Coma

Byron Mcloughlin tells the tale of his secondary drowning.

Jul 18, 2024

On Making A Living As A Gen-Z Surf Photographer And Surviving Hyper-Rare Cancer

This 21-year-old protégé of Ryan Miller and Morgan Maassen is back and #opentowork.

Jul 17, 2024
Advertisement