Power Surfing Won Today At Keramas
“I was pretty happy.” – Mikey Wright.
Watching the 2018 Corona Bali Protected should enrage every surf fan across the world. That the WSL has robbed us of this pleasure for the past five years is unforgivable. As we have learned over the past six (ten? thirty?) Balinese mornings, Keramas is the most competition-friendly venue we’ve had in years – for both men and women.
Between the hours of six and ten, and occasionally beyond, Keramas offers sections that could be used as a tube, wall, or ramp to launch off, giving competitors the ultimate freedom to surf as they desire. It forces nothing upon anyone. Surfers can get high scores in a myriad of fashions. For this reason, Keramas the ultimate competitive canvas.
Tati stuffed Steph
After Stephanie Gilmore slid out on an overhead wall with less a minute to go, it became clear that a major upset had occurred. The current World Number one and 6x Champ had fallen to the tow-headed Hawaiian Brazilian. But the best moment came from Tati’s post-heat reveal.
“I did that first good turn and I saw [Steph] right in front of me,” Tati said to her beau and adjacent-CTer Jesse Mendes. “I wanted to do another good turn in front of her so bad, but I fell! I was like ‘Ahhh!’”
Ronnie attributed this to Tati wanting to employ psychological warfare against Steph, in the sense that if Tati nailed a big hook in front of Steph, it would rattle the Champ mentally. But I think Tati’s sentiment was much more innocent. In my eyes, the haole-Brazilian wanted simply to impress her hero Stephanie Gilmore. Just like any of us would.
Caroline the Crusher
Today Ronnie said: “I don’t know about you, but to me Caroline is the best backside surfer on the Women’s CT, and she’s only 16 years old,” and I just wanted Ronnie to know that I agree. She lost today but looked great doing so.
Bali Belly is spreading!
First it was Mikey, then Caroline, and now according to Rosey “several other competitors are suffering from illness” in the Spice Islands. If there is one downside to the Indonesian events it would have to be their sanitation issues. But all things considered, still totally worth it.
It does matter who’s in your heat
A lot of people will tell you that it doesn’t matter who you’re surfing against. That at the end of thirty minutes you need to get as many points as possible, and what the other person does is irrelevant. While objectively logical, this theory is not always true.
Take the Griffin vs. Michel heat for instance.
Michel has been ripping Keramas in half for the past six days. He’s been stuffing himself deep in the tube, coming out with incredible speed and hooking his board back into the pocket with a lumberjack’s swing.
Griffin can’t match Michel’s power, and his coach Jake Paterson had to know that. Which is why Snake (probably) told Griffin to throw his fins to the sky.
Besides his eight, which was the best formed wave that came through in the heat, Griffin threw whirlwind reverses at every section that would allow it. He fell on a couple, made a few, but none of these maneuvers had the impact that he hoped they would.
Still an incredible contest from the CT upstart.
Did Mikey get pushed through another heat?
Nearing the end of his Quarterfinal clash against Willian Cardoso, Mikey Wright needed a five-point-something to take home the lead. After waiting a while out the back, Mikey selected a small inside runner and comboed it for a six and the lead
Back at the peak, needing something like a six, Willian pulled into a long tunnel, claimed it, then finished the wave with a playful jab. Seven and the lead.
With less than a minute to go, Mikey threaded a similarly deep tube, didn’t claim it, then performed a decent cutback and finished with a slash. To me, it was right on par with Willian’s last ride – worse tube, better turns – but certainly not a whole point better, which is what he needed to advance.
After a brief deliberation, the judges awarded Mikey a mid-8 – just enough to secure the win. Panning to Mikey on the beach, WSL cameras captured a surprisingly unexcited moment between Mikey, Tyler, and his coach.
In his post-heat presser, Mikey’s non-enthusiasm persisted.
“I was pretty happy,” Mikey told Kaipo when he was asked about hearing the final verdict.
Pretty happy? Pretty happy?
Mikey has changed his entire lifestyle to chase his CT dreams. He’s stopped drinking, acquired a coach, and toned his surfing down to suit the WSL criteria. If you’re not more than “pretty happy” after getting a last-second win to secure a spot in the semifinals at pumping Keramas, well, I don’t know. That just seems silly.
Jordy poked the bear… and survived
By sealing a 9.57 on his opening ride of the heat, Jordy Smith nearly made a monumental error. This score pissed Filipe Toledo off, to the point that the Brazilian started throwing his body off any section that came his way. Had he made any of the high-risk maneuvers that he attempted in his heat, Filipe would have come out victorious. Shoulda coulda woulda.
Italo’s unbeatable backhand remains unbeatable
The Brazilian played the consistency card and bumped Jeremy Flores out of contention, even after the Frenchman threaded an excellent scoring ride early in the matchup. He’ll face Jordy next.
Expect to see champs on podiums tomorrow.
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