Shane Dorian Skewers The GOAT And Ross Williams, Wins Twin-Fin Day In The Atolls
Six surfers twin, but only one wins.
8AM – New day. Totally different energy at the The Atoll Invitational in the Maldives.
Notably, we everyone grew an extra fin. After yesterday’s single fin affair, there was genuine excitement about the twin fins. More drive, more performance, more fun. These guys don’t want to nurse turns. The competitive levels seem to have knocked up a peg. From tails to fins, the board talk became crazy analytical.
There were also way more boats in the channels watching today. The word must have gotten out. Italians, Israelis, Russians — who wouldn’t want to watch Kelly surf?
Once the morning wind switched to a more favorable direction, the comp was called on.
Everyone’s goal? Take down the GOAT, of course.
Good luck with that.
10AM – Machado is riding a shrunken down version of his 6’9″ Ulus board. Meanwhile, Rob and Shane are riding Machado twin fins. Kelly a Mike Woo. Out of all the competitors, Kelly and Rob seem to spend the most time on twins — and you can tell when they hit the water.
10:30AM – The lineup gets cleared. The first heat of surfers are ferried out via rubber ducky. The rest hang on the Explorer, waiting for next heat. Taylor Knox caught one wave in the warmup, then sent for his backup from the island. Needs something with more drive, he claims.
There are two three-person heats, and the top two advance to the semi for head-to-head. Winner of those make the finals. Interestingly, surfers who are older are given more time (see below).
Heat 1 – Kelly Slater vs Ross Williams vs Iboo Areef
Ross and Kelly start at the same time. Iboo jumps out after five mins, due to his youthfulness.
Buzzer starts, Kelly banks an 8.67. Highest score of the event. Bang, no suprise there.
Ross got a pit but not much after that — and the judges want the rail, they want risk. Ross banked a 6 with clean turns, however waves were super chattery. Ironically, it looked like he would have done better on yesterday’s board. Kelly has it controlled from the outset.
Iboo pulled into an epic barrel. Gets clipped on the exit. Would’ve been a 9.
Kelly and Ross through, Iboo out.
Heat 2 – Shane Dorian vs Rob Machado vs Taylor Knox
Rob leads the heat with silky carves, few mistakes, and nice finishes. Looks like he’s handing the speed and chatter better.
T-Knox enters the pool — deep bottom turns, big floats, and finners. Classic. No one looks like they are enjoying the twins more than Machado. He fetches a 7.23 and a 5.4, and Dorian hits back with a 7.47 and a 5 and moves into second.
Rob wins, Shane second, Knox axed.
Onto the semis.
Semi 1 – Shane Dorian vs Kelly Slater
This is their third matchup so in this comp, and they’re currently 1-1.
Interesting to note is the speed with which Kelly returns to position after getting a wave. It’s quite a clear difference, he’s still a WSL guy.
Shane took the lead with 6 mins remaining by dropping an 8.07. Kelly needs a 7.91.
Oh shit, there’s a paddle battle! It’s fucking fire! Shane kicking out to sea. 5 mins left, Slater with priority.
Two minutes left, and the ocean goes quiet. Can Kelly pull a Kelly and will a set?
Nope. Shane beats him.
Retribution must feel good. Kelly controlled the heat for most of the heat and Dorian went bezerk to get the heat-winnning 8.
2-1 to Shane.
Semi 2 – Ross Williams vs Rob Machado
All of the sudden, this whole comp is winnable for the rest of the field.
The wind is howling. Conditions are tough, with big ribs coming at you. Rob rips despite it being considerably harder on your backhand. Timing turns seems like the secret.
15 mins left, Rob’s got 5’s and a 6. Ross has a 4.
Bit of meandering back and forth, Rob controlled it for the entire heat and then Ross gets a 7 on the buzzer. The Arakawa looks slick underfoot. His flirtatious relationships with shapers is starting to pay dividends
Into the final. Big.
Heat 1 – Shane Dorian vs Ross Williams
Wind is still humming. 1 minute in, we see a huge exchange.
Shane opens: Big reo, a couple of finners, finishes with inside bang. 8.43.
Ross answers: Turn into an air drop, rough thuds, silky laybacks, works it all the way through. Timing is sublime. 8.5, must feel nice to get the nod.
Jackson is watching Shane closely, having a ball. Calls his dad ‘grom’.
10 minutes to go, Shane sniffs out a 7.83 and jumps into the lead.
Ross responds: Floater, and a few nice carves. Not the score.
Dorian has priority and drops anchor. Ross slips into a smaller one. Nice succession of turns, gets a 6.5.
Still not enough.
The ocean goes quiet for remaining two minutes, Dorian holds on.
- 1st – Shane Dorian
- 2nd – Ross Williams
- 3rd – Rob Machado
- 3rd – Kelly Slater
- 5th – Boo Areef
- 5th – Taylor Knox
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