Stab Magazine | Size Matters At Keramas

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Size Matters At Keramas

A slightly oversized and underwhelming start to the CT’s Keramas comeback.

news // May 27, 2018
Words by stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The Keramas forecast appeared near-perfect to most, but, in reality, the long period, overhead swell was a little on the large side for the river-groomed reef at Komune.

The industrial floodlights at Keramas flickered on at 4:30am this morning, giving surfers and hopefuls alike an early bird entrance two hours before the sun peeped over the horizon. A sunrise that stripped back the facade and unveiled Day 1’s true nature.

Despite what the commentary panel, Instagram and even the odd empty would have you believe, Keramas wasn’t actually ‘pumping’ today – we’ve all seen Julian’s Bali clips and they sure look nothing like this.

Yes, there were 8-plus point rides and even the infrequent ramp to be jumped, but it was far from this waves previous or potential prime.

The most high performance event on tour? Not if today’s anything to go by.

Nevertheless, the CT’s Keramas comeback pushed through to finish 11 out of the 12 opening heats and likely would’ve continued into Round 2 if it wasn’t for those inevitable easterly onshores.  

If your data was too dry to stream, or you were too busy scoring yourself (Cloudbreak isn’t the only place pumping today), then pop down below for a quasi-factual recount of the half-day happenings.  

John John’s back…sort of.

As has been much documented and discussed these past few months, the reigning world champ has had a less than exemplar start to 2018: a round 2 on the Goldy, Round 3 at Bells and Round 4 in Brazil.

Prior to this stumble, the world’s best surfer (with the surf world’s worst goatee) hadn’t fallen at the 25th place hurdle since Trestles, 2015.

In fact, John’s struggled so much thus far, that up until Brazil, he found himself sitting outside of the top-22 cut off. A zone typically reserved for rookies, one-time wildcards and Brett Simpson.

It might not be Backdoor, but any frontside tube will do for JJF. Photo. WSL/Cestari

Now, JJF may not have secured a significant result in Bali just yet, but he looked firmly planted atop his Pyzel Highlighter this morning and one of the few surfers who successfully dealt with the warbled and pinch-happy Keramas bowl.

Society at large could be in shambles, but so long as Mr. Florence is winning heats, everything’s right in the world.

Gabriel Medina surfed so well he’s in the Quarters.

The WSL decided that if you can win your heat with a heat total of 5.60 then you may as well jump straight to the quarterfinals.

A conspiracy? Or just an innocent online error? You decide.

I would also like to thank Tomas Hermes for ending the Round 1 misery earlier by flapping his way into closeout 30-seconds before a heat restart. At least it went towards his 2.07 heat total.

Griffin Colapinto is living up to the hype

Wade Carmichael might be the highest ranked rookie after his surprising South American stint, but unfortunately for Wade he ain’t quite the most hyped.

Griffin Colapinto is, and rightfully so.

After a shameless dancing display on his Instagram story before his heat, Griff came out and delivered what we expect from him – hi-fi fucking surfing.

The rookie showed the rest what they should be aspiring to with this tail-high, rail tapping rotor. Photo. WSL/Sloane

His round 9 heat was plagued by an upcoming onshore wind, but instead of opting to turns like his competitors, Griff threw himself above the lip and eventually stuck easily the biggest and most impressive jump of the day.

If Chris Cote was still amongst the broadcast chatter, the hashtag #540 would be running hot right now.   

Keramas is incessantly lauded as a high-performance wave and Griff showed why. Let’s just hope for your and my sake that everyone else follows suit in the coming days. 

Overall, a not so high-performance day.

Once the barrel died-off as an option, most would’ve anticipated a hop and spin happy afternoon. Instead, we were treated with an onslaught of open-face turns and one too many backhand snaps for what’s referred to as the ‘most high performance wave on tour’.

‘Corona Bali Over-Protective’ would’ve been a more apt title adjustment at this stage. 

Of course, there were a few, like the aforementioned Griff, Jordy and even Kanoa who leapt – or at least attempted to – but the majority opted for the safety and certainty of manoeuvres that haven’t appeared progressive since the turn of the century.

Frontside laybacks are far from bad, but they’re not exactly what you expect at Keramas. Photo. WSL/Sloane

I sympathise with the goofy-footers who’ve little aerial options on the punchy Balinese right-hander, but, honestly, there were one too many airless heats going down this afternoon; thankfully though, Pritamo’s progressive agenda didn’t overscore fin-drifts and laybacks to the same extent witnessed circa ‘17. 

The judges rightfully rewarded progression and solid barrel riding, which hopefully shifts some surfers approaches through the remainder of the comp.  

Onwards and upwards

The forecast is predicting a larger and more consistent pulse of SSW swell tomorrow and while increased size livens the eyes of even the most un-ethusiastic viewer, it’s unlikely to quench your true viewing desires.

As the commentary panel highlighted today, the heftier set waves were capping outside the reef and rarely stayed open through the inside bowl – even the best barrel’s today were plagued by a pinch. And despite tomorrow’s swell being ‘better aligned’, there appears little chance that the conditions will be all-time Keramas.

You might however see Mikey ‘Dog The Bounty Hunter’ Wright (thank Strider for that one) fearlessly pack closeouts again.

Mikey may not have nabbed the scores needed, but his buckled board alone showed it wasn’t from any lack of effort. Photo. WSL/Cestari

On a more uplifting note, the remainder of the forecast looks to be filled with 3-5 foot of swell – which is arguably ideal for Keramas.

The head turning tubes may be dialled back a notch, but if they’re replaced by an air-heavy showing then there won’t be many complaining – Filipe included.

Corona Bali Protected Men’s Round 1 Results:

Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.37, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 10.10, Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.17

Heat 2: Owen Wright (AUS) 14.17, Michael February (ZAF) 9.74, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.57

Heat 3: John John Florence (HAW) 15.17, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 8.00, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 4.16

Heat 4: Conner Coffin (USA) 10.94, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 9.46, Mikey Wright (AUS) 5.84

Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 5.60, Barron Mamiya (HAW) 2.97, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 2.07

Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 11.50, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 6.44, Oney Anwar (IDN) 6.27

Heat 7: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 8.77, Kolohe Andino (USA) 8.66, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 2.73

Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.10, Joan Duru (FRA) 13.04, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 8.33

Heat 9: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.07, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.83, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.40

Heat 10: Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.16, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 8.57, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 5.67

Heat 11: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 7.84, Frederico Morais (PRT) 6.44, Wade Carmichael (AUS) 4.83

Corona Bali Protected Remaining Matchups:

Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Yago Dora (BRA)

Corona Bali Protected Women’s Pro Round 1 Matchups:

Heat 1: Tyler Wright (AUS), Johanne Defay (FRA), Coco Ho (HAW)

Heat 2: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), Caroline Marks (USA), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)

Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), Carol Henrique (PRT)

Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA), Keely Andrew (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL)

Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Silvana Lima (BRA), Courtney Conlogue (USA)

Heat 6: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Malia Manuel (HAW)


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