The most surprising heat of day one at the Oakley Pro, Bali
Now, this is an interesting occurrence for a number of reasons. First, the Oakley Pro, Bali is being held at Indo’s answer to Lowers, a wave y’might call the most perfect high-performance zone in surfing right now. Keramas is a beautiful mess of ramps, especially in a wind from the side, like the one blowing […]
Now, this is an interesting occurrence for a number of reasons. First, the Oakley Pro, Bali is being held at Indo’s answer to Lowers, a wave y’might call the most perfect high-performance zone in surfing right now. Keramas is a beautiful mess of ramps, especially in a wind from the side, like the one blowing through round one’s afternoon heats today.
Heat number eight starred Josh Kerr, Filipe Toledo and Kieren Perrow. Josh Kerr, the Airshow World Champ, who helped inject a new wave of hi-fi into the Dream Tour. Filipe Toledo, the kid who brought us this year’s most progressive contest wave so far: a lofty alley oop to air-reverse combo at the Billabong Pro, Rio. And, Kieren Perrow, eternally one of the top five best performers at the Pipe Masters and someone most’d associate with big barrels, not small ramps. Our logical minds assured us of a battle between Filipe and Josh to do the highest rotation combo.
But, would y’believe, Kieren took off on his first wave and flew into a seamless, transitional double-grab air, with a lot of height, straight into a bottom turn and closeout hit: 8.17 points. Every surfer in the competitor’s area ran to the monitor to watch the replay. “I don’t try airs much in heats,” said Kieren. “But Keramas is that kinda wave, it’s got that thing that just tempts you to try and get up above it. I actually went out in the heat thinking, “I’m not gonna play their game, I’m not gonna do airs. That section was just really clean and nice, though. I figured I’d give it a go.” Kieren then quickly backed-up with a 7.33 on his second wave. With 15.50 points and most of the heat left, Kieren was way out in front.
Josh rotated some big spins but kept landing on odd sections, and couldn’t paste anything higher than a 6.07. Filipe had opened with an 8.90, but couldn’t manage a backup with anything above a 1.33. Was Kieren Perrow, the big wave guy, gonna beat two of the tour’s best aerialists at the closest thing surfing has to a skatepark? And, with a well-placed air? “This is nothing to take away from Kieren,” said commentator Sal Masekela. “But KP is the last person you’d expect to do a double-grab transition air, solid, land in the transition of the wave straight into a smash.”
With a minute remaining, Filipe bounced a new score into his total: 7.17. He swooped the lead from under Kieren, and nothing was to be done about it. But had Filipe not snagged the backup, never would a more perplexing heat win have occurred. Never mind all our best attempts to control variables in this sport, it’s hard not to dig the unrelenting unpredictability of professional surfing.
And, in sweet closure, Filipe took off on a wave after the buzzer and stomped a Kerrupt flip; so-named because Josh Kerr invented it. – Elliot Struck
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