Why Isn’t Uluwatu A Full Time Stop?
Italo falters leaving Julian and Medina nipping at his yellow jersey heels.
We’re not in Margaret River anymore, but there are so many Perth exports in Bali it may as well be an extension of the west anyway.
Margaret River’s been getting hammered with swell over the last few days and now those lines are making their way towards the Bukit. It’s just a little warmer and a little less Great White sharky.
The WSL wrangled a mere four day competitive window, but it’ll be enough with half the contest (both men and women’s) wrapped up and a promising dosage of swell over the weekend. The trade winds blow offshore at the Bukit into the afternoon too, so you won’t be witnessing any more of those half-baked days like we saw at Keramas.
This morning the commissioner anxiously checked Uluwatu back and forth like a uni student with Tinder-plus. There were no matches throughout the morning, but eventually, after seven calls throughout the day, lines filed in and we were able to dictate who’s making it to Round 4 and who’s ripping the lid off it at Single Fin tonight.
Owen Wright vs. Keanu Asing
Keanu isn’t exactly an exciting surfer, but he does have an occasionally lethal backhand. He showed some of that brief small-man ferocity, jabbed and snapped his way to a 7.43, but Owen matched it while nearly running over Keanu in the process.
Overall, it was a bit of a snore and Keanu had enough fire left to throw a water-splashing tantrum on the buzzer – if he’d thrown that much spray throughout the heat though he might’ve actually won in the first place.
Kolohe Andino vs. Jesse Mendes
Kolohe’s had an average start to 2018 and has largely been consumed by the shadow of the new Californian wunderkid, Griffin Colapinto.
Kolohe wasn’t wrapped in his Slater whites today, but he was in white-hot form and snagged the biggest score of the day – which also happened to be Kolohe’s first excellent score of the year.
Jordy Smith vs. Michael February
The only heat easier than Jordy’s is Mikey Wright’s Round 3 walkthrough.
Mikey Feb showed glimpses of beauty, but he would’ve struggled through a Bondi boardriders in all honesty; picking off one-foot insiders with priority and a minute on the clock won’t help his re-qualification cause.
And while Mikey Wright waits for his Round 4 opponents to be decided, he spent the majority of his day feeding chips to a dog in an Uluwatu bar.
Italo Ferreira vs. Michael Rodrigues
Golden boy down!
It’s the first time we’ve caught a solid glimpse of Italo’s forehand this year and it was nothing like we’ve witnessed in the Uluwatu freesurfs.
Maybe it was nerves, perhaps a couple cat-poop Balinese coffee’s beforehand or maybe it was just the Brazilian’s overly-excited persona. Whatever it was, Italo looked like he was surfing in fucking fast forward and as good as that might sound, it didn’t translate to good surfing nor scores.
M-Rod on the other hand seemed to be channeling Italo’s Keramas incarnation, throwing spray and freeing fins on the way to a Round 4 birth.
Sebastien Ziets vs. Conner Coffin
Conner grew up surfing Rincon, being compared to Dane and winning heats with a layback.
After today’s heat, it appears he also has an aptitude for backhand snaps. They’re a hell of a lot better than the E.P. he recently released, therefore, he’s back in my good books and also surfing in Round 4 tomorrow morning.
Julian Wilson vs. Kael Walsh
During Conner and Seabass’ heat it looked like it was starting to pump. The swell started to push in, but as Barton Lynch said: “the hightide inhibited Uluwatu’s true potential!”.
The heat was a bore, and while Kael gave it a crack, Julian’s CT knowledge allowed him to push his way through.
Gabriel Medina vs. Jack Robinson
Robbo could be placed in the top 10 surfers in the world, but fuck, when it comes to competition, his ’17 QS ranking of 113th is more fitting.
I’ve witnessed Jack catch and slot the five best waves at North Point in a single session, but waiting for the bombs isn’t always the best approach when you’re in a jersey – especially up against a hyperactive and jittery Medina.
He gave Gabby a solid tussle for the first wave of the set, but other than that, the fire between the two wained while Gabby squirted his way into 12 waves in half an hour.
A heat similar to the tortoise and the hare, except this one’s a little more realistic as the ‘slow and steady’ never truly win in the 21st century.
While our speculation of Gabriel being injured didn’t exactly ring true, he didn’t look to be his usual self either. Catching 12 waves isn’t out of the ordinary, but falling on floaters, not banking big scores and giving candid post-heat interviews certainly are.
Connor O’Leary vs. Michel Bourez
Michel’s Fijian venom didn’t translate to his backhand today, whereas Connor looked the best he has this year on the way to his third win of 2018.
Maybe that’s why he won Rookie of the Year last year…
Adriano de Souza vs. Willian Cardoso
Someone tell ADS floaters don’t score anymore, please.
Willian evidently knows that already and therefore won the heat.
Enamoured with Barton’s sunset descriptions, I missed the majority of the heat, but there’s always the heat analyzer for those who actually care about Round 3.
In case you’re deaf or just ignored Joe, Barton and the boys hammer on about it all day, tomorrow is going to be cooking.
The swell’s building, the tide will be lower and they’re scheduled for a 6:30 am kick-off – Sunday’s looking even better again too.
Yago and Filipe will start things off and Yago has the forehand advantage; let’s just hope we see some of what we know the rookie has in his arsenal – I haven’t been this disappointed since I realised there aren’t actually ‘hot singles in my area’.
I hate being positive, and even more so I hate agreeing with the commentary, but in all honesty, the next two days of competition might genuinely be the best of the year thus far. So don’t have a Friday night blow-out like those who flailed will be, set that alarm and dial in online or in the flesh nice and early.
And if it turns out as good as expected, then maybe the WSL will have to stop hating lefts so much and land this joint upon the full-time roster. I doubt anyone’s going to be complaining about two stops in Indo after this weekend.
Uluwatu CT Men’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.43 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.43
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.47 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 14.33
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.33 def. Michael February (ZAF) 7.26
Heat 4: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 14.77 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.93
Heat 5: Conner Coffin (USA) 14.77 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 9.16
Heat 6: Julian Wilson (AUS) 8.34 def. Kael Walsh (AUS) 7.27
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 10.50 def. Jack Robinson (AUS) 4.20
Heat 8: Connor O’Leary (AUS) 11.06 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.04
Heat 9: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.00 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.37
Remaining Uluwatu CT Men’s Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 10: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Yago Dora (BRA)
Heat 11: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) vs. Mikey Wright (AUS)
Uluwatu CT Women’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
Heat 3: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
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