Stab Magazine | Will Julian Wilson Break Out Of His Slump At Keramas?
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Will Julian Wilson Break Out Of His Slump At Keramas?

And more questions with the CT coach known as “Stats Guy”.

news // May 13, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Welcome to Coaches’ Corner, where we dissect past and future CT events with the folks who are paid (sometimes handsomely) to share their opinions. 

First up we have Stace Galbraith, Gold Coast stylista and competitive mentor to Malia Manuel and Ricardo Christie. Stace’s approach to coaching is both qualitative and quantitative, as he appreciates the beauty of a well-surfed wave but also believes firmly in the power of numbers and statistics. 

That’s why his friends call him Stat Man. 

Stace had an enviable run down in Torquay, losing Ricardo to an inform Owen Wright in Round 3 but getting his female talent, the lovely Ms. Manuel, all the way to the final, where she lost to Conlogue’s brutish 10-pointer. For that reason, and with the Corona Pro starting later today, we decided to ask Stace what he learned from Bells, who looks hot for Keramas, and if last year’s World number two can escape his current slump.

Shall we? 

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Last year Jules lost in Round 3 at Keramas to Mikey Wright. Can he improve in 2019? Photo: WSL

Stab: How do you handle an event going from two foot to ten foot for your surfers?
Stace Galbraith: I think that one was pretty easy as far as predictability was concerned. It was always going to run on those last three days, so it was just a matter of getting them to that point, then you could worry about getting a bigger board ready. But we had Ricardo and Malia ride their bigger boards in smaller surf just to get them used to the feeling, so when the big day came they weren’t surprised.

So your surfers were actually prepared, board-wise? It appeared most CTers were not.
Given that they’re sponsored by DH, it was easy for both of them to get the equipment they needed. Ricardo rode a trusty 6’2, while Malia had everything from a 5’6 to a 5’11, the larger of which she rode in the quarters. Some people might say that’s a little small for the conditions, but we thought the medium-sized waves were the best, so she was happy to ride a little smaller board.

Malia went onto make the final against Courtney Conlogue. What did you tell her before that heat started?
Just not to wait for an opportunity. I told her to attack a wave early. Sometimes Malia likes to surf her way into her heats, but I think once you’ve made the final, you gotta put it all on the line. And I think she did that really well. She got her total in her first two waves, and that eight in particular was a pretty special one, especially because she’s been working on attacking bigger sections.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/gwIpZasQv8o

Our understanding is that most coaches take a percentage of the winnings after their surfers make it to a certain point in an event (typically the quarters). As a coach, are you counting your dollars after each round, or do you stay focused on the task at hand?
I’m definitely not thinking about it per round. We try to take everything step-by-step to get to a result we’re happy with, because in the long run, results are much more valuable than a quick payout. It’s probably not till after when you’re buying $30 jugs at the Jan Juc pub and not caring that you notice the money thing.

But the fact that women are getting equal pay in 2019 is pretty awesome. I’m sure a lot of the coaches will make out well because of it.

What did Bells tell you about the World Title race on the men’s and women’s sides?
On the men’s, I felt that John and Gabby pulled away from the pack. I really believe that Gab looked the best, but John was right behind him, and he obviously had a really clever heat against Medina in the quarters. It’s just a shame they had to meet so early on, but that’s pro surfing.

For the women, man, it’s all over the place, isn’t it? There’s been a lot of talk over the years about everybody having a shot at a Title, but I didn’t really believe it until this year. Carissa and Steph are still that good, but now we’re seeing the next generation of women coming up and having a swing. It really feels like anyone’s game at this point.

You’ve been in Keramas for a few days now – what have you seen that might be interesting to a fan who hasn’t got their hooves in Bali’s black sand?
Well, there’s been a few guys that just will not come out of the water – that’s Ricardo, Kanoa, and Zeke. They’ve been not coming in for lunch breaks. I think that’s pretty cool.

I’ve also been really impressed with Seth. A lot of guys come on the Tour and kind of fake their turns like they’re still on the QS, but I’ve seen Seth lay down some really big carves which has been sick. Oh, and you know what, Conner Coffin as well. He’s been ripping.

When it comes to a relatively perfect wave like Keramas, what are you telling your surfer before they go out in the heat?
It’s all about wave selection. You just need to pick it right and let the wave do the talking. But Keramas is tricky, because with the tide and wind it’s really only perfect for a couple hours a day. So it’s also about being vigilant and able to adapt at a moment’s notice.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/335711601

Ya think Stace’s kids have the chops to win?

Who’s gonna win Keramas? Men and Women.
I’d say Malia Manuel and Ricardo Christie [laughs]. Then as far as who’s gonna challenge them for that title, I’d say Caroline, and on the men’s side I’ll throw out a bold prediction: Filipe Toledo. Surely he’s gonna come out strong.

Is Julian gonna get out of his slump?
Ummmmm, yeah. You know what, I remember a couple years ago when Julian had a few bad results in a row and almost had to requalify on the QS, then he went and won the Pipe Masters. So I do think he’ll bust out of it here.

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