Stab Podcast: We Love Debating Barrels - Stab Mag

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Jordy Smith, making it. Photo by Thiago Diz/WSL

Stab Podcast: We Love Debating Barrels

Kelly, cover your ears.

stabfm // Mar 11, 2022
Words by August Howell
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Obvious statement of the century: Barrels are the crème de la crème of surfing. They’re so good in fact that as surfers it’s not enough to hunt them, look at them, or be in them — we also have to talk about, obsess, and dissect them inside and out. 

Barrels were the inspiration behind the title of this week’s podcast. The tube in question happened at the recently concluded MEO Pro Portugal during Kelly Slater and Caio Ibelli’s matchup in the third round. Kelly vanquished the tour’s new white knight by bulldozing his way through the chandelier on a frosty right, emerging into the sunlight only to get wrapped up by that dark end section and sent back to the sandy abyss. From the judges’ perspective, that was all they needed to see. 8.17. A ‘make’ in their book and scorecard.

But one could argue that the score was high and Kelly didn’t make the tube at all — at least by elite competitive standards. Was he in control when he came out? Or was his ride cut short?

As Stace points out, the narrative (and score) changes depending on the angle you view the wave, and from down the beach (an angle the judges didn’t necessarily have access), Kelly looked like he never fully rode away.

Watch for yourself and let us know what you think:

Anyway, we could debate the nuances of elite professional surfing all day, which is part of what makes it fun. Like most moves on the CT, we’ve seen the doggydoor flop happen before and will see it again. But unlike most things Kelly, this is something 99 percent of surfers can relate to. Who among us hasn’t pierced through the liquid vail feeling victorious, only to be lipped in the head by an oncoming section?

This week is an all-CUSP episode, and Mikey and Stace (back in the booth after literal jet ski heroics in Australia) discuss all things Portugal. It was as tight as could be in the final, but it ultimately led to a Californian’s first CT win since 2009 (sorry, not counting Kanoa here).

Speaking of tight things, the rankings are looking positively taught for both the men and women heading to Australia next month. That mid-year cut is looming, but that’s a story for another day. 

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