Stab Magazine | A Woman Fainted At Kelly Slater's Gaze And Italo Ferreira Floated Into $20k

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A Woman Fainted At Kelly Slater’s Gaze And Italo Ferreira Floated Into $20k

It was a big day at the Quik Pro.

style // Apr 5, 2019
Words by stab
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Kelly Slater still cares about competitive surfing. Deeply.

That’s what I learned after Slater’s Round 2 loss today, which made the him one of just four competitors to receive a 33rd at the Quik Pro Snapper.

Arriving at Gold Coast International at 10:30 this morning, Slater’s was the first heat I saw (sorry gals). When I first got a glimpse of the action, Slater was needing some mid-sized score to surpass the nearest of his rivals, who at that time was Owen Wright. Owen and the current heat leader, Peterson Crisanto, sat on the right off Dbah’s south wall, while Slater floated somewhere in the middle of the beach. Owen applied his characteristically selective approach, while Peterson took off on wave after wave, banging three, four, five turns before kicking out in the whitewater. He acquired several sixes.

Meanwhile Slater was left watching his competitors from the North, hoping against that two superior waves would come his way. They didn’t, but Slater made lemonade from the turds that floated his way, anyway – tagging lips with youthful energy and finishing rides with risky laybacks.

The judges, however, were not impressed. By the time the hooter sounded, Slater needed an eight to enter the top two, which felt a little cruel. He really wasn’t surfing any worse than his competitors – he just had worse waves.

At this point your author was on the beach at Dbah, meaning that I’d missed Slater’s post-heat interview, so if any of the following sounds redundant I apologize.

Nevertheless, several minutes after his heat had ended, Slater showed up in the same tent I was sitting under to hang with his long-time partner, Kalani, and de-stress after a difficult loss. It didn’t feel like an appropriate time or place to butt-in and ask a bunch of annoying reporter questions, so instead I just listened.

Some might call it “eavesdropping”, but I bet those same people have a problem with Richard Nixon. Snowflakes.

Plus, what I heard wasn’t even that juicy. It essentially amounted to Kelly complaining, on again and off again for around 10 minutes, that he should have sat here and not there, and that a wave just never came, and that he just couldn’t believe he’d lost. Slater switched seamlessly between anger – toward himself, the ocean – and sadness. 

One might call it Loser’s Grief. We’ve all experienced this feeling before.

“If I had just ______, it would have gone differently.”

“I really wish _______ didn’t ______.” 

“I can’t believe I didn’t _______!” 

It’s a frustrating feeling, and one that indicates an immense passion for the subject at hand.

In other words, what I gathered from this non-interaction interaction was simply that Kelly still cares about competitive surfing. A lot. Way more than you’d expect a 47-year-old 11x World Champion to care. But he does, and it’s amazing. That’s what makes Kelly who he is – a 47-year-old 11x World Champion.

After a lengthy period of self-loathing and phone scrolling, Slater was approached by the father of an adorably shy boy.

“Hey Kelly,” the surfboard-wielding man, whose son swung between his legs like jungle monkey, said from beyond the ropes. “Would you mind signing this for my son?”

Slater picked his head up.

“Could you actually just give me a few minutes?” Kelly pleaded. “I’m gonna start signing stuff shortly and then I’m not gonna stop probably for an hour. I’m just trying to reset. It’s hard to deal with everyone when you lose and you’re angry.”

Fair enough. The man nodded and headed off with his boy.

Kelly continued to fiddle with his phone and talk with random passersby for the next ten minutes.

Yes, he’s gonna surf again today, perhaps at a secret NSW beachie with Neil Purchase Jr.

No, he’s not over the Tour.

Yes, he’s sticking around in Australia through Bells

Eventually Slater left the safety of the Quiksilver tent, walking toward the ravenous throes of autograph-seekers. About 10 minutes later, Slater peeked his head around the tent corner calling for Alek Parker, filmmaker behind Slater’s final-season video series, to come over quickly with the cameras.

What’s going on? was the sentiment in the tent. As Alex rushed around the corner with a RED slung over his shoulder, a WSL aide explained to Kalani that a woman had approached Kelly with a handwritten letter, and that upon coming into contact with the GOAT, she fainted for some unknown reason. Kelly then joined the woman in the WSL’s medical tent where she was evaluated by a doctor. The champ stuck with his super-fan for quite a while, which would  have seemed genuinely caring if he hadn’t so desperately wanted the cameras there to document it.

Finally Slater left the beach with two fresh boards under his arm. The woman left shortly after in an ambulance.

Then the real fun began.

heazlewood r2725GC19cestari

Reef Heazlewood is on a startingly upward trajectory. After a second place in today’s Airborne event, he’ll come up against Julian Wilson in Round 3 tomorrow. We’re calling him the favorite.



Following two impressive women’s heats, in which Sally Fitzgibbons and Costa Rican rookie Brisa Hennessy shone like an east coast morning, the day’s main event, Red Bull Airborne, took the water.

In that same instance, a storm eclipsed the contest venue – dark, windy, with periods of spitting rain. This would prove to be an omen of a greater theme, though we didn’t know it yet.


Mateus Herdy dropped a solid backside punt but got stuck in the whitewater for several seconds. Low score. Judging strategy noted.

Noa Deane pulled a clean varial on a smaller section. Another low score. Still learning.

Matt Meola stomped a clean, late-rotation shifty toward the horizon. Low score again. Fuck, what do these guys want?

Harry ‘Headlock’ Bryant took the mic, which had previously been abused by the aerially-averse Bruce Lee. 

“We’ll have to talk to the judges to see if there are extra points for jumping over the jetty,” Harry noted.

Doubt it, these guys are stingy.

Yago Dora pulled a huge frontside rev, Eithan Osborne a slightly smaller one backside, and Reef Heazlewood a big, fat straighty. All scored in the ‘good’ range, but only just.

Songs from 8th grade blared over the beach speakers. Fallout Boy, Blink 182. Taking Back Sunday. My Chemical Romance. Is this the same Air Tour that doesn’t drug test its competitors?

Then, with just thirty seconds to go in the final qualifying heat, Filipe landed something truly impactful. An inverted, section-clearing rotation that resulted in a late charge up the leaderboard. As the buzzer sounded, it was Italo Ferreira, Filipe Toledo, Yago Dora, Mateus Herdy, Reef Heazlewood, and Mitch Parkinson who would surf in the Airborne final.

Two Australians and four Brazilians – the only four Brazilians, it should be added, who were entered in Red Bull Airborne in the first place.

Remember The Storm?

dora y2705GC19cestari

In today’s Airborne final, we saw Yago Dora fall on more airs in 30 minutes than we’ve seen in the last year. He still managed a third.



Italo started the final with a floating air rev over an unbroken section, landed staunchly on the lip but only squeaked back into the wave.

“That could win,” said someone in the peanut gallery. They were right. The final was decided by the best single air, and this was one of the best we’d seen all day. But I hoped we’d see something better.

7.17 said the judges.

Mitch Parko hucked a backside cartwheel but got caught in the cauliflower on his way out (the only phrase I enjoyed from today’s commentator). Mitch claimed his make, and the judges harshed him with a high-5. That must have been hard to hear for the local wildcard. If video history tells us anything, Mitch can’t do a backside punt much better than that. Frontside, sure, but good luck doing a right-hand air with today’s wind.

That is, unless you’re Filipe Toledo.

Pumping down the line on a clean forehand wall, Filipe launched horizontally off the lip, essentially staying “below” the wind-line and rotating toward the flats. He landed cleanly with his nose facing the beach; I said, “Wow,” because from experience, that is so fucking hard to do.

The judges saw it differently: 4.7. Not enough height, I guess.

Enter Reef Heazlewood. Owner of the most impressive and consistent frontside straighty in all of surfing, Reef pumped vigorously toward the Dbah wall and launched up, up, up off an oncoming section, letting his tail kiss the horizon before finally succumbing to gravity.  

To the eye, this was the highest, most enthralling air of the final. On second glance, I feel the same way. This air should have won.

The judges disagreed. 6.7, straight to second place. Yago swooped in with a last-minute six of his own, kicking Mitch to fourth, Filipe to fifth, and Mateus to sixth.

The buzzer sounded and Italo backflipped for joy. $20k in his pocket and Round 3 hasn’t even started. He’ll face Ricardo Christie tomorrow morning.

Snapper is improving, but it’s still got a massive hole beyond the rock. Dbah it is.

WestonWebb T KELL1710GC19cestari

Tati ain’t mad. She nailed an 8 in her heat this morn with some forehand hammers.



Red Bull Airborne Gold Coast Final
1 – Italo Ferreira (BRA)
2 – Reef Heazlewood (AUS)
3 – Yago Dora (BRA)    
4 – Mitch Parkinson (AUS)
5 – Filipe Toledo (BRA)
6 – Mateus Herdy (BRA)

Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 13.20 DEF. Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.60, Keely Andrew (AUS) 6.50  
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.34 DEF. Sage Erickson (USA) 8.27, Coco Ho (HAW) 8.14  
Heat 3: Isabella Nichols (AUS) 11.60 DEF. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.17, Paige Hareb (NZL) 8.44  
Heat 4: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) 15.16 DEF. Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.83, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 10.44  
Heat 5: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.53 DEF. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.83, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 10.30
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.50 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 12.84, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 9.40

Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.00, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 11.83, Keely Andrew (AUS) 11.73
Heat 2: Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 12.60, Coco Ho (HAW) 9.46, Paige Hareb (NZL) 7.53

Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)  
Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)  
Heat 3: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) vs. Brisa Hennessy (CRI)
Heat 4: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)  
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Courtney Conlogue (USA)
Heat 7: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)  
Heat 8: Johanne Defay (FRA) vs. Coco Ho (HAW)

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Mateus Herdy (BRA) 12.77, Julian Wilson 11.23, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 10.66
Heat 2: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.93,  Ricardo Christie (NZL) 12.56, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 10.63
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.73, Peterson Crisanto (BRA) 13.50, Kelly Slater (USA) 10.63
Heat 4: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.93, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.64, Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.90

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Soli Bailey (AUS)  
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. John John Florence (HAW)  
Heat 3: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)  
Heat 4: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)  
Heat 5: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS)
Heat 6: Griffin Colapinto (USA) vs. Seth Moniz (HAW)  
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Peterson Crisanto (BRA)  
Heat 8: Owen Wright (AUS) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW)  
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA)  
Heat 10: Yago Dora (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA)  
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 12: Mikey Wright (AUS) vs. Jack Freestone (AUS)
Heat 13: Italo Ferreira (BRA) vs. Ricardo Christie (NZL)  
Heat 14: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)  
Heat 15: Wade Carmichael (AUS) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)  
Heat 16: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)


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