Kelly and John John fall in Round 5 as the swell builds into the final day at Keramas
Well, the PA was certainly working this morning. Yesterday’s silent debacle was long forgotten as today Adi had his shit together. The dawn serenity at Keramas was being exsanguinated by the guitar solo from Metallica’s “One”, sawing the heads of all present at 110dB. It also seemed to be flattening the surf, a pure heavy metal offshore, as the 6-foot sets of twilight yesterday were replaced this morning by weak, chest-high peelers. We sat and watched Mick Fanning surf it for half an hour with meager returns, and what had been forecast and billed as a certain day of quality surf seemed to be a complete and utter hoax. With only 12 guys left in the event, there seemed little chance they’d be thrown out there in waves best described as “cute.” CJ Hobgood, who’d just shown up, was a little more optimistic. “It’ll do its thing,” he drawled, waving a dismissive hand at the lineup. “Just wait.”
A powerful new swell carries Round 3 to completion in Bali
We’d rolled through the rice paddies just as the crown of Agung was being outlined against the dawn. The swell we’d waited patiently for had finally filled in overnight, the morning was breathless and sweet, and Keramas was suddenly right there in front of us, firing, as good as most of us have ever seen it. It was barreling from up there to down there and after four laydays the decision to surf heats today was a fait accompli.
Sean Doherty reflects on one of the biggest airs ever done in competition
Yesterday afternoon I was back at the hotel in Sanur, having beat the traffic, having just filed my post for the day, full of self congratulation at my endeavour and initiative and was just contemplating running down for a quick surf when I first heard the commotion. Bemos from the contest were dropping crew back to the hotel from Keramas, and they were all buzzing as they got out, the buzzing paraphrased thusly: “Holy shit!”, “Oh my God!”, “That was the single greatest thing I’ve ever seen!” That kinda stuff, much of it coming from the ASP judging panel who themselves were still in disbelief. Pretty soon the foyer of the hotel was full of people with phones and laptops gorging data, all watching and replaying the same video. They were double checking they hadn’t been seeing things.
Notes from Day 1 at the Oakley Pro Bali
And so after five years the tour is back in Indonesia, and not before time. The ZoSea crew who are currently shaping the new tour for next year and beyond will be watching closely here, and an Indonesian leg of the tour should be a non-negotiable in their plans. Here on Bali or across the ditch in G-Land or wherever you want to plonk it, they’ll have our undivided attention.
Kelly Slater puts on a historic performance en route to victory at the Fiji Pro
They say if you walk in like you own the place, then you’re halfway to where you’re going. Well, Kelly announced his arrival at Cloudbreak this morning by burning some hot laps on his jet ski through the lineup, shooting follow-footage of local surfer Aca Lalabalavu who was heavily piped at the time. Kelly dismounts and paddles straight out for his quarter against Seabass, and that’s when things really start to burn. John John, still dripping wet, catches Kelly’s first perfect 10 and comments, “I don’t know, but from here it kinda looked like a 20.” John John didn’t know how prophetic he was being, because it’s only a matter of minutes later that Kelly draws another wall of Pacific toward him. It’s bigger, foamier and throatier than the first, and tail of his 5’10” quad is doing it’s best to skip out from under him. CJ offers, “Man, that thing was a bull ride!”…and it was another 10. That’s your perfect heat, right there folks, the fifth in pro surfing and Kelly’s second. History made before 10am. The signs for the rest of the day are there early. When Kelly comes in and starts talking about the significance of the feat, he adds the caveat that, “Man, the way the waves are out there today, someone could go real close to getting another one.” And when he says someone, well, you probably know who he means.
Cloudbreak specialists shine as Fiji returns to form at the Volcom Pro
It’s just after 9 a.m. and Kelly is on the contest mother ship—the Bel’Mare—having just dispatched wildcard Mitch Coleborn. It took all of seven seconds for him to show what 20-odd years of surfing a place can do for you, sitting way up the point on The Ledge and taking one the length of the reef. It was the first wave ridden from up there all morning. From there it was the predictable python squeeze, just showing Mitch Coleborn enough daylight to keep him interested while always having the thing under control. It was textbook Round 3 Kelly. The fireworks would follow (again predictably) later in the day as the waves improved and the field narrowed and the finals approached.
Round 2 moves to Restaurants, where Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater make up for lost time
Parko made it back from fishing at 11p.m. the night before last. He trudged up the beach on Namotu, glad to be on terra firma, but knowing the repercussions were waiting with the dawn. They’d been out at sea for 22 hours. They’d caught one fish. He crawled straight into bed, and lying there next to him was his surfboard, an unridden 6’3” that had been pulled from his boardbag by Mick Fanning earlier in the night and covered in all sorts of unprintable graffiti and unflattering caricatures—Joel with a fishing rod, Joel in a boat, a disembodied nose just floating there. His stickers had been covered over with the logos of companies that sell fishing reels, fishing rods, fishing line. He should have slept like a baby that night, but he didn’t. Missing a heat for a spot of recreational fishing had the potential to make him a cult hero in bass and barramundi circles…but he was gonna look real silly amongst his surfing constituency if he lost his next heat and kissed his world title goodbye only halfway through the season.
Round 1 of the Fiji Pro was held at perfect Cloudbreak, with Slater and Parko nowhere to be found
Joel will not want to watch the highlights of today. What appeared on the forecast to be the least inspiring day of the next six, was one sent from the Gods. One after the other they marched in: long blue wormholes in the Pacific, backbreathing, drop-perfect. When the opening heat between Jordy, Fred, and Seabass found themselves staring at a magazine poster they’ve collectively had on their walls since kids, the signs were there it was going to be quite a day. In the channel, Kelly’s minder Stephen Bell crossed paths with Joel’s equivalent, Wes Berg. Belly asks, “Is Joel really fishing?” Wes replies, “Is Kelly really flying in tonight?” Both shake their heads and laugh, incredulous their boys are missing this for nephews and fish.
Sean Doherty's lay day notes from Fiji
John Florence island-hopped to Namotu yesterday to get his troublesome ankle seen to. He walked fine, seemed happy. After three months out, his return to the fray could not be better timed. The most technically gifted tuberider in the world matched against what many surfers regard as the most technical tube in the world…certainly so on your backhand.
Julian takes down Gabriel Medina in a controversial final heat
Julian takes down Gabriel Medina in a controversial final heat.