It’s early and the surf is pumping. Oil, six feet tubes and cracking Keramas. Five minutes before the first heat of the day starts,Taj swaps boards. “You can really feel the power of the swell,” he tells his coach and caddy Jonny Gannon. “I had to step up.” Stepping up means swapping his 5’10” for a 5”1”. I tell the coach that is ridiculous. He doesn’t listen. Taj wins.
“Don’t you hate when you get caught by the second foamball,” says Parko, watching the replay after Ace Buchan had made it through some serious foam before getting clipped at the very last. “I don’t know Parko,” I reply, “The last time I had two foamballs, they were on both sides of my mouth, after six bintangs, two nights ago.” He doesn’t laugh, and walks away. That second foamball costs Ace the heat against CJ.
“I’m gonna ride the quad. It’s all about the tubes, right?” Parko asks Sasha Stocker, answering his own question, before I can tell him he is wrong. Parko is again, right, scoring a heatscore 18.60, whilst throwing away about six scored tubes. On one exit, he even throws a look back claim on exit. “That wasn’t a claim.” He tells me. Bullshit I say. Under my breath.
Mind you his opponent Damo Hobgood scored 18.20, the next highest score all day and maybe should have a had few more points. He blew up at the judges, and a Hobgood blow up is about as rare as rocking horse shit. ““All I told the judges, was just judge a little lower and give yourselves some room, that’s all.” He felt they had gone high on Joel’s early waves and left no room to move. He had a point and they must have listened. The next heat they gave Felipe Toledo 6.77, who was smoked by Kerrzy. I asked Kerrzy’s kids if they enjoyed their dad’s performance. “We were playing Uno,” they deadpanned, slapping me with a metaphorical Pick Up 4.
I watch Fanning’s heat with his shaper Darren Handley. We don’t talk. Adriano De Souza rocks up orders about 17 boards for Tahiti. “Maybe two 6’6s, a 6’5, a 6’4, three 6’3, a 6’2”,” he says, as my mind wanders. He may have got down to ordering four 5’4s by the end.
DH does make me laugh though, when nervously watching a uncharacteristic out of sorts but still victorious Mick he says, ‘I met Christian Fletcher yesterday, he comes up to me and goes Darrell, Darrell Handley, nice to meet you.” Oh we laughed.
Julian Wilson is down to his C board, breaking one in the morning and then creasing another in his heat. Additionally he snapped a fin of his only pair of prototype skegs, his favourites, and has to work with his backups. I feel pretty bad for him, as surfs his heat as smooth as butter, with power to burn, and goes back to the pool lounge with a girlfriend so achingly girl next door beautiful, my eyes were bleeding.
If his luck was out, his opponent, Jeremy Flores, was in all sorts. Taking off on his first wave he fell, scored a fin to the heel and shralped it to the bone. He was advised not to paddle back out. He did. He lost.
While that was happening, Sage Ericsson is giving Jon Jon a back massage. I ask for one too. She refuses. Then Aussie Olympic swimmer and Bald Eagle Michael Klim walks by (I am told his wife is a genuine Balinese princess), followed by a ridiculously hot chick in a tiny bikini, who has a pet monkey on a lead. And I swear, I didn’t make any of that up.
In between all that, Slater was booed every time he fell against the local wildcard. Still wins. Filmaker Shagga Safigna, who works at Komune at Keramas, tells me probably no other surfer in the comp has surfed here more than Kelly over the years. And there I was thinking this event could be his weakest link.
Elsewhere glamourous peopled pissed in the pool, local kids made pool pyramids, Jordy Smith loss was the biggest upset, Jon Jon Florence scored 16.07, and that was without a massive after the hooter air that would have scored a 12.
Then it finished. Round 3 done. 24 surfers left. The music was turned up a notch, the girls jiggled a bit more, the swell report came in for more of the same the next three days. The good money is on the a championed being crowned on Thursday, after two more mornings of Keramas madness. I may even be there.