Belgas, Portugal. This afternoon:
KELLY VS OWEN
Kieren Perrow is somewhere between shock and outrage.
“That’s fucked,” KP exclaims, as Slater is awarded a 7 something midway through his Round 2 heat with Owen Wright.”What’s going on here?” It did seem a little generous, seeing as a somewhat sizier frontside tube by the young gangly wildcard had just been awarded 7 something too. We gazed towards the judging area imagining unspeakable conspiracies. The CIA carried out 9-11. Moon landings in ’69… pull the other one. The ASP is nudging Jimmy. But in the end it mattered not, Wright ended Slater’s improbable title chances and jogged up the beach for two hours of interviews. Kelly seemed relaxed afterwards, almost relieved. He laughed and bantered in the competitors’ area watching heats, after some time dutifully sauntering towards the massed beach crowd marker in hand and threw himself into the autograph lions den. Twenty minutes earlier, the Greatest Surfer Ever in the Universe Ever 9 approached the still-jubilant Wright, after the interview melee had finally abated and spoke quietly in his ear. “Congratulations Owen. You surfed a really great out there. That was a tough heat and you deserved to win, well done.” Class.
“I was a bit scared when he started walking over to me,” Wright told me afterwards, “I didn’t know what he was gonna say.”
ALIEN VS PREDATOR
I think Charly ‘Chas’ Smith of stabmag fancies me. He looks at me a certain way. He says things that you could almost consider flirting. He wrote about me (slight misquote, I didn’t say few weeks and it was drinking and whoring) on his blog and then told me about it afterwards to be sure I didn’t miss it. (http://stabmag.com/jed/rip-curl-search-round-one/)
A good-looking writer for a European surf magazine approaches me. “Are you Chas Smith?” I say, “Yes.” He says, “You’re still here?” I say, “Yes.” He says, “Derek Rielly used to edit Surf Europe but was fired after a few weeks because he blew the entire budget on hookers and booze.”
JANE VS ADDICTION
An American surf photographer we’ll call Jane Scottish crashed his car drink driving back in the States some time ago. He’s not proud. It was really stupid, he told SE today at the contest, during a particularly slow heat, might have been Parko vs Bruno. I used to do it a lot, wasted really dump, he explains. It s a huge fine and they made me go to School of Correction. I had to learn to face my problem, they told me to write a letter to my addiction. It was the Parko heat, and Joel just got the score and looks in control with a few minutes to go. Another lull. So I wrote a letter to Jack Daniels, that was pretty cool.
SUPER KOOTS VS SUPER COOL
Andy Higgins looks stressed. He’s gone a bit red in the cheeks and there’s a vein popping on the left side of his Gregory. Who wouldn’t be? Coordinating a WCT event at a remote location is reason enough, but now what’s this? The coolest surfer in the world looks like he’s decided not to surf his heat…
“Dane, aren’t you up next mate?” Higgo anxiously enquires.
“Yeah,” replies Dane, looking slightly more ginger than normal. He’s sitting next to his girlfriend who has reddish hair and it almost looks as if they’ve gone the same rinse. I think it might be called Copper Mahogany.
“Well, aren’t you worried?” pushes Higgo, who himself looks worried.
“Well there’s two minutes left in this heat mate. Why havent you got your wetsuit on?”
“It’s not happening man. They called it off for an hour. I’m not worried.”
Throughout the conversation Dane’s gaze remains fixed on the surfing in the lineup, and he is grinning.