I was in the pool, again. Yesterday the surf had gone to seed. Perfection turned sour and onshore, the low tide gobbling the swell. The day’s competition perfection (Parko’s two tens, Kerrzy’s 18 bazzas, some of the most accessible perfect waves ever seen for competition) swung into freesurfing shite.
One surfer is still out there, and has been for three hours, despite the conditions. That wouldn’t be newsworthy, if the surfer wasn’t Kelly Slater, and if he hadn’t lost in his round 5. Most surfers would have bailed, or hit the pool, or the beers, well anything but just keep surfing, and surfing and surfing. Was it a three hour decompression session? Was he hurting? Did he care? What was going through his head? Does anyone know what Kelly is thinking? I don’t know, but it felt strange, that something was up. Something wasn’t right in the world. I had to get another beer, just to see if I could wrangle some type of answer, some clear solution. I almost had it, and then a Russian glamour model called Anastasia (I imagine) slipped past wearing some dental floss as a bikini, and I lost it, forever.
Anyway Slater’s early exit, meant the rest of the perennial contenders could step up. The wind came up though, just before the semi’s changing the status quo. Tubes were out, turns were in, quads changed for thrusters and my erection stiffened. Fanning lost his quarters, but regained the world ratings. CJ, the Slater slayer also lost, and when asked about retirement he said “I talk to God, everyday, and I say, ‘dude, when are you are going to take me of this tour?’”
Parko again slipped through the jetstream, scored a barrel just before the wind came through in his semis. In between heats, he’s been lying on the sun lounge, picking up little and playing with mate’s kids, popping nurofen for a crook throat, generally being as relaxed as he has been all week. He’s sharing a sun lounge with his wife and his old mates from home and this relaxed, who can beat him? No one.
Michel Bourez came closest. The Tahitian hadn’t made a mistake all week, except for spending an afternoon with me by the pool on the eve of the lay days. After beating Mick in the quarters, he nailed an eight point score in the final five seconds of his semi, pure power under intense pressure to dust rookie Nat Young. And when the wind swung back more offshore just in time for the final, his chances improved.
The scene is pretty bloody good. There’s thousands on the beach, a sea of bintangs and tattoos and hot chicks and kids and old Australians and it’s hard not to fall a little bit in love with this circus that is pro surfing.
And then with five minutes remaining Parko gets the wave he needs, all signature Parko style and groove, nails the score and a last minute Bourez flurry isn’t enough. Parko is the new Oakley Pro Bali champion. He has scored a perfect heat score, he’s had fun all week, and he’s been barreled off his nut.
But its not done yet. The Balinese drums arc up, down on the beach eight Balinese warriors hoist Parko on to a gold cushioned chair and parade him, like a true God, through the crowd. It might be the best thing I have ever seen, and that includes Anastasia’s bottom.
He victory floats over the crowd, towards 85 grand, a new jetski, third place in the ratings and I imagine, an all mighty celebration. I imagine being a surfing God is a pretty good feeling.
OAKLEY PRO BALI FINAL RESULTS:
1 – Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.86
2 – Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.67
OAKLEY PRO BALI SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
SF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.43 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 5.33
SF 2: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.50 def. Nat Young (USA) 14.97
OAKLEY PRO BALI QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
QF 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.17 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 3.13
QF 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) 17.44 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.83
QF 3: Nat Young (USA) 17.03 def. Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.57
QF 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.27 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.50
ASP WCT TOP 5 (After Oakley Pro Bali):
1. Mick Fanning (AUS) 31,400 points
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 30,950
3. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 26,700
4. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 25,200
5. Taj Burrow (AUS) 24,900