Josh Kerr, once pigeonholed as a small-wave aerialist specialist, now hailed as a formidable all-rounder, fended off various titans of the big wave world to win the Todos Santos Challenge, thereby claiming his maiden victory on the Big Wave World Tour.
The waves were big-ish but not particularly inspiring; Josh by contrast was on the small side but electrifying throughout, storming through the rounds with high heat totals to scoop the US $18,750 prize money. The WSL say “biggest victory of his career” — although if you wanted to be pedantic you might point out that he earned $20k for each of the two QS events he won almost six years ago, and $40k when he finished 2nd at Margaret River in 2014. Not that he was complaining:
“To walk away with a win — I feel like one of those dogs with his head out the car window. I was smiling the whole time I was paddling around in the Final.”
Dogs sticking their heads out of windows don’t care about money! Very dangerous though, sticking one’s head out the window of a moving vehicle. Maybe more money would be nice?
A few days ago Kelly Slater confirmed he would be taking part in the event, which automatically quadrupled interest in the whole thing, but then he pulled out a day or so later — suffering maybe from a lack of enthusiasm, or maybe fear of the big Todos Santos waves, although probably not the latter because he’d just been surfing Jaws a few days earlier and surfing it rather well. Still, a few dozen extra people probably tuned into the webcast for thirty seconds in the expectation of seeing Kelly. Result!