Cloudbreak put on a show yesterday at the Fiji Women’s Pro — a clinic for all aspiring left-hand reef breaks — and the women, for the most part, responded in kind.
Sally Fitzgibbons was the day’s heroine, perforating an eardrum in Round 2 and yet going on to win her Round 3 heat convincingly. There was some unseemly set-dodging, inadvertent or otherwise, in the Round 2 heat after Sally’s — head to the 29 minutes-to-go mark in heat 4 to see Keely Andrew and Malia Manuel (unreasonably?) paddle over, rather than into, four or five successive bombs — but in general the standard of surfing was high. Tatiana Weston-Webb delivered the day’s best performance, surfing what was by a distance the best wave of the contest so far in her Round 2 match-up with Sage Erickson. Inflation-adjusted it would have been a 10, but as it was it scored just 9.73. It’s all well and good throwing out mid 9’s for a few solid turns, but do the judges not then have an obligation to reach for a significantly bigger number — 10 being the only one left — when someone gets a “wild tube ride” (see below)?
The highlights reel is above, but in addition to his or her invariably woeful choice of music, whoever puts these clips together insists on editing the shit out of them, never allowing us to see a single wave in its entirety. The effect is slightly disorienting — similar to that of a perforated eardrum, perhaps, but a perforated eardrum at least has the advantage of relative silence. With that in mind below are a few of Weston-Webb’s best waves, wonderfully titled by — perhaps it’s the same person? — whoever it is the WSL employs to title their Youtube videos.
Exhibit A: Wild Tube Ride
Exhibit B: Dreamy Drop
Exhibit C: Daring Drop
[Personally I’m not convinced this drop is particularly daring, in fact as drops at Cloudbreak go I’d say it was fairly friendly, and certainly the least interesting thing that happened on this wave. But you can’t argue with alliteration. Still, I can’t help thinking “Dreary Drop” would have been the better choice. Even “Nondescript Drop” kind of works, and would have been more accurate still.]