POWER WANKINGS: OAKLEY PRO BALI Pt1
A post-Keramas critical performance appraisal of WCT bottom feeders.
By Julien 'Vico' Hamel
Bringing a CT event to Keramas is like unleashing a bus of Amish teens for their rumspringa in a whorehouse in Vegas: it's gonna be a lot of fun with high performance fireworks and great memories but eventually the shit will hit the fan and things will go berserk.
It's been all over the surf interweb for the last 15 days so I won't emphasize how insanely good the wave is, how "awesome, mate" Bali has become, how fantastic the overpriced, monopolistic Luke Egan Empire Komune resort is, or how high "THAT" air was (no no, not KP's oh-so-2005 double grab teleportation), I will just focus on a few little things before starting the Power Wankings.
Lots out mean lots in, plenty of kinda-fresh faces from Word Tour level (Yadin) to WQS grinder (Cardoso) to gifted midget (Jack Robinson, didn't Oakley have any better WQS surfers to give a chance to, seriously?) to serious local heroes (Oney Anwar, Putra Hermawan) and even the very ghostly former World Tour campaigner (Bruce Irons).
By the time Teahupoo is on, there's a good chance Travis Logie will have grown back the infected carpaccio he left on the reef in Fiji, while Owen and Tiago should be back on track too. Only Glenn Hall may take more time out to get his spine straight.
Brazzos out, Ausholes in:
After the Brazilian domination at Bells and Rio, 5 Australians made the quarters, which caused a global Fantasy Surfer fiasco. A new momentum for Australian surfing or is it just the old guard fed up with being kicked out too early?
Once again, there were more major screw ups for the sport of surfing, with NBC and all the biggest networks present on the beach, unable to understand or get a proper explanation on the difference between a 10, a perfect 10, a wow-that-was-so-insane-it-hurts-me-bum-mate-10, and the oh-it's-Parko-give-him-a-ten...
The judging scale goes from 0.1 to 10 points, the hard part of evaluating these guys on Keramas is not in awarding average to good scores, it's about drawing a line between what is EXCELLENT and what is EXCEPTlONAL.
The core of their job was to make a clear difference between a 9.7 and a 9.8, keeping in mind that the impossible can happen anytime (no no, still not KP's double grab) and that they need to score wisely so they can have a legible and fair result whereas it is from a 19 points combo or 1/100th of a point.
Well they surely tried their best, but still some hardly tolerable calls at this level, most of all when it is AGAIN in favor of the same surfer since the beginning of 2013. With the technology of replays, multiple angles, slow motion and all that freakin rocket science, the fact they can still get away with such dubious results and that eventually the guy gets to win the event pisses me off big time.
But well, that's surfing, it's laidback and cool and shit, let's not consider it as a sport, right?
Here's my take on Bali. As usual, all your comments, insults, threats and love letters are more than welcome.
#30 Kieren PERROW - BALI #25 - ASP #34th
...and 4th last place out of 5 events for KP...when you're on a roll. Watching him surfing at Keramas was like watching Hugh Heffner on a violent rush of viagra: at first surprising by his stoutness and fresh moves, only to become shaky, flabby and depressing too soon after. More used to go in the air verticaly from 20ft steps down in monster waves than above the lip, his horrendous oh-so-last-decade double grab air in Rd1 against Toledo & Kerr got him a generous 8,17 - his best single score & heat score of the year - which definitely hurts my feelings as the late A.I won the 2006 Mexico Search event with a 6 second-tube AND a 5ft high lofty double grab which was scored 8.93 seven years ago...when you see how aerial surfing has improved, I find it hard to swallow (Viagra or not) to get nowadays the almost same score for an ugly-ass, already-retro air. Next stop in Teahupoo, where he should do better, anyway he can't go further down the rankings anymore can he?
#29 Bede DURBIDGE - BALI #25 - ASP #19
Bede 2013 is like an Old Crow bottom shelf whisky bottle compared to the Hibiki he was back in 2008: kind of the same color, but definitely a pale, tasteless copy of the real thing. Some flashes of his former superb in his Rd1 though with this solid hack of the top, but no proper backup score, then comes also short to Miguel PUPO in their average-to-boring Rd2 encounter. From 5th, then twice 13th and twice last, Bede seriously needs to get his act together if he ever wants to be back to who he was. So far, boring surfing, poor heat averages and inconsistent performances for the one who was once considered as the most dangerous contest surfer on tour. Never got through the second round in Teahupoo...don't expect anything before MAYBE Trestles from the former World #2...
#28 Alejo MUNIZ - Bali #25 - ASP #31
Worst season start of his career (two 13th and three 25th) for the Brazilian, who with a 11,04pts heat average couldn't expect to go anywhere. One good carve of the top in a discrete Rd1, and then nothing... went from having bad results with really good surfing in Snapper and Bells to bad results with terrible surfing since Rio. It's maybe time for Alejo to go back to the Prime and Star events before he gets kicked out of the Tour. Top 3 underachiever.
#27 Brett SIMPSON - BALI #25 - ASP #21
Keramas is one of the wave that suits Brett's versatile and sharp style the most, yet he gets a painful 8.95pts of heat average and another last place finish. Being one of the most complete and smart surfer on Tour, I can't help but feeling like punching him in the ear when I see him losing AGAIN so early. Terrible in his wave selection in Rd1, he was falling on about all his rides, trying too hard, definitely not looking in tune with the conditions. His only interesting turn was when he finally woke up -too late- in his Rd2 against Keramas local, Putra HERMAWAN, who was as good in the barrel as he was Kieren-esque in the touching awkwardness of his maneuvers. Too patient, too nervous, too smart...B.S did some proper B.S in Bali, and if he does not wake up soon he may be sacked from the Elite he belongs to in no time. Let's hope he goes bananas in Teahupoo, wins a 3rd U.S Open and eventually saves his a$$ for 2014.
#26 Raoni MONTEIRO - BALI #25 - ASP #28
Poor wave selection, had trouble to adapt to the changing wind conditions of his round 1 and was trying too hard to do everything at the same time. We are really far from the threatening power surfer he was in Bells. Totally invisible during Julian's solo Expression Session in Rd2, Raoni should try to go back to the next few Prime events, get some confidence - and valuable points - back before attacking Teahupoo where he can charge more than most.
#25 Dusty PAYNE - Bali #25 - ASP#31
9,8 heat average in Keramas...are you kidding me ? Dusty should be up there with John John and Josh and Seabass ! Wouldn't have lost in Rd1 if he had focused on building a proper heat instead of going for broke on 5 waves in a row, therefore wouldn't have lost against Josh Kerr on 3ft buzzer beater. Keramas was his best chance to save his spot on the Tour, and he blew it. Never passed Rd2 in Teahupoo, good thing he won Margaret River so he can still hope to requalify through the WQS as his results on the CT are just a disgrace when you know how good he is.
#24 Miguel PUPO - BALI #13 - ASP #25
Third thirteenth of his season and Miguel seems to have improved dramatically his backhand game, laying some serious top turns with way more power, control and composure than in 2012. Obviously six steps back behind Seabass and Double John in their Rd1 only-over-19-points private party, Migui was smart and solid against Bede in Rd2, only to get stopped by Taj in a heat he did some strategy and positioning mistakes. Ankle seems to be definitely fine, the kid can do good in hollow lefts (9th in Pipe), France (5th) and already won in Trestles (Prime) so the season is pretty much starting now for the inconspicuous (it's rare enough to point it out) Brazilian.
#23 Freddie PATACCHIA - BALI #9 - ASP #24
Not as strong or technical as CJ's, not as smart as Ace's, not as fresh as Nat's, not as raw and surprising as Wilko's, Freddie P's backhand surfing seems good enough for the Tour, but a tad outdated. The only time he went over 13pts was when he got barreled, his turns only getting him average scores. Freddie had a lucky string of heats, winning his Rd1 vs. an absent Travis Logie and Parko who gave him the priority in the dying minute; he then went on winning over an unusual 10,34 from Jordy. Freddie lost pushing Fanning on his winning wave, firing him up for an extra anger and flair. Aware of his mistake, he couldn't channel his frustration after Mick's score and just lost it, letting Fanning nailing him on a second inside runner under priority while he was too busy splashing water and spewing against the judge's call. With a wicked frontside barrel technique and experience, expect a come back in Teahupoo.
#22 Damien HOBGOOD - BALI #13 - ASP #25
Oldies but goodies, great to see Damo schooling the judges. With this new generation being all pro and nice and respectful, and since F-bomb Martinez left, it definitely feels good to see WCT surfers calling BS when they see it, whether they are right (Damo's case) or wrong (Freddie P). Sadly, even calling the overscoring already since Round 3, the judges kept on f**king things up and using the scale inside out with Parko. Safe, but consistent backside surfing in an easy Rd1 versus Sleepy Slater and Midget Robinson catapulted Damo over the death pit of the Rd2, to the Rd3 where he got really on, displaying his trademark backside barrel surfing in pumping conditions. The result was fair, but the scores were -way- too high. Such a pity too observe that all the veterans' opinions are not treated with the same respect. Hopefully for Damo a good result coming (for once) in Teahupoo in August. If not 2013 may be is last year.
#21 Adam MELLING - BALI #25 - ASP #28
...and down he goes. Fourth 25th place in a row, after a promising 9th in Snapper, Doogie Howser M.D is free falling in the rankings, collecting round 2 losses very gracefully. Again, exact copy of Rio AND Fiji: one excellent score + no backup score in Rd1 = Rd2 against a high-seeded surfer and another 25th place... Being consistent is awesome, unless it is in mediocrity. Does not belong in the last third of the rankings, but well, after 4 identical events and 4 season in the WCT, you get what you deserve. #underachiever