No One Can Piss On A Parade Like Kelly

“I have an announcement,” Kelly said in the WSL booth, his arm in the air like an eager school kid who thinks he has a killer show-and-tell fossil in his bag. “Next year will be my last year on tour and I’ll be done with it.” Kelly’s retirement plans of course came only hours after Parko had dropped his own retirement schedule on social media. Parko’s was carefully planned and well executed. Slater’s seemed more spontaneous and born of a man who was filthy that he hadn’t been invited to a fifth birthday party. Stealing thunder has been a favoured Slater technique (ask Adriano de Souza), but this seemed even more petty than usual, given there was no benefits to calling the end of a career 18 months in advance. 

Wade Carmichael Is The Real Deal

Another Quarterfinal performance to backup his Final in Rio rockets him up the Jeep leaderboard  should guarantee the Central Coast powerhouse a slot on the CT roster for 2019. His surfing oozes a calm and composure that is suddenly jolted with jaw dropping amounts of water displacement. The CT, and its quality waves, seems a natural home for his style of surfing, but his ability to ignore his big name opponents and construct impenetrable heat totals has been a real eye opener. It’s surfing at its most uncomplicated and brings comfort that such an approach can still equate to success in 2018. 

Wade Carmichael carving his way into the Quarter-Finals at J-Bay. WSL/Cestari

Is Julian Being Ripped On? 

Every year it seems that surf fans propose the theory that there is one surfer that is routinely being favoured by the judges, or “ripped on” to use the correct terminology. This year the finger is being pointed at Julian Wilson. Tight wins at Ulus and a last minute wave win here in Round 4 are being provided as evidence. Now sure the 8.33 to sneak through to the Quarterfinals may have been slightly overcooked, but the idea that there is some type of judging conspiracy seems ludicrous. These close calls tend to even out over time, and I’d like to think Julian’s surfing, usually at a far superior technical level than 95 per cent of his opponents, is finally getting rewarded. And anyways, what the fuck is Julian supposed to do about it? 

Wilson's world title quest is on track. WSL/Cestari

What Happened To The New Criteria?

The new judging criteria, which has rightly been punishing safe surfing this year, seems to have been scaled back to the 2017 version over the last few days. Now sure, six foot, offshore, J-Bay isn’t exactly the place to be launching massive airs. I also respect that flow comes into the criteria here more than at any other location, but if you give the surfers the option to play it safe to win heats, of course they will take it. We’ve seen loads of incredible surfing, but nothing that has elevated a performance to truly memorable. Hopefully that changes in the Quarters. 

Will we see more surfing at altitude in the Quarters? WSL/Cestari

Backs To The Wall

It’s a well-known stat that the last goofyfooter to win at J-Bay was Occy in 1984. Increasingly the only surfer that seems capable of ending that right foot forward drought is Gabriel Medina. He’s now made it to the Quarterfinals in each of the last four years and with the wheels falling off Wilko’s wagon, is the only back-to-the-wall surfer that can provide enough speed and variety at the J-Bay racetrack to worry Smith, Toledo and Wilson. If the judges keep paying those lip line floaters and if tubes remain elusive, there’s no reason why he can’t finally stop a 35-year voodoo. Cause if he doesn’t, no other goofy can. 

Can Medina claim a J-bay win for the goofy tribe? WSL/Cestari