D’Bah delivered

So the whole Sunday debacle was a real balls-up, with the WSL folding to corporate pressure and missing the best waves of the event, but aside from that, D’Bah as a venue went off.

I love Snapper as much as the next purist, but it’s been years since the place has properly pumped for the Quikky Pro, and some of the heats out there can be a whole lot of waiting for someone to catch a wave.

Not the case at D’Bah.

With good banks, a good run of small to medium size swell, and peaky conditions similar to a fun day at your local, it made for some bloody refreshing viewing.

Heaps of waves ridden, heaps of variety in the surfing, and a scary reminder of how good the world’s best surf away from primo reef breaks and reeling points.

The overlapping format works

I never minded the overlapping format at Pipe, although with one peak and typically longer period swells, more often than not the guys without priority didn’t get much of a look in until it was their turn.

A nothing lost, nothing gained type scenario.

But at a beachbreak like D’Bah, the format worked exactly like it should, delivering more action in a condensed timeframe and making for a much more entertaining viewing experience.

The WSL is onto a winner here. Keep it going and you’ve solved (or at least alleviated) one of the biggest charges against professional surfing as a spectator sport—that there’s a criminal amount of downtime.

In regards to the other new format, the whole Round 1 and 2 reshuffle, I think it’ll take a little longer to tell.

There’s still one three-man heat too many for a lot of people, but it’s nice to get into the man-on-man game and stay there.

The airborne is still up in the air

I’m a fan of Josh Kerr, I’m a fan of seeing some of the best freesurfers in the world sharing the same line-up as the Dream Tour guys, but when better airs are happening in the main event than in the air show, I fail to see how it’s relevant.

Add in the fact the guy who wins the air show also wins the main contest (with the same airs but an expanded repertoire) and it gets even more difficult.

Maybe the format should stay in the 90s and early 2000s, where it first came to the fore.

Back then, there was a distinct difference between the surfing happening on tour and what the aerial innovators were doing.

Now there isn’t.

That’s evolution for you.

It’s going to be a tight year

You wouldn’t get me betting much more than a wrinkly old fiver on who’s going to win the title this year.

John John, Italo, Gabby—take your pick.

Jordy, too, looked better than he had in years.

Filipe and Jules seemed a little shaky, a little low on confidence, but you’d expect Toledo to at least shake that at some point.

Kolohe could even put together a calculated, consistent run at things.

The rest, I’m not so sure.

But even if it comes down to the first three I mentioned (and it probably will), that’s still going to be one hell of a race.