Will there be fireworks between Gabriel Medina and Jordy Smith when Ulus kicks off?

There are so many reasons to celebrate the Corona Bali Protected and leading on to what is bound to be a celebration over at Uluwatu. Have you seen the forecast?

Looks like it’s solid, up to ten-foot and offshore which is going to be interesting, but that’s the point. We as spectators want interesting, we need variance, we desire to see people taking serious risks in performance as well as in their own human safety, and we want to see evidence of passion and of anger, all the emotions that can’t be found at a wave pool, which seems to be dominated by limpid frustration. 

We also like to see a little bit of rage when watching surfing at the highest level, because it means that surfers are taking it for real, that they are not just pussy-footing around sponsors and organisers in order to keep the masses entertained, that we actually aren’t watching something that is totally scripted, or that we’re wired into our very own Matrix Reloaded of utopian fallacies made up by the WSL, our sports’ very own Matrix architect.   

A warp spasm, in Irish mythology, is a berserk rage in which the berserker undergoes substantial physical transformations - usually twisting around inside their skin and becoming hideous in appearance even whilst growing massively in size and strength. In some cases the twisting can be so severe as to hamper the berserker's fighting ability unless he wears a specially designed harness to hold himself together. The spasm may also render the berserker's skin hot enough to boil water.

We’ve seen a couple of warp spasms over the years, but in all honesty, not that many in contests, and not that many that are serious enough to be labeled more than bluster, but when they happen it’s great.

Andy Irons and Mick Campbell in Hossegor was a great example of a warp spasm, with name calling leading to slapping and the attempted head smashing with surfboards, and the intervention by a man aptly named Kong.

The Jordy and Gabriel exchange at Keramas was so great to watch. It had it all – the passion, the anger, the ferocity and the fact that no one was going to back down. They were doing it to win, they were doing it for their countries, and they were doing it because as men, they had to. They both had to stand up and be counted when the chips were down, and underneath it all it appears they both have the warrior spirit.

Luckily the priority was given prior to any of them going into warp spasm, but if any of the two of them were going to spaz out, it would have bee Jordy. He has not been able to get out of the third round this year, and it must have really started to frustrate him, to get him doubting himself and to make him acutely aware that in a wide competitive arena that is pro surfing, there are going to be people who are hideously less talented them him but who are going to make it through heats and get great results, regardless of how unfair it seems.

It was there though. His post-heat speech mentioned that his competitors were like peacocks, and that when he realised that Gabby was being malicious in their battle, that it wasn’t a game out there, it was war.

Which is the precise moment that a berserk rage can open up.

If they had opened their chests and decided to fight, who would have won? Would Jordy Smith’s background in the back streets of the poor parts of Durban have held him in good stead, or would the humble background Medina go into a warp spasm, and slug it out?

In a genuine brawl I’d have Jordy ahead.

Jordy and Gabriel are still both in the Margaret River Uluwatu Classic at Uluwatu. Jordy comes up against fellow South African Mikey February in Round 3 Heat 3, while Gabriel comes up against Jack Robinson in Round 3 Heat 7.

We can’t wait.