The Wave Pool Vibe
The feelings and emotions towards the Kelly Slater Wave Pool in Lemoore, California, are hard to quantify. For one undoubted, the wave is undoubtedly incredible. For the second solid fact, the wave is incredibly dull to watch.
Some of us managed to watch a few heats. But, at the same time, other people, die-hard fans of professional surfing, chose either the FOSTER Jol or the Red Hot Chilli Peppers jol instead of watching the contest.
Surfing and F1
I managed a few heats, but watching the men getting into a tiny, wrapped-up crouching yoga position on their surfboards and remaining in that one position for as long as they could, became beyond mundane. I had to turn off the tv. It is not in any way a viewer-friendly event. Maybe if you’re there in person, it would be pretty exciting, but remember that the wave is very long, so for a spectator parking off at one spot, it would be a bit like watching F1. You get to watch the cars for one split second every lap as they whizz past you.
Drive To Survive
At least in F1, you have several vehicles. With the wave pool, one person is riding at one time, and if you’re sitting on the left when they go over to the right-handers, you may as well be sitting on the toilet. Unless the toilets have an elevated view and have a window facing the pool. Then the toilest would be better than the grandstands.
The crowd during the Final at the Surf Ranch Pro. photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)
So it’s quirky, but the contest does find winners, and these winners might or might not use the victory points to make a slot in the coveted top 5 as the competitive year starts to wind down.
Make Or Break
What the contest, as well as the surfers, do need, though, is consistency from the judges, and according to Gabriel Medina, this wasn’t happening at all, and this is exactly what led to the Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina situation. See below
The three-time world champ Gabriel Medina posted an open letter to the WSL complaining of kak judging following his shock loss to Ethan Ewing in the quarter-finals of the Surf Ranch Pro.
Please understand the importance of this discussion.
Surfing has been my life and my love for this sport is unconditional. I have put all my heart into and and want to leave a beautiful legacy one day when I look back at it.
However the surfing community, especially in Brazil, is mesmerized with the poor clarity and inconsistence of judging for many years now, but lately it has been even more shocking.
It is quite clear that judging is now rewarding very simple surfing, seamless transitions and have taken critical turns in critical sections off the criteria. This is very frustrating and is stagnating the sport.
Fans and sponsor will not accept this to continue and will in a near future be draw away once all they want is equal and fair judging to the sport.
Also, important to note that many coaches and managers have had the opportunity to speak to WSL after heats/events to ask about PROGRESSION and VARIETY in the criteria and the lack of reward for this space. The response given by them is always quite defensive by giving poor examples to illustrate THEIR point.
WSL needs urgently to clarify judging and apply equal and fair judging to save the progression of the sport.
Gabriel Medina and Brasil
Wave Pool Blow Out With Gabriel Medina. Photo by Aaron Hughes/World Surf League)
To see what Stab Mag thinks, check this out here – STAB And The Thing With Medina
Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. The first is the Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger.
John John Florence claimed victory at the World Surf League Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Haleiwa Challenger. It was the final stop of the 2021 Challenger Series. Still, after overpowering XL swell at the iconic North Shore reef break along with Jack Robinson (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), and Samuel Pupo (BRA). A thrilling, action-packed Final. It was Florence’s ninth North Shore, Oahu victory in his career to tie the late 3X WSL Champion Andy Irons (HAW).
Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. John John won the first one.
“I’m feeling good, really good, and it’s just so much fun being here and competing again,” said Florence. “After those injuries the last few years, it just feels good to be here. I just want to say thanks to my wife, my family, my whole team, and everyone who’s there supporting me. It’s been huge going through these last couple of years, and to be here winning again is awesome.”
An early start from Pupo got the attention of eventual winner Florence. The North Shore, Oahu surfer, unleashed an array of his signature power and progression on a wave at the midway point of the Final for a perfect 10. So, it had the crowd erupting in cheers and applause. The 29-year-old, 2X WSL Champion, wasn’t to be stopped – holding the highest single-wave score and heat total throughout the event – and placing all of the remaining finalists in a combination situation.
It was Jack Robinson’s first-ever Finals appearance on the hallowed grounds of Haleiwa, and he surged through the competition on his way to a runner-up finish. The 2021 CT Rookie will return to compete against the world’s best with renewed vigour following dominant performances at Haleiwa.
“That was a good run, and it was funny because John and I were in a paddle battle before he just turned and went on a wave,” said Robinson. “I think that put him in a good rhythm with those two waves, and I turned around thinking what just happened. But it was such a fun event and a good tune-up for next year. It’s funny. It’s been two years since I’ve qualified now, and everything here feels so different. Still, at the same time, it’s the same beautiful place, and I’m just excited to be back here.”
A third-place for Igarashi kept him atop the Challenger Series rankings to close the 2021 season as Pupo’s fourth-place notched a career-best in a major WSL event.
The Alaïa Open Winter Cup in Switzerland
Sion, Switzerland – The snow and rain stayed away. It was a beautiful and fresh day for the finals of the Alaïa Open Winter Cup finals at the Alaïa Bay wavepool facility. It was the first event of this magnitude to be held at the wavepool. To celebrate, the opening day saw light snowfall throughout most of the day’s competition.
Two Major Surfing Contests Just Wrapped. Alaïa Open Winter Pro was the second
It was top action all the way on finals day, as the surfers fought out some fierce battles to be in the cash and prizes. The day featured progressive surfing, some big aerial moves, and speed, power and flow scoring high from the judges.
Jamie Veselko was victorious in the Kids Division, beating Alejo Valedi and Fransisco into minor positions. In the junior Division, Kai Odrozola took the win from Hans Odriozola and Axel Domingues.
The Ladies Division was dominated by an experienced Maud Le Car, who beat dynamic Nadja Erostarbe Beiser into second and Lucia Martino into third place.
The Men’s Division saw the Brazilian contingent rise up for the win, with power surfer Pedro Menezes taking the win from fellow Brazilian Franklin Serpa. Justin Becret had a great day on the opening day at Alaïa Bay. Still, had to settle for third place in the finals.
Pedro Menezes taking the win from fellow Brazilian Franklin Serpa. Justin Becret had a great day on the opening day at Alaïa Bay but had to settle for third place in the finals.
Last week’s column right here