HERE’S YOUR 2015 RIP CURL PRO, BELLS BEACH QUARTERFINALISTS:
Mr Fanning. Photo: WSL/Kelly Cestari
Unlike at the Quiksilver Pro, Gold Coast, WSL Commisioner Kieren Perrow has put himself in the happy position of having seven remaining heats each in the mens and womens draws, and five days of waiting period to complete them in. The cost? Running in windy, bumpy conditions for the last few days. But them’s the breaks. Today, the quarterfinalists were decided and it’s a rather stacked biz end.
Mick Fanning dusted Jadson Andre in a scrappy round five heat, and will now face Jordy Smith in the quarters. Prior to the event, Mick told Stab about Jordy: “Over the last few years out there he’s really stepped up his game. He just has a huge frame and has those big open wraps down. He just toys with the big faces out there. I think after last year, with his heat against Julian, he’s got something brewing this year, f’sure… that extra bit of fire. It was a tough loss last year.”
Another prediction Mick gave Stab for threatening competitive behaviour was Adriano De Souza, who’s also made his way to the quarters. Mick’s read on Ads, pre-event? “He’s put in so much time out there over the years. From when he first got on tour until now, he’s elongated his turns and made them so much bigger. Obviously he’s won the event in the past, and he really prides himself on how well he’s done out there. I think a lot of the younger guys are probably focusing more on big airs, but Adriano’s sort of gone the other way, focusing on big power turns. He can still do those airs, though. He’s one of the guys you’d pick on your fantasy team, f’sure.”
And how about Kelly Slater being knocked by Gabs Medina? “That was pretty close,” said Gabs. “It’s kinda hard to surf, it’s so windy, the waves are not very good and, I dunno, I was surfing with a 5’11” and today I went up to a 6’1”, which felt better. But that was a tough heat against Kelly, I knew it was going to be hard, but luckily I got that 7. He got that last one and I was nervous, because I saw from the back he did two turns and then I didn’t see anymore. Stoked to be in the quarters though, it’s a tough event. Last year I had (Adriano) here, and he got me, so hopefully I can get him back.”
“I blew it,” said Kelly more bluntly. “I had priority and I let him cat and mouse me into one without really looking at the wave. I was looking at him more. By the time I realised it was a small and choppy one, it was too late. Then four waves behind that was his wave. So many of my mistakes the last couple of years have been priority. I made the same mistake against him at Teahupoo in the final, I let him have priority and a good one came for him. It was really tough for both of us out there. He was sitting on a 5.8 for most of the heat, and you don’t expect that out of him very much. I felt like the ceiling was pretty low out there, it didn’t feel like there was nines or 10s coming in.”
No nines or 10s. That’s a very good way to describe the theme of today. But perhaps the closing rounds will platform more fireworks. Stay tuned