The Newcastle Cup: Day Two - Whitewater Downtime

Ding Alley
Ding Alley

Ding Alley isn’t alone in comparing Newy to the Bells comp it's currently standing in for, but far out, there was a moment in in the closing minutes of Courtney and Tyler’s round three heat, early afternoon, when a rain squall swept through and Newcastle was more Bells than Bells: two forlorn competitors barely discernible through grey sideways rain, overhead mushy whitewater ball sweeping in from the right of the screen…

------

In this rapidly equalising world, I caught myself making a dinosaur assumption to this morning’s phone alert flagging that the Women were first in the water. Back in, say 2012, you’d see that and assume conditions were contestable but due to improve, at which point they’d send the fellas out. 

Happily, and correctly, in 2021, an alert that the girls are being set out is no longer an indicator of inferior surf quality, and so it was with optimism your correspondent clicked through. 

Five days ago, American surf forecasting behemoth Surfline turned in a remarkable forecast mere hours before day one commenced – "five to six foot, with possible eight foot sets". 

Applying that differential (essentially multiplying by a factor of four) between Day One’s forecast and reality, Newy today would – as viewed through the glorious Surfline algorithm – be a solid 12 foot easy, with the occasional 20 foot wash-through.

Which is to say, decent lines of fresh-baked southerly swell – five foot on the sets maybe? – with a bit of sideshore riffle, and a reasonably defined lineup that, yep, looked not unlike the ol’ Ding Dong.

And speaking of both these lovable, iconic, contestable right-hand burgers, every time a competitor works their way through the deep-water mid-section (linking their two hits out the back with whatever shorebreak boogie they can muster) you can hear – if you listen closely – the furious tapping of keyboards as the commentariat in bedrooms the world over bemoan how fucked the WSL is for running such an abomination of a travesty of a joke of an insult of a comp.

As they say, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem, so rather than whine like entitled little caaarrnts, Ding Alley is proposing what we think might be an exciting addition to the criteria for comp venues with a somewhat gentle bathymetry.

You’ve got your speed, power and flow, etc, but in that ten seconds of downtime between the initial hits and the shorey – how about some kind of constructive or creative challenge that, if successfully completed, would add a crucial point or two to the overall score?

Myself and Macca have sent some early thoughts to the Woz, illustrated below. We’re yet to hear back, but we imagine there’s some excited ‘why didn’t we think of this sooner’ huddles in the corridors of power right now, and are waiting for the consultancy call-up.

My personal favourite would be using that whitewater downtime to put a balloon animal together, which could then be graciously awarded to an awestruck child on the beach upon completion of the ride. 

Other time-critical challenges, other than interpretive dance, mime, and scarf knitting illustrated here, might include Rubik’s Cube work, muscle-posing, a mic’d-up stand-up routine, yodelling, etc. Truly, we’re limited only by our imagination. 

Right then, to some notes on a day where journeymen and women clamber over each other to avoid last place finishes.

The fellas’ four elimination-round heats were bookended by the gals, who ran their two elimination heats first up, then saw the day out with the marathon round of sixteen.

Of the gals, notable failures to fire included Nikki van Dijk, Malia Manuel, Safety Sage, and Sally Fitz, all of whom seemed lacking any requisite mongrel or abandon in their acts and were appropriately sent packing to Narrabeen. 

Macy Callahan gave it a decent dig against Steph but Her Highness was never really troubled. Riss Moore – who you’d swear sucks helium before her post-heat pressers – was great and powerful over local gal Pip Anderson. 

Isabella Nicholls, who might be Ding Alley’s favourite new act in the gals with a sick top turn that’s a sweet blend of edge, grunt and timing, is becoming familiar with that heat-winning feeling, which pleases us no end.

Best encounter on the gals side of the draw, by far, was Courtney Analogue v Tyler Wright.  An intriguing battle of tactics – T lurking in the shorey to get a baseline score in the slowing swell before moving out to worry Courtney. A master move engineered by lepricoach Micro Hall that looked like paying off, were it not for Analogue knifing into a quickfire combo out the back where her board – looking too long and bladey until that point – suddenly made a great deal of sense. I might have missed it, but after the clock wound down, Tyler paddled right past the victorious Courts without so much as a ‘Good Job’, let alone a sisterly hug and pat on the back. Let’s hope there’s some good old-fashioned rivalry and disdain going on there, Ding Alley is a bit tired of all this good-natured sportsmanship, to be honest. 

Today really was all about the ladies, 10 heats for them, as opposed to a mere four blokes’ heats. And as good as the gals were, it really was enjoyable to see the fellas throw some spray around in half decent waves, and given the ornery conditions that dictated entrée into the ‘loser’s round’, there was some serious middle-of-the-pack talent involved. Heat by heat:

This may be an unpopular call, but I dig Adriano de Souza’s style, and was stoked to see the soon-to-retire 2015 world champ put together a decent heat as he and an unhurried Owen Wright pantsed poor Matty Banting. 

For some reason, Matty B reminds me of a tennis player, and, similar to Oz tennis’s male talent pool – there‘s always a bit of hype around our young guns in the tourneys leading up to the Oz Open – your Kyrigios or what have you – but they get smashed by Nadal or whoever in the early rounds. It feels like Matty B always cleans up in the lil prequel Queys, then gets wiped off the court at the big dance. When you consider how fucking hard he rips, I guess it speaks to how gnarly the ‘CT guns really are. We really do get a diluted impression of exactly how good they are when we watch online, I believe.

Heat two. I swear Julian Wilson’s turning into Sunny Garcia! Some of his power hackery was an absolute carbon copy of the Hawaiian’s beautiful, brutal act. I find myself constantly under-estimating J-Dub – perhaps it’s how the cutesy-percussion Bonsoy ad (where his kidlet’s an unwitting accomplice in Daddy’s buck-hustling) boils my piss – but today’s performance reminds me anyone underestimates him at their peril. Pleasing also to think he’s motivated by competitive contempt for Jack Robbo, (who also advanced through this heat at the expense of a mistiming Mikey Wright). Whether or not such a rivalry exists between the veteran and the rookie, Ding Alley chooses to believe they hate eachother with a passion. Robbo did well to advance, BTW, for a while he was all over the shop.  

Michel Bourez, (who, we were told at least a dozen FUCKING times through the heat, is nicknamed The Spartan) did his power thing to dominate heat three, with Connor O’Leary, who you can’t help but be a fan of, doing his Owen-Wright-meets-Matt-Wilko thing, leaving likeable Saffir Matty McGillivary languishing with the lowest heat score of the day. 

Leo F and Conner Coffin (feat. prison lesbian haircut) disposed of a frantic Jadson Andre in heat four. Jaddy is Ding Alley’s spirit animal, we love him and his journey dearly, and if he ever won a comp we’d be ecstatic like never before, but his second (I think) wave, a nothing score, was remarkable in that it might have been the ugliest three seconds of board riding ever seen in a professional context. Worth checking out. 

Leo, on the other hand, ruled. Which reminds me, last year the Woz lost its shit over a superhyped ‘surf off for a coveted place on tour’ between Mikey and Leo. Well it looks like they’re both fucken on tour from where I sit. 

Can’t wait to sit through the marathon mens’ round of 32. Truly. Wonder if it’ll run tomoz?

Signing off with quick notes on the commentary:

Joe Turpel saying ‘Acai’ makes me want to punch someone.

Richie L needs maybe to learn to disguise his FCS promo pitches. I’m starting to wonder if its part of the deal he’s cut with the Woz. A reduced rate in return for Fin Control System airspace.

Joe T’s got a new way of saying “Teahupo’o”. Buggered if I know how, but he’s managed to give it four syllables, maybe five. 

Nothing like seeing an oft-repeated promo spot for a podcast speculating about the damage Matt Banting can inflict on this contest, after he’s been eliminated. 

Getting Heated? You bet.

//DING ALLEY

Comments

scrotina's picture
scrotina's picture
scrotina Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 6:11pm

great analysis. wish the wsl reduced its cheese so it was more like this.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 6:16pm

Tomorrow’s winners
1/ Medina
2/ Morais
3/ Flores
4/Wilson
5/John John
6/Moniz
7/Callinan
8/ Wright
9/Italo
10/ Griffin
11/ Ewing
12/ Ibelli
13/Smith
14/ Coffin
15/ Freestone
15/ Leonardo

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 6:33pm

Let’s see how close you go, I’ve put $2 on it. Clean sweep and it’s $3951 to me, and a slab of coopers for you

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 6:37pm

Good luck!

You’ll need it.

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 6:45pm

Where’d you place that bet?

Hall of Lame's picture
Hall of Lame's picture
Hall of Lame Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 8:17pm

Wow
Don't you know the punter's rule?
"Never bet on anything that can talk."

shoredump's picture
shoredump's picture
shoredump Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 7:07pm

TAB app
Bit of fun, already worth the two bucks

I’m sure it’ll do better than the $10 I put on Banting to win the thing

kaiser's picture
kaiser's picture
kaiser Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 7:45pm

I bet you’ll cash out after John John

views from the cockpit's picture
views from the cockpit's picture
views from the ... Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 7:14pm

Everyones a comedian around here!
Love it!
Thanks DA too ;-)

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Tuesday, 6 Apr 2021 at 8:22pm

I almost wrote something on the live comments re. Tylers paddle straight past Conologue after the heat. I guess Courtney's win doesn't matter?

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 3:28am

Oh Gra, "(Magoo), you've done it again", such an un-woke line ..."feat. prison lesbian haircut".
I love it. Nearly fell off my chair laughing! Nearly as good as your Mugatu a while back!
By the way my friend, just humbly sharing, Polynesian language words (inc Tahiti and Hawaii) are actually sounded out phonetically for every vowel. I once was angrily corrected by an much elder and prominent, local, surfer in Oahu for saying "Cho-poo"( Aussie vernacular) instead of the correct Te-a-hu-po-o which is actually 5 syllables to a western English ear, but one musically flowing word to our Poly brothers.
God Bless brother Joe T for saying it almost right. You may have noticed how true native Hawaiians pronounce their state name....Ha-wa-i-i.
Thanks again & God Bless you DA rascals

dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 6:13pm

I was going to explain to DA about Polynesian pronunciation, but you beat me to it and did it so well. When I was doing my EpicTV Surf Report vlog I got tons of shit for pronouncing it correctly. I ran this news report with a Tahitian woman pronouncing it just to prove the haters wrong. But they just kept on hating. Haha! Go to 9 seconds: https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x10gz2r#.UbWp8PYmkaV

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 7:44pm

Ding Alley understands and appreciates that the correct pronunciation exists etc for sure, and it's 100 percent an appalling indictment that it irks so. While I'm here, I'll confess also, that if some non-Hawaiian writes Hawai'i instead of Hawaii, my immediate impulse is to tell them to go get fucked. It's COMPLETELY irrational on my part, because on the face of it, it's respectful to the true dialect, but it doesn't take much contrary context to come over as smarmy pointscoring. Again, a damning reflection on D.A, etc.

dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 8:43pm

The way you commented on the difference in pronunciation is done with wit and tact. So, acceptable, and I did find it funny. Every time I did a piece and pronounced it Tay-a-hoo-po (even leaving off the last 'o) I got called a kook and much worse by dudes who'd probably been surfing half as long as me and definitely with way less knowledge of the sport. At least there were a few people who came to my defense. Anyhoo! Keep up the great work. I've been a fan for a long time and that won't change anytime soon, even if you do say Cho-poo! Haha!

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 8:49pm

Back at ya Dave!

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 10:43pm

Hey Gra,
Re your comment 7:44pm Wed 7 April 2021 on Teahupoo pronunciation.
I honestly cannot tell when you are being sarcastic or real. Is your anger and vitriol real in this case and directed at me personally? May I ask please for you to clarify.
Meanwhile if I have offended you or anyone else in any way shape or form I sincerely apologise. That was not my intention. I was, as always, trying just to have a mutual laugh with you, and all, in the context of another clever and funny article by you and Macca.
My part comment was only to perhaps shed a little light on where Joe Turpel was coming from in his pronunciation of Teahupoo. I imagine that the WSL commentator school is chock full of rules on how to be precise with all things spoken.
I was not at all irked by your article, nor was I trying to appal, indict or irk you so.
I certainly was not trying to score points in anyway, smarmy or otherwise. It never occurred to me that there even was a competition.
You are the much experienced writer of clever and funny stuff. I'm just a nobody, only one of many frequent, anonymous visitors to Swellnet for surf reports and the occasional interesting and or amusing articles.
If you are telling me personally to "go get f-----", then no worries, I will happily disappear from all Swellnet visits/contact. This will probably make many happy, including me, if that's your want.
Meanwhile, I'll pray for you anyway.
God Bless you, with brotherly love, peace and thanks for your time.

dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman's picture
dave-mailman Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 10:53pm

Servant, mate! Gra's not pissed off at you at all. I think you mistook his answer to me as an answer to you. And he did say his reaction to all the proper Polynesian pronunciation stuff is completely irrational. I think you'd have to get a lot more persnickety than that to get Gra's goat to the point he'd get truly upset with you. Keep coming back! Rest assured, all is well!

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 11:36pm

Thanks Dave. Perhaps some lines did get crossed in the thread above??
Let's see what Gra has to say.
Anyway, thanks Brother, all is always well with me because Love (=JESUS, 1 John 4:8) is my foundation no matter what or who. I got rid of my goat (self) a long time ago. Skyhooks got it wrong.
Persnickety....great word, but how do I pronounce it correctly?! Haha

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 10:59am

Ah gee sorry mate. Nah no vitriol whatsoever directed at you fella! Mind you, if we were mates (which I'm sure we would be if we ever met), out in the water, and you said something like (for example) “There's a big swell heading to Hawai-ai-ee" I'd defs tell ya to eff off! I'm just calling out the commentary mate, like, if Joe T's gonna be such a stickler for pronunciation, he'll probs need to roll his 'R's when calling Leo Fiovaranti's name in heats... and I'd express outrage of he pronounced my Scottish name 'Murdock' instead of 'Murrrdooowwccccch I dunno, there's 'correctness' of course, and it's admirable and worthy, but sometimes colloquial usage is more appropriate? But shite, you're the nicest fella on the force here, Servant, so please accept my apologies bruvva!

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 2:12pm

No worries my friend. Thanks for clearing that up for me Gra. Sorry for my misunderstanding and the ensuing kaffuffle to you, Dave and any others.
I agree entirely about trying to be too correct and coming across as pretentious/pompous. In France they just laugh at you when you try to bung on an accent. Anyway, I still say chopoo and a-why-i (but pronounced with aussie slurred just one syllable - haha) at all times, despite location. Luv bein straylian.
Looking forward to your next article. God Bless you broo ( as the big fella Jordy would say)

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 10:45pm

Thanks Dave, God Bless you too

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 3:26am

P.S. Macca, both Ethan and Leo are natural/regular footers - perhaps switch stance was part of their routines?
Clever and hilarious cartoons, thank you.
You're in great company drawing cartoon surfers as Goofy foots. See Disney 1937 "Hawaiian Holiday" cartoon which is generally regarded as the origin of the Goofy foot term, when Goofy is animated surfing with his right foot forward.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 9:35am

I thought Jack Robbo's mid-wave salute was a step in the right direction, Gra, but may have been better to wait til the downtime section to get maximum reward from the judges.

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 9:39am

Thought the same as you, zen. Maybe Courtney had recommended the bookkeeper to Tyler?

D-Rex's picture
D-Rex's picture
D-Rex Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 11:15am

Or Courtney told Tyler mid-heat:
a. your bikini bottom is too small,
b. I think a Connor Coffin hairstyle would suit you,
c. you have an awkward style,
d. don't all lives matter?

rj-davey's picture
rj-davey's picture
rj-davey Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 12:01pm

"lepricoach"
I lol'd there

amb's picture
amb's picture
amb Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 2:11pm

#shortblokeslivesmatter

Blowin's picture
Blowin's picture
Blowin Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 12:14pm

Apologies for not registering my usual delight with Ding Alley in my previous comment.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 12:22pm

Yeah it's easy to take it for granted now that the quality bar is so consistently high. Top work Gra.

Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch's picture
Gra Murdoch Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 1:15pm

It must be said. Blowin, Jono, you guys are absolute BASTARDS.

Sea Dub's picture
Sea Dub's picture
Sea Dub Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 2:03pm

Best round-up I've read in four years, maybe five.

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter Wednesday, 7 Apr 2021 at 11:45pm

I'm reminded of another Polynesian expression .. " Wedu Nagivafaka "

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 2:34pm

And yet here's your post, which is as kind as pancreas and bone cancer.
Thank you tubeshooter. God Bless you too.
Glad to have crossed your path. Praying for you. Matthew 5:44 (NKJV)

tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter's picture
tubeshooter Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 3:14pm
batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 4:53pm

TS, I think there's an apostrophe before the last 'a'.

servant's picture
servant's picture
servant Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 3:20pm

spot on ts.
Getting back on track...hope you get some great waves today

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 4:56pm

"Joe T’s got a new way of saying “Teahupo’o”. "

Sure I counted 5 syllables DA. I don't mind so much though. Cho Poo just seems way too lazy for me.

Reminds me of Lucy Zelic copping a lot of grief for pronouncing soccer players names as per their language during the last world cup coverage on SBS.

But yeah, when an ocker says it a little too formally, it does sound like he's taking the raw prawn.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 5:03pm

Good wrap up Gra. I ended up watching the men's replays and your commentary summed up most of my feelings. Julian seems to have taken a few angry pills, which might be good for his world title prospects, if they are going to call this year's collection of comps a world title.

Animus between he and Jack Robbo played out today, with Julian sort of confecting an interference when Robbo went for a wave Julian looked like he was passing up. Watch this match up in future, could be some gold out in the water when they meet again.

Also liked Leo F, can't imagine how an Italian gets a power game, but he seems to possess one. All those big Mediterranean swells, I suppose. I can't have a bad word for Adriano, he has a power game on steroids, and always looks angry. Wish him well on his final go-around.

As for the interregnum between outside and inside waves, I'd like to see all competitors given a packet of sparklers and a lighter that doesn't quite work. As any father knows, those damned things seem to need a flame thrower to get started.

zenagain's picture
zenagain's picture
zenagain Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 5:06pm

What is this animosity between Julian and Jack that is spoken of?

PS- I reckon give them a small axe, a log and see who can whip up the best Swedish Candle.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 5:21pm

May not be any Zen, but whenever there is anything less than glowing tributes for a fellow competitor it can be confected (used that word twice now today) as a mutual dislike. See Conlogue and Wright.

It may just speak to the smallness of the human spirit, but animosity seems to lead to renewed interest. God knows, I’d be the first to turn off if it was all ‘Kumbaya’.

batfink's picture
batfink's picture
batfink Thursday, 8 Apr 2021 at 5:22pm

Andy Irons and Kelly Slater was a great example. Really had a feel that there was a level of hatred for a while there. Didn’t hurt their surfing either.