G'Land Pro 2022: Day 1
High expectation is a terrible burden.
This year, the Championship Tour has mostly rejoiced in the opposite phenomena: forecasts that looked like dog turds a week out have transformed into some of the best days of competition the sport has ever seen. Pipe looked like not much at all, and yet there we were watching Kelly airdrop out of ten foot backless beasts to win as a 50-year old.
No comp in history has ever been more keenly anticipated than the the return of G'Land after 25 years off the circuit, a period of time where the Mentawai Islands came to prominence and G'Land became a forgotten bastion for a dedicated crew of afficionados.
Those days have ended now.
And the sky high expectations for G'Land in the first comp in the post-cut era were...not met. And with a few days of competition to go, may not be met if the weird forecast holds true.
It wasn't bad, just underwhelming.
The final heat of the day was a fair summation of the day. We were all pumped to see the return of Gabe Medina and Gabe was in cruise control. He pumped down the line on a few waves, seemingly setting up for a huge rotation air, decided against it and tapped the closeout for a 3, which was almost among his scoring rides, only bested for that honour by a 3.63 on the buzzer. Another wave Gabe could have ridden in his sleep. His best ride was sublime but half-finished. A tube ride then barrel dodge into full grab-rail carve before a couple of finishing turns. The ocean had turned sleepy and the cloudbank and pink sky gave a wet-season-in-the-horse-latitudes vibe. Definitely not the dry season trades and strong swells type of day typical for the cusp of June.
If Gabe's opening gambit is a true reflection of his mood and intentions he may want to cruise out the rest of the year.
There were good waves, and some good heats. Italo's heat coincided with the most energy of the day and he lit up with typical unrestrained gusto. His 15 point heat total stood out. Most struggled to get two keepers in a lineup that frequently went to sleep for long periods of time and a size that raced away or quickly shutdown.
Perfect waves seemed to be breaking unridden all day up the reef- even just up at the Fan Palms section which is the top section of Moneytrees just down from the keyhole at the end of Kongs. Surfers feinted to paddle up there, including Kelly Slater, but he didn't get more than halfway before he turned around again and paddled back to his fellow competitors. It was the kind of brazen mind game Kelly in his prime would have pulled off without hesitation.
Four seventeeth placings and a ninth. Without the Pipe win Kelly would have been cut, relying on wildcards to keep surfing. His surfing looked smooth, but the scoreline was not competitive. An 8.34 heat total at OH G'Land for a 4.67 and a 3.67. Underscored, unloved by judges? Maybe a tad. The fact is Kelly is finding it harder and harder to get a score over 5 outside the heavy water lefts. He'll be cannon fodder for the rest of the year, for the rest of this event, if he can't find something bigger to throw at judges who seem to be finding his surfing weak and tinny. Experience may get him through his elimination heat against Sammy Pupo, a rookie who has never been here and looked like it.
Experience at G-Land wasn't a huge factor but recent Indo time was. Colapinto and Ewing got the two highest waves of the day, with that relaxed approach punctuated by huge turns. I hate to draw the overused comparison, but the classic Andy Irons approach. Both surfers got to Indo early and have been roaming the archipelago enjoying a wave feast. That showed. For both of them.
Florence put our hearts in our throats. Not with his surfing, which was sublime but again in cruise control, but by vision of him before his heat in an industrial strength knee brace.
Not the dicky knee! Yes, he explained in the presser, the dicky knee was back. This time a “tweaked MCL” that put him on an “emotional roller-coaster”. The MCL is the ligament down the inside of the knee. It's the least serious knee injury, and it's on his front leg, where it receives less stress than the MCL on the back leg. Still, despite claiming no pain after considering withdrawing from the event, this injury will hamper JJF, if not for this event, for the rest of the year.
That seems cruel and unusual punishment for JJF to be injured just as Gabe has come back. It's the rivalry that seems destined by fate to not get the play we all desire.
Learning on the job was the order of the day, women included. It's staggering to me that surfers are showing to an event at G'Land that has been booked since 2019 without a pre-visit stay to get to know the reef. Girls who clearly still need some time getting the gist of backside tube-riding.
Carissa got a sweet backdoor keg, which elevated her heat total and erased a lot of the visuals of hopping and pumping in between moves on other waves. Steph looked smooth enough in the first heat of he day held when onshore winds made sectiony lefts look even harder to ride.
The reality of the chopped down field became apparent after that opening heat. Steph, with a couple of very average 5 points rides, is now straight into the Quarter Finals. That doesn't seem like enough good surfing to make the Finals.
Maybe they need a rethink of the format.
For mine, the wavepool leaderboard format is the obvious way forwards. Surfers have to reach a standard measured against the entire field to move on, not just have a lucky/mediocre heat to progress.
Only two goofys in the Women's draw, Tatiana Weston-Webb and Bronte McCauley and they both looked good. It doesn't appear we will see the women really tested at G'Land so learning on the job will be good enough, even if it makes for uninspiring viewing.
The surfer who looked the most in tune with G'Land as an Indonesian reefbreak and not some beachie was Gabriela Bryan. Her turns were crisp, she surfed top to bottom with no bobbles and hops and pumps.
With such a condensed field, they don't need much swell to finish. That part of the plan is solid. It would be a dreadful black irony if it came back to bite them on the arse at the most consistent surf spot on the planet.
Surely not, you can't get skunked at G'Land in the first week of June.
// STEVE SHEARER
Shakespeare shearer beautiful again.. thanks
I’m feeling that Jon’s knee has the potential to end his competitive career?
I with you. I don’t think we’ll be seeing him in a jersey for much longer. Sighhhh
It's been 4 years now,or is it 5,since his first knee injury,
Every year he has a new knee issue.
Can't see him persevering for much longer if this latest flare up makes him have to miss events and ruin his season again.
Maybe he'll retire and just do Pipe and Chopes events going forward.
Events where it's all just paddle in and pull in with little to no major stress on the knees with turns and airs.
His mates are now calling him Jonknee.
The leader board idea would need to account for dud heats wave wise. Maybe a morning and afternoon 1hr heat with 6 in each heat or something. Wouldn't be hard to come up with something like that with small fields like the women's?
As you stated im still in shock and heavily disappointed that this event
in the most consistent wave in the world in winter anyway has been
skunked in the swell department massive shame.
The women were simply very very ordinary.
Great write up...again..Kelly's heat needs to be taken in context.....3 actual waves in 35 minutes. Robbo was slightly overscored I reckon and Kelly as you stated seems to always slightly underscored ...the judges seem to not like the very unusual lines he draws, however technically difficult they are, I personally really like watching him for that reason....
DB > totally agree - KS was innovating against JR - less young man energy obviously - but he was ripping to me > RR
the whole day screwed with my mind - some great waves and great surfing coming thru but so many lulls that it was hard to keep amped about the whole thing……standout for me was ee’s first wave straight after the completion of the women…it was next level in that context.
great write up steve- spot on as usual, thx
Only watch the highlights now .. can not sit and watch surfers sitting in ocean for 29 mins of a 30-35 min heat anymore does my head in
The forecast and conditions are disappointing because we all know what it could be like if it was 6ft to 8ft, but that's just the roll of the dice even in June.
It was slow going at times which is often typical of Indo and long period swells but when they came through the waves were still pretty good, i watched about five heats and enjoyed it more than most comps, i hope it stays a regularly event the potential is huge, the mix of barrels and turns is perfect, and id rather the focus be on Gland again rather than Sumatra :P
Kelly was also very unlucky the call on non completion of his barrel was probably technically correct, but it was very borderline and would have been double the score if it counted the first two turns were perfect and the stall was stylish
Lack of airs was also refreshing.
Great stuff FR.
Italo looked the most switched on in the lineup for mine.
And as for the women, shame the swell is so small because i've got no doubt Bronte would be putting on a show equal to some of the top male tube riders if she got the chance.
I thought it looked so fun in the arvo would have loved to have been out there
Loving the view from the drone so you can see the sections of the reef
Never considered the leaderboard format but I would certainly add another layer I think, for the better. A couple of heats in a round and then a cut. Then the man on man formats return because only the cream would be left.
Should write a book FR. I’d read it
Let's see if JJF's knee problem will allow him finish this event, let alone the rest of the year -
Luxury surfing !
If it was kelly wearing the knee brace, we'd all be saying he is playing with everyones minds. Would JJF do that???????
Probs not. He's playing with his own mind.
I instantly thought the same ...
JJF probably pushes the aerial limit harder than most. Apart from maybe Italo who's probably a foot shorter and more compact in build. Gabby also but seems bigger boned?? Maybe JJF has reached the limits of what the human body can endure in the air. There's other aerial specialists out there but none that i've seen over time pushing the limits like JJF who incidentally is vying for world titles. There's gotta be a breaking point. Such a shame.
Seems a pattern has emerged with JJF's knee problems since the initial one from the air attempt at keramas in 2018.
Always around mid season,during or just after the Margs event mostly.
Maybe those big full torque turns he does at Margs numerous times through all his heats put stresses on his knees that if don't become apparent immediately,often do not too long after.
He's had the best forehand hack in the game for quite a few years now,but it's costing him quite dearly it looks.
Seems like Gabby and Italo really train for strength in the lower body and that might be a key.
JJF long and lanky and not strong enough maybe?
Could be FR. I still think his eyes are bigger than his stomach so to speak when it comes to airs. But i honestly think he's at the apex of what's achievable in the air. Watch his off season Hawaiian edits and he's punting 6 foot airs continually at 4-6 foot backdoor and other heavy hitting hawaiian reefs.. Is anyone else in the world throwing themselves over and over and over onto such powerful ramps with such high consequences. The brazillians are mostly punting in less dramatic beachies.
re,john and Injuries.
I think it may be because he has been surfing at such a high level for so long. He has a long complicated list of injuries. More than any other surfer on tour(maybe kelly has had more ?) He has hardly been able to put a proper season together.
It used to happen in skateboarding quite frequent where a top pro would just fade into obscurity. i .e( franky hill),
The athlete would be the most innovative then the knee would go out.
Then ghost town for said pro.
I think what differs between John and the other surfers on tour is john is the most dominant surfer from 4 foot to 40 foot and his season is longer than pretty much any other. When the others used to bail out of pipe in December and relax, john's season would just start kicking off!
There really in reality is not much john has left to do in surfing other than go on a search/discovery phase on his boat.
it's hard to imagine john as a washed up pro. Even as an elder statesman of the sport. Just cause he was always the grom .......
Ive spent some years in hawaii and have watched and surfed with john .
in that time one thing i have noticed is that john doesn't really have cruise mode. He is all in.
Im not surprised he injured his knee again as he constantly pushes it more than any other surfer.
In Johns case the body went before the mind.
re Gabby Italo vs JJF
He's been doing the strongest forehand turns on tour,and freesurfing,for a number of years now.
If he wasn't strong enough,he wouldn't be doing the best turns in the business over and over again.
I think his first knee injury from the air attempt at keramas in 2018 put his whole body slightly out of wack and he hasn't recovered to 100% fitness in his lower body ever since.
With the turns he does,even 99.5% fitness won't hold out indefinitely and within a few month or so since seemingly recovering from his last knee injury,he has problems again.
They always seem to aggravate during or not long after the margs event.
Something about those thick powerful but mostly fullish walls and him going hard on them and sinking the rail into the faces,is stressing his knee ligaments which then soon after let him know about it,is the root cause in my mind.
its nothing to do with meat on the bones and strength training, the gnarliest skaters who jump down 20 stairs and boost massive gaps to flat are all skinny lean rubber men. its more technique than anything, some people just superior with genetics and can take a slam and a pounding without wrecking ligaments and bones
I'm not sure i agree with that. Skaters have an unmoving transition. Surfers don't. JJF is doing the hugest airs that the sport has ever seen into moving and in some ways, unchartered transitions. It's completely different to skating a predictable environment. Agreed, the forces are the same, but the territory John John is venturing into is the complete unknown.
Carving takes different kind of strength to kickflips
2 johns pretty tall for a guy trying to mix it with stocky guys like Italian Ferrari and Gabe in the air
Does pro surfing even have a doping regime…?
No mention of Nat Young getting absolutely shafted ?
this is supposed to be proper serious gland waves and we are supposed to be seeing kelly disapearing in heavy barrells and doing magic things ! after all the hype i just can not stomach one air! if this is done in small close out airs i will cry my self to sleep
Did JMD get him..
Who’s saying JJF’s injury is anything to do with airs?
MCL stains are among the most common injury in surfing, easy to do one a turn gone wrong or getting compressed in a barrel.
It wouldn’t be too bad or he wouldn’t be surfing
Seems like he's headed for injuring all ligaments in both knees at this rate.
Just based on his history @solitude. But yep great question and you're probably right. Statistically speaking, his knee to injury ratio ain't great. Could it actually be the knee getting tugged around in heavy water wipeouts? I know the last one he did was at Margs on the end section but no one talked about it.
btw did my MCL last year going to do a very standard backhand reo on a 2ft punchy shallow beachy....backfoot slipped off board, front foot stayed connected....front knee nowhere to go as board and lip connected..knee went pop....8weeks.
Yeah I’d say storm in a tea cup. He’s human. He pushes it harder than most. Again if it was decent he wouldn’t / couldn’t be surfing.
Or if he keeps surfing it worsens to the point he has to stop again.
With his now extensive knee injury history,far and away the most of any world champ,it'd be concerning.
Especially if he was considering pulling out of the event.
What happened to Nat Young?
Nothing I thought he got wave of the day , judges didn’t, he has to go through another heat he shouldn’t have had too in my opinion.
Nat got spit roasted by the judging panel. He got caught in the crush zone between the WSL’s preferred outcome for competition storyline* and the reality of getting the best waves in his heat and he paid the price. Nat got easily the wave of the day, a bigger foamball tube ride. The commentators groaned with delight and Strider said “ That’s what you come for right there”. Nat did a couple of decent cutback / top turns and rode it to the end. The judges gave it a 6 or something laughably underscored.
*Local Indonesian wildcard wins historic surfing event!
Rio Waida rips regardless but WSL has vested interest in the only Indo surfer getting through a few heats so the WSL can claim to be championing Indonesian national pride. This will pay dividends with bureaucrats and politicians when WSL seeks to expand their footprint in Indo.
I too thought that was an obvious pisstake. A 6 something?
It was a 7.33.
I went and rewatched a few times.
Was under-scored by a half point and he should have won the heat.
On a day that the judges self professed to be rewarding tubes, tubes and tubes in that order, we saw Colapinto get a 9.5 for turns and NatYoung get corn holed on the only G Land tube worthy of the name all day.
Fix is in.
Half point. There's easily that kind of margin of error owing to the subjectivity of the whole thing. Hardly 'ripped off'. Granted it was a good wave.
I reckon 7.3 was the right score - tube was good, but then a pretty lazy carve after it, and a couple more standard turns. There's the chance for way longer and better tubes at g-land so judges couldn't go too high for a short-ish one, even though it was pretty deep and well ridden.
There wasn't much of a chance for way longer and better tubes on that day at the moneytrees section imo. It wasn't 6ft speedies
Yeah I do see where you're coming from. But it's Indo and it's lully/pulsey - bit of a chance that some rogue set from 2000km away (better than Nat's) is going to arrive and one of the CT will stuff themselves in it for a ridiculous amount of time.
Yep Nat's wave and barrel were totally underscored. Only heat I watched, fully gone behind the foamball and made it through. A set wave and then turns to follow. Ripped.
I've watched it a few times, paused it at 20:13. Griffin's first wave was a ruler edged thing of great beauty. 34 second ride, 9 major hits of varying angle from full vert to roundhouse, timed and placed perfectly in a pretty seamless flow with buckets out the back.
Down time? Barely, he maybe could've risked pulling in but he'd already hit the lip, he liked it, he's looking for more. Charging perfection, so good.
I don't know where the judges deducted points? It was a decent set and probs one of the bigger waves this event. Wiggle room.
Not taking away from Eto on fire (and Italo) but I'd go as far as to ask,
is that the best workable left ever surfed backhand in competition?
Maybe here previously or Ulus or Mundaka some natural gun landed 10 sick backside hits in a row?
Anyone watched this? (Or others like it)
Now I quite like Laura but I look at the content and the kind of behind the scenes stuff her, Dimity Stoyle, Strider, Joe, Kaipo & co get paid to do and to me doesn’t make sense. They aren’t really needed for the tour but the WSL basically pays them to be on year long surf trips.
Guys like Matthew McGillivray sleeping in his car whilst being in the top eschalon of pro surfing but all these hanger onerers get business class tickets to drink piss and look pretty.
I stupidly clicked on it and haven't stopped puking since @solitude.
Not sure who their target market is for it but it sure ain't me. Would love some interviews about the surf, surfing, waves....etc.
Yeah it’s strange. You should see the others it’s basically Laura Enever flying into last day of Portugal and then going shopping. Laura and the other commentators whinging about ‘a big day of work’. Laura and her havianas and her surfing with Steph after events. Completely pointless.
I was gonna,
feel guilty 'cause
maybe may stilla.
Feel righteous to a,
Pay or free.
Should really click on ut.
... I suppose.
Roughly filmed but on point for what the Woz would see as a promising demographic: the dabbling lifestylist.
Contrast this against Quik Pro '97, for instance, which upholds the core appeal of G'Land (and by association Quiksilver the Woz), but content like this broadens the scope.
Totally agree with Steph's rapid ascent into the quarters after a sleepy opening heat, this format makes a mockery out of the competition and further elevates the women's event to some sort of sideshow novelty status.
Medina warming up at Desert Point
https://balibelly.com/pages/uluwatu just looking at the Ulu's cam and it's 1 foot and onshore, wondering if they'll be even able to finish G Land comp at all within the next 5 day's? The 8th,9th and 10th look really good.... any chance that the comp window will be extended?
I totally miss mid tide desert point, riding there day before, slinging 40rb for sleeping in chicken farmer's bed....
Seems like another comp in the world with worst waves
they should finish on the 6th, time for the circus to stop pretending the own the joint. They have monoplised it for long enough.
seems they passed up the opportunity to run where there was surf, hoping it would improve when the forecast said otherwise.
Cant believe they got skunked on the most consistent winter wave on the planet.
I'm guessing Elo scheduled the event around MAFS or whatever other "narratives" would have been likely to divert his target audience
Overhyped and underwhelming. Skunked! Maybe August would have been a better option
Stu was it you who posted the clip of the big swell at g'land just before the contest recently? What thread was it on?
I skimmed past it today at work and was planning on watching it tonight but cant find it....
Here you go, GF:
Day 2 report:
Couple of reos completed in 3 foot onshore close outs.
To previous points re: Steph getting to quarters with a couple of average scores….. The reduced women’s field will get quite repetitive with regards to match ups. I’m all for cutting down time for comps but this side effect will be interesting to see played out.
FWIW - I think the whole women’s tour needs more surfers. To only have 5 graduate from the CS and giving wildcards to people who drop off makes it nay on impossible for young up and comers to make it to the top
* post show was hilarious, Joe trying to fill half an hour dissecting 3 very average heats and talking about how ‘amazing’ it was to see pros go straight on alt equipment. My highlight was those ‘plastic catchers’ they place in the river over there - only to have several shots of the crew pulling plastic covering off stickers to stick on the ‘catchers’ for their sponsors!
By the record Carissa Moore is a 5 Time World Champ, as well as Olympic Gold Medallist.
She got a savage downgrade for the expression session yesterday.
Looks like they lost 3 of those titles in the jungle somewhere.