G'Land Pro 2022: Day 2
There's nothing remarkable about getting skunked - it can happen anywhere to anyone - but there seems something different about it when it happens at dry season G'Land. Considering the hype and the anticipation from all quarters of the surfing fraternity, to turn on the webcast and see onshore dribblers feels shocking.
As many others have noted it's hard to escape the cosmic significance of this particular skunking.
G'Land, the wave at Plengkung Bay fringing Alas Purwo National Park, has a deep spiritual significance for Javanese mystics. In their mythology, Alas Purwo is the place where the Earth first emerged from the ocean. Events which could threaten the sacred power of G'Land are considered to be subject to the laws of divine intervention. A belief is widely held by supplicants who make pilgrimages to the park that the area is spiritually protected.
To think there is a corner of the surfing universe protected by spirits against Harvey Norman carpet bombing is deeply comforting, even if it the jungle itself seems to be sending pros half crazy with boredom.
It was a day of many weird heats as a somnolent Indian Ocean struggled to send surfable sets. Not least the last heat of the day. In silky head high Moneytrees, Connor O'Leary bested 2019 World Champ Italo Ferreira. You'd think: High scoring heat with insane rides, yet neither of them could reach double figures.
Italo launched a huge full rotation air to the flats in the opening minutes - one of those WTF! airs he specialises in. He fell and then sat there like chastised toddler in the naughty corner for ten minutes, allowing his opponent free reign of the reef. Italo then launched, fell, changed boards, changed boards again, and looked thoroughly out of sorts. Almost as if some practitioner of Javanese black magic had laid a curse on him. Connor wasn't much better, falling on a wave that only required a simple finish to slam the heat shut.
G'Land has revealed a strange sense of post-cut torpor on tour. Everyone is safe until next May so the stakes are now substantially lowered. Absent the energy of pumping surf, no-one seems revved up to shoot for the Final Five. Maybe Trestles just feels too far away in time, untethered from the day to day dreaminess that life in the G'Land jungle camps engender. After a full day of running through the field, there is no clear frontrunner. Everyone seems content to cruise with the pack.
The closest to a standout today was Griffin Colapinto. In one of the tightest heats of the day (one of the very few), Griff exchanged scores and the lead with Miggy Pupo. Miggy's hit and drift at speed was sublime but Griff found a way to square up and push turns through the full arc. Running and gunning at head high Moneytrees was not a way to bag big scores according to judges. They paid beachbreak surfing more than classical reef lines.
Beachbreak surfing and scoring at G'Land. It was a bad joke a week ago. Our worst nightmares in that respect came luridly to life in the first heat of the Round of 16 between JJF and Jaddy. John was surfing silky with reef lines punctuated by huge gaffs and spray explosions. Jaddy turned the heat with two single air rides. Yes. Pump, pump, air reverse. God bless Jaddy, but that was an abomination.
While long lulls and nervous surfing tested the repertoire of commentators, cruel comparisons were in our face all day. Images of 8-10ft Speedies taunted us while a turn and closeout hit was enough to get through heats. No-one suffered more from the comparison than Kelly Slater. Images of his '96 win at 23-years of age, already a double World Champ, leveraging a 90's blade constantly beyond vertical into pockets running at full speed down the reef gave his heat performance today a poignant edge. Two low 4's scored for a few mis-timed and wobbly lip hits and an old man roundhouse showed the cost of continuing on after the Pipeline triumph. Father Time is undefeated and we now say (with sadness) Kelly surfs unreal...for a 50-year old. He can't hang with the pack outside heavy water lefts.
Even Medina looked odd against Andino. For a time. With five minutes to go he got a bomb set and unleashed the repertoire down the full length of the reef. All the old hunting instincts kicked in: a cheetah on the savannah with the weakest gazelle in the flock poised beneath the swooping claw, the sharpened canine. That was the best wave of the day for mine, a miserly 7.17, still not judged better than Kanoa Igarashi's 7.67 for a turn and closeout hit on a twenty yard ride earlier in the day. Madness.
Pro surfing in Indonesia would seem like the biggest no-brainer on Earth. It's got the world's best waves. Tropical conditions that make temperate European, American, and Australian audiences salivate with desire. Yet it has not been able to sustain a single CT despite an on again/off again relationship with many memorable high points.
Head of the Asian Surfing Co-operative and chief protagonist for the pro surfing project in Indonesia, Tipi Jabrik, alluded to the low level corruption and culture of kickbacks in a 2018 interview with ASB as a stumbling block. Interviewed today on the webcast he referred to his hard lobbying of the Indonesian government to support pro surfing as a way of increasing tourism - the highly successful Australian business model.
So lack of government support, low level corruption, and palm greasing are obstructions. Also, one more important factor: a home grown hero.
Enter Rio Waida in his heat against Filipe Toledo. Perhaps with an inkling of what is potentially at stake: only the entire Indonesian pro surfing project. Not saying that explicitly factored into the scoring. Just that there was a very strong “narrative drive” for Rio to succeed in the jungles of G'Land as an Indonesian champion.
In the first half of the heat, Rio had not much. Filipe caught a lot of waves and was surfing with an insane amount of speed and verve. A full speed snap to fins-free foam climb that looked a clear 6 was given a 5.33.
Low scoring kept Rio in the game - it did not seem justified. In the end the professionalism of Toledo was too great. He iced a wave for a 5.90, also lowballed, and Rio was knocked.
Will they come back to G'Land after this epic skunking? Indonesian pro surfing history would suggest not. Even epic successes like Keramas have not been followed up.
Minus support from the government we will see how committed to the project Quiksilver and the Woz are, or whether the spiritual protectors of G'Land will intervene to keep them out.
Seeya for Finals Day.
// STEVE SHEARER
Great write up Stu! (mebs lose the Steve shearer signoff).
… ‘god bless Jaddy, but that was an abomination’…. Amen… what a weird old day of judging.
I so wanted this contest to be a success, but up till now it's been a bit of a soggy kitten. I hope they come back next year.
I feel the same way, the comp has been a downer so far. The irony tho is for about an hour late on the first day there were waves I’d sell my grandmother for - not big but groomed and perfect
Great write up. I'm struggling to engage with this event - crap judging and mostly sub par waves. I'm not sure about your call on Kelly not being able to "hang with the pack outside heavy water lefts. How do you come to that conclusion based on 2-3' G-Land? Personally I thought he was robbed on his second wave, and will still be in the mix at Chopes if there's swell. As for Jaddy, WTAF? I know I know, he's a top fella bla bla bla, but pump pump flick claim win? Ridiculous
Precisly because instead of "heavy water lefts" it was 2-3' G-Land. Thats hes point, and he got it right.
Haha, that literally make no sense. You're judging his ability in heavy lefts (he won Pipe this year, remember?) based on this shite? Cool story bro
I think you’re missing Stu’s point surfalot67. It’s gone straight over your head.
Like you said he’ll be in the mix at Chopes if there’s swell because it’s a ummm “heavy water left”
Righto GF - do enlighten us. Pretty clear sledge to me but I’ll wait for your explanation
I can’t be bothered to be honest.
If it's 8'-10' Pipe, Chopes, Cloudbreak, G-Land, etc, Kelly is hard to beat.
When it is small, like now, 2'-4', Kelly is struggling to standout, hence the statement “He can't hang with the pack”
Please tell me you understand that?
The comment was ambiguous at best, sloppy writing if he meant he can’t hang with the pack EXCEPT at heavy water lefts….what part of that do you need help with? Fuck me you lot just lick up every word on SN without question sometimes
"He can't hang with the pack OUTSIDE heavy water lefts".
Like GF, I give up.
Hahah, I’m a bit too hungover for this conversation
you can’t fix stupid…
Nice work of completely editing (deleting) your original reply......."He can't hang with the pack AT HEAVY WATER LEFTS".
Anyway, enjoy your day :)
You too champ, just keep telling “Steve” what a great comment it was :)
Wait - it was Steve not Stu. Fuck this I’m going for a paddle haha
Yeah, it was my sloppy writing.
I meant outside the heavy water lefts (primarily) Kelly is not competitive anymore.
Can't wait to see if he's still got it at Teahupoo.
Has G land been a heavy water left during this event?
Despite the fact it can be often,it hasn't been this time,and Kelly,along with all the others,has been surfing 2 to 3 foot soft water lefts for the last week.
You must be watching the rerun footage of him there back in the 90's and think it's him now.
How good is his waterproof stickon wig hey lol.
Yes, that was the point I was making.
It has been a small, soft left and he is not competitive.
Kelly also gets 10s at backdoor.
The mid-season cut is a fail on so many levels.
The smaller field is great. Everything else about it seems almost non-sensical.
Rookies getting 5 comps drawn against the top seeds to stay on tour?
Qualifying for next years CT based on the mid-season cut? WTF? Kelly is the classic example. He's qualified for the 2023 tour based on one event win in Jan/Feb and nothing since.
Throwing in another dozen surfers and repeating the same shit again next year?
No incentive for half the draw to perform other than a bit of prizemoney for half the season.
And then there's Trestles, gifting a win to Gabs, Filipe or Italo regardless of what happens at Pipe or Chopes...
Keep it at 24. 8 off/8 in based on the CS at the end of the year. No finals. Sorted
A few mistimed wobbly lip hits and an old man roundhouse, Kelly surfs unreal for a 50 year old. Medina the cheetah on the savannah. This is gold medal journalism, classic stuff Steve.
There’s a theory that G.land will let you know very quickly what level your surfing is at, and I think this may be true for WSL also,,,,,WeaSeL has upset a lot of folk going back to G.land and they get what they deserve.......
Nice, Steve. You had me at 'somnolent', one of my favourite words since my Year 9 English teacher used it in my report card. I love the thought of omnipotent protectors holding sway. It was mindless background viewing yesterday for a sickie but I was wishing for a an old VHS to watch the '97 edition directed by TC and the earlier one (Metaphysical? Alby Falzon?) which were always on high rotation. As you mentioned, there were some taunting snippets of back in the day. Thanks
"To think there is a corner of the surfing universe protected by spirits against Harvey Norman carpet bombing is deeply comforting"
I'd pray to that god
Amen brother! :)
yep, good write up, particularly like the javanese mystic angle, indo has an amazing culture and history, that nearly all surfing visitors are totally ignorant of (myself included) ...or that is engaged with in a very superficial, egocentric, 'yeh I'm down with the nature / yoga / i took mushies in the forest vibe...'
this would have to go down as the bigest green washed WSL event ever of all time - with gratuitious photo ops of pretty competititors planting a single tree for 'a better future' ...in a forest that plants itself, if left to do so...
good on them for cleaning up the river, but seriously, the carbon footprint of transporting all that infrastruture and self indulgant hangers on into the jungle would be most interesting to know...
then there's the road!
and medina and co., flying to bali and back in a helicopter for dinner... because the pimped up paradise is boring...
javanese mysticism? ...or just plain old mother nature having her say?
seems the modern pro surfing circus and all its indulgances just don't fit...
Awesome Skypan. WSL greenwashing is next level
Skypan reminds me of Apocalypse Now a bit:
"and medina and co., flying to bali and back in a helicopter for dinner... because the pimped up paradise is boring".
I know your fifty and stuff, and it ain't the nineties...
but you look like a tool in your buttoned up shirt in the jungle
He probably has scoped out the area for another resort!
Love it, toying with the soft underbelly of the Woz.
Highlight of the event so far is Kenoa on a twinny but all I wanted is to watch them surf some long lefts for once in my lifetime.
What have the gods got in store? A decent finals day and all will be forgiven
It was quick though. Flippy looked the antithetical pilot of his regular self on that single fin - and did it well.
If that was an old man roundhouse,
I better give it away!
Was perfect in my eyes.
But each to their own.
Highlight oh yes, the senior forecaster rising to full height, squares up and faces off all rivals, stamping his authority on all swells, all oceans then graciously accepts the ultimate peace offering kiwi style. $6.66 well spent
Nicely written account, Freeride.
Agree It must’ve broken some hearts amongst the executives when Waida failed to accomodate their friendly push for his success. So much potential goes begging….too much to leave purely to the whims of chance.
Disagree that there’s no clear front runner. Medina is clearly on another level but he’s mostly been denied opportunity to open up. Griffin’s wave was CT level surfing on a benign wave not available to most others. I can’t see Medina losing at all.
Also got to pull you up on Slater. Sure he had a bad day but when were soft 2-3 ft lefts his forte? I challenge you to name one iconic moment from Slater’s entire career in mediocre head high lefts. I think that may be his true weakness , maybe more so in deep water rights. Can his entire position on tour be surmised by his weakest facet? Maybe . Though personally I think it’s a hard no. Don’t for a second think Kelly wouldn’t be competitive at 4-6ft Keramas, 8ft Soupbowls or even 4-5 ft El Salvador. He might not be the best at somewhere like the latter but he definitely would be capable enough to justify his spot on tour.
You honestly think Slater isn’t competitive at spots like Honolua, maxing Kirra and proper mid range G Land?
I realise that most of these spots aren’t on your but if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from watching Jadson Andre temporarily reinforce the idea that he’s a worthy CT stalwart in rippable down the line reef break lefts , it’s that the appointment of tour spots which suit his surfing, instead of constantly denying him opportunity to play to his strengths , has regifted new vitality to his career.
In short , judging Slater on mushy head high lefts is akin to judging an elephant on its speed instead of its size.
1992 Pro Junior win at North Narrabeen against Shane Dorian- at the time the most prestigious Junior Comp in the world.
Look, of course Kelly can hang at Pipe, Chopes and anywhere heavy. I've said that repeatedly.
Outside that though, his results now are increasingly not CT level standard.
Three 17th's (second last place) and a Ninth outside his 1st place a Pipe.
If he didn't have that 1st at Pipe he would have been cut.
I'm not judging him solely on two very tepid performances in soft head high G-Land, but the entirety of his Tour surfing performances this year.
Kelly came up against a G-Land rookie having a shocker, someone he would have wiped the floor with his prime and got smoked.
Increasingly, Kelly's heat totals do not make double figures.
He has surfed 12 heats since Pipe, a lot of it in 6ft+ surf.
His heat total average is 10.39.
Thats just not competitive on the CT.
Kelly won heats in little lefts 30 years ago cause he was easily the best surfer in the world and his ability was better than everyone in almost any condition, now he is still very competitive but he really needs his strengths to excel. Same as just about every surfer on tour bar Medina and Italo.
Results on tour aren’t automatically indicative of performances without context. You are always a big booster for Jackson Baker’s tour performances this year but look at his results in black and white ….dogshit and worse than Slater’s.
All I’m saying is that if G Land had just been 5-6 ft and decent, instead of 2-4ft rubbish , he would have looked like a different surfer. It doesn’t have to be heavy for him to be relevant, it just has to be better than very average .
The slater comment in the write up made me laugh, pretty funny, but to be fair he was actually winning the heat until the last seconds , and then only lost by a fraction of a point , so by that logic his opponent must have been surfing like a 50 year old as well?
also the judges dont seem to want kelly there ,been under scoring him on numerous occasions the last few years
"In short , judging Slater on mushy head high lefts is akin to judging an elephant on its speed instead of its size."
slater on mushy head high... and elephants on speed...
maybe it is still the nineties
but nah, not slater
And the hyena’s
Circle the kill!
Poor Slater hes been underscored for years in general seriously dont understand why
hes the only surfer that the rest of the non surfing world have any interest in and the
only surfer who can be interviewed with intelligence.