The Pipe Pro: Day 4
The Pipe Pro: Day 4
JMD called off competition at sunny 3-4 foot Backdoor on Friday to send them back out in even sleepier 3 foot Backdoor today. Another monumentally bad decision to add to the laundry list of screw-ups which have plagued her tenure, seemingly reaching a new nadir this opening event of the 2024 Tour.
Mostly it would have gone unnoticed but in this instance it meant five-time and retiring World Champ Carissa Moore, one of the best to have ever done it, and arguably only second in line to Moana Jones-Wong in terms of Pipe chops, sitting for twenty minutes in a dead flat ocean twiddling her thumbs.
Riss wanted to, “share my heart and perform well”. She effortlessly achieved the former and was denied the latter by the incompetence of her sport's governing body. Carissa's formal competitive career at Pipe ended with TS Eliot's famous “not with a bang, with a whimper”. Eight minutes to go off a thirty minute clock she paddled for a small Backdoor nug, which Bettylou promptly screwed up for her by paddling, pulling back, and creating a chandelier which clearly hindered Moore's forward progress in the small tube. The incomplete ride was judged a 1.57. It should have been an interference.
There was tremendous dignity in her response. She didn't try and scrap her way to a win. She waited for a barrelling wave and attempted to ride the tube. There was no sufficient wave to enable that and the small ride she got filled up in the Ain't's channel for a sub 1-point ride. Carissa looked close to tears on the way in. Embracing her husband on the sand, she could be seen to mouth the words “that was so bad”. He gestured angrily with a face as dark as thunder to the dismal conditions and swore. It's another indictment on the WSL they could not offer a suitable competitive environment for Riss to go out on in her last event in Hawaii.
Twelve days and all they could find was a couple of meagre Backdoor days that looked better for snorkelling than surfing?
Twelve days and they could not find a window for the world's best female Pipe surfer to showcase her skills? Seeing Moana scrap around doing one turn closeout hits at Backdoor and trying to manufacture a head-dip on a kiddy left was cringeworthy. Made worse, as always, by Joe Turpel trying to roll the turd in fairy dust and force it down our throats as something magical and awe-inspiring.
Short recap today. Once Carissa had been eliminated the rest of the field went into full scrap mode, as if we were surfing a shorey at Manly for a Q'ey. It was not an edifying spectacle with two radical and notable exceptions. Not hard to pick 'em: Pickles and Simmers. The rest of the field has looked very pedestrian compared to these two.
Caity went for the lip on her first wave with the ferocity of a pit bull after a moodle. She had to eject at the base but the intent was clear. Full charging, in line with the philosophy she outlined on the glass: “I wanna surf more than last year. I'm hyped”. Of course she said that in a catatonic drawl but the actions matched up with the words, so I think we should believe her. She sliced open the first clean Backdoor nug of the day for a 6.33 to leave Isobel Nichols short.
Pickles was even more resolute. Charged a couple of closeouts for non-makes then pumped her way through a drainer for an 8.17, repeating the dose minutes later for a 7.33.
There's hours of daylight between Pickles and the rest of the field right now, and if there is any credibility to be rescued by the Woz in this debacle of a Pipe show, it will be Pickles with the silverware held aloft come tomorrow afternoon.
Hold your head up high Carissa Moore, bona fide champion who has probably done more than any other surfer to elevate women's surfing to its current level. Those who appreciate good surfing and the good in humanity salute you.
// STEVE SHEARER