Steph Gilmore, COVID, and the Mid-Year Chop
The Women's Pipe event has already produced a few highlights, however there's one proven Pipe surfer who should've been in the mix yet wasn't - Steph Gilmore.
Steph won the 2012 'Duel For the Jewel' at Pipeline, with a ten-pointer no less, and in 2016 placed first in the Women's Pipe Invitational, yet this year she had to pull out due to COVID protocols. It's worth noting what happened to Steph, because we're likely to see more issues like it this year.
On January 28th, one day before the Pipeline Pro started, Steph fell foul of COVID protocols. It wasn't announced if she actually had the illness, yet the Wozzle's tweet that Steph would be "cleared by January 31" - i.e in three days - implies she'd failed a rapid antigen test but had no visible symptoms.
After the Men ran on the first day of the waiting period, the Women then surfed all day Sunday. A somewhat controversial decision as the swell was small and inconsistent, while the forecast is stacked with waves.
Stuck in iso, Steph watched her Round 1 heat paddle out from the comfort of her loungeroom. She was still in the contest yet her fate was in the hands of organisers.
Then, around midday with the surf waning, Jessi Miley-Dyer made the decision to press on with the Elimination Round, effectively sealing the deal for Steph. Theoretically, a surfer can miss their first round heat yet still compete in the second round. Of course that's impossible if the surfer is in iso and the two rounds are held on the same day.
The next day, January 31st, Steph was released from isolation. Reportedly unhappy with the decision.
Generally the Woz rulebook only gets updated when a surfer deliberately pushes the rules, such as when Medina dropped in on Ibelli, or when Medina went straight at Backdoor to force an interference on Slater, or when Medina went left at Bells to do the same to Durbidge. However, this year the rulebook has had a COVID overhaul.
Unlike being injured, where a surfer receives no points or prizemoney, Steph will "receive minimum CT Ranking Points and minimum Prize Money for the CT Event". So $10,000 and 1,330 points.
Giving prizemoney and points to surfers caught in the COVID net may seem like a good compromise, and in any other year it would be. However, this year there are just five events before the new mid-year cut. Surfers get to drop one event, so their best four events count.
Obviously Steph will drop Pipe, but if she were to get caught up in COVID again..?
Championship Tour surfers can little afford to fail lest they face the mid-year chop, yet it's not just heats where they've gotta get the right results.
2022 isn't the year to hand a pen to a pro for an autograph.
That’s a bummer of a way to miss a event.
Any idea what happened to India Robertson ? She also seemed to just disappear with no explanation.
One report about India said concussion. The other said ankle.
Double fail from the Woz. Making the women surf in woeful conditions compared to the men and in doing so taking Steph out of the comp. She must be livid.
equal pay, yet no equal play, why were they getting jet-ski assist at 4ft Pipe?
irrelevant comment on this topic
Yeah, nah. This article is premised on the unreality that the Wozzle can’t, won’t or doesn’t throw their own rules, and thus their integrity, under a bus at the slightest hint of opportunism.
If the Wozzle is willing to air drop reality TV stars into the pointy end of the Challenger series, despite them never riding an oceanic swell in the process, then they’ll have zero qualms of shunting some rookie pleb into the long drop to accomodate their name surfers in the off chance their own bureaucracy puts them behind the eight ball.
If it's a level playing field, ie other surfers could equally be caught in the protocols and miss events, maybe it isn't too big an issue for the mid-season cut.
From a footy perspective, the jaded observer in me wonders why the Roosters are the only team with every squad member having caught covid over summer thus won't have any player missing games because of it this year.
I know its nowhere stated but I'm wondering if Gabs and Steph decided against the jab ...or maybe I'm just hopeful
Don't think you can fly into the US without being fully vaccinated
I laughed out loud reading the paragraph about Medina.
Haha me too, what a maniac
I miss Medina already
If she has tested positive, and has served out her time off, she will not be tested again. Once you have had Covid and recovered you can still test positive for months although no longer symptomatic or contagious, so she cannot be caught in the Covid net a second time. If i was her I'd be royally pissed off with the Wozzle, especially after last year's debacle smuggling a Covid positive brazzo into Hawaii that went on to infect a bunch of crew including the SUP Lord.
Complicated situation but the best athletes overcome extreme challenges over time. She is one of the best and I think she can overcome it.
I'm under the impression she was asymptomatic and felt normal but tested positive.
Did she do a 2nd back up test not too long after i wonder,as it's pretty common knowlegde those tests have a not insignificant rate of giving false positives.
Unless she has a cracker of a year,which she hasn't for a few now,then this will come back to bite her later on.
Throwaways are best used on an actual bad contest result,not in injury or disqualification circumstances,as it's now one less bad or ordinary result she can afford throughout the year.
It is what it is! Steph G is an elite surfer who I'm sure will rise to the top of her game to ensure a top 5 finish of the worlds best! GR8 contest & the ladies ripped in what they were sent out in. Even 4 to 5ft pipe looks pretty full on!
I bet the woz would have waited if it was slater in iso. Womens pipe masters without the femme goat is piss poor. Hopefully she has been slaying sunset every day
It does make the decision to continue into the elimination rounds on a very average Pipe day a bit more sinister. Or maybe we’re just thinking too much. If they didn’t someone would have said they didn’t run to accommodate Steph.
But the lack of transparency - that Steph was “caught up in the Covid protocols” - rather than just saying what actually happened, looks like a PR own goal from the woz. Strange days indeed, most peculiar mama.
Maybe if she doesnt make the halfway cut, the WSL could wild card her into into a number of events post cut off to ensure she has a reasonable chance to make to top 5 at seasons end.
It's extraordinary how either there's a mountain of tiptoeing going on around here or no-one can smell bullshit even when it's right under their collective noses. Meanwhile, that dangerous super spreader, the greatest sportsperson in world history and current world no. 1 isn't welcome in Australia. For what would he know about health? Best we listen to the likes of Kerry Chunt, he knows far more about health hey lol!
Please don't attempt another half-ton.
Ahhaha!! Nah, I'm obviously way beyond caring what people think and definitely won't be bothering. I will restate my opinion imploring people to not get their kids jabbed though.
Anyway... Back to Bob Slater, whaddya reckon Ben, should we allow him to compete in Oz, or should we be segregating the dirty, ignorant purebloods? Genuinely, what's your opinion?
I'll crawl back into my box now lol.