Concern for Kelly Slater as footage emerges of a champion surfing the Indonesian reefs while suffering from an injury so severe he was forced to withdraw from crucial events in El Salvador and Brazil!


It’s the equivalent of the NBA playing a lackluster end to the season but with a half-inflated ball.

Today’s swell aptly symbolized my recent mood.

Fading, uncertain, fractured.

There were moments that teased the clear air, but other times there was only exasperation.

You might think, given that I have six weeks off every year around this time, that I would love summer.

You would be wrong.

Inevitably, at this time of year, I find myself mired in a mild depression.

Too many choices, I think. Too many opportunities and no clear path to follow.

A winter spent dreaming of light and projects, a spring of dawning hope, then a summer of stasis.

The nights follow one another.

The same goes for the slipknot that smothers all but the top five.

It’s getting clearer day by day, but there are a few issues.

Toledo is insured. Robinson too, I think.

Colapinto, despite its early release today, is more than likely.

I’d be shocked if Italo didn’t make a place.

Kanoa’s loss today kind of takes his chances from certain to shaky.

Who won’t be there is just as important. Almost certainly not from John or Gabby, the greater the tragedy.

The problem with this growing certainty is the shadow it casts over J-Bay and Teahupo’o. The two exciting waves, of course. Two of the best, in fact.

But what about the consequences? What’s left to play?

There is some unease that can affect games played in the NBA regular season, especially in the later part of the schedule. Due to the playoff structure and excitement of these games, players may lose the sense of purpose or motivation for regular games.

At some point, they know for sure if they’re heading to the playoffs or Cancun, and all the remaining games just pop up. Everyone can feel it, especially the fans.

There is a risk of this happening in the latter part of the WSL season under the current structure. Maybe he already is.

If the waves come around I’m sure we’ll be entertained by some good surf even if it’s not good competition but if there’s a bad run like the one we had recently it’s the equivalent of the NBA playing the lackluster end of the season but with a half-inflated ball.

Even a half-bloated Gabriel Medina would have escaped elimination at the hands of Callum Robson today.

With all due respect to Robson, who put up two solid scores and continues to show the kind of professional approach with flashes of something else that must have tickled Aussie fans, Medina should have left him bloodied and exhausted.

Medina’s first wave was 7.5. I’d like to see DEEP STATS on how many times Medina has lost a set after taking the lead with a keeper score in their first wave. If the number was zero, I wouldn’t be shocked.

In fact, in the ten waves that followed, he couldn’t muster anything above a 2.87 and couldn’t land airs he didn’t even look like he was doing when he started. It was confusing to say the least.

Seeing him on the wound treatment table after the heat at least felt like the world had spun off its axis.

If we’re being honest, we’ve all been too bold about what Gabriel Medina could do in the latter part of the season. He’s just a man, after all. A man who completely missed the first five events. A man who has suffered various traumas in his personal relationships and has openly admitted to suffering from mental health issues.

Who knows what’s going on behind the scenes in his home country. Who knows what lingering ghosts are suddenly more present in Brazil?

Wildcards Miguel Tudela and Mateus Herdy, who dispatched top seeds Colapinto and Igarashi respectively, fared much better in the opening rounds today.

Neither Griffin nor Kanoa surfed badly, which makes these upsets more worthwhile. Herdy, in particular, has an aerial repertoire that could snuff out anyone’s flame in short order, including that of Jackie Robinson, whom he will face in the next round.

Caio Ibelli also heads into the next round, who managed to find not only a rare barrel, but also a barrel so long and impossible that the judges had no choice but to give him a ten on a day when none no other score came close. Full points were awarded for the drama of emerging as it looked lost, and you might be hard pressed to find anyone to deny it the score, even me.

I was denied a big payday today, first by Joao Chianca and then by the judges who robbed Caroline Marks of a legitimate quarter-final victory over Carissa Moore.

Is Chianca the luckiest surfer we’ve seen?

He lost to Ethan Ewing by just 0.1 points in a seesaw endgame. It was Groundhog Day for Chianca. Just like earlier in the season, he was part of an entertaining run, rode strong scores, impressed everyone and still lost.

Ewing’s move into the round of 16 looks even better with Griffin and Kanoa out.

Half of the remaining surfers are Brazilian, slightly increasing their dominance since the start of the event.

Looks like a day off tomorrow but a solid swell after that, although the wind is slightly suspect.

The waves heal all ailments. This we know for sure.

Honest question: would you have preferred Slater’s pool instead of one of the last three events?

I know my answer. I would be interested to hear yours.


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