When Kelly Slater fired the first shot this morning, he fired it with a bazooka. Tens across the board in his Round 5 heat against Adriano De Souza. Photo: C. Wilson
Sebastian Zietz never thought he’d have to use his heavy-wave experience in Brazil, but life’s full of pleasant surprises, isn’t it? He finished equal fifth for the best result of the year. Photo: C. Wilson
Kelly Slater and Eddie Vedder both played in Rio this week, and both were impressive. Photo: Sherman
One day, when Kolohe Andino is battling for a world title, we’ll look at the 2014 Billabong Rio Pro as his breakout performance. The podium, like the air, suits him. Photo: C. Wilson
In familiar territory. After his third-place finish today, Taj Burrow sits No. 2 in the world. Photo: C. Wilson
Carissa Moore has made the finals in three of the four events this year and won two. Consistency wins world titles, and Carissa is as steady as they come. Photo: C. Wilson
That’s two thus far, Shooter. Michel Bourez celebrates another victory. Someone get that man a green jacket. Photo: Sherman
It’s OK, I’m a limo driver…
Last night, Eddie Vedder came to see SURFING’s Steve Sherman and I in Rio. Or maybe it was the other way around. Either way, it was fucking awesome. After the show we got to hang with Eddie, who is an avid surf fan. He questioned the judging of late and asked us about Kelly’s matchup in the first heat. Then he transitioned into a seemingly unrelated story. “I was watching a documentary the other day on [music producer] Phil Spector’s murder trial,” Eddie said. “And you know the story, he ran out of the house with a gun in his hand and tells his limo driver ‘I think I just killed someone.’ You know what the driver’s name was?” He paused for effect. “Adriano de Souza.”
Who’s on first?
Around high tide, when the waves had cleaned up from the morning’s tough conditions, I spoke with Tour Manager Renato Hickel. “I was talking to Jessi [Miley Dyer, Women’s WCT Commissioner] first thing this morning and I said, ‘If the swell wasn’t disappearing, I definitely wouldn’t want to run today.’ And right when I said that we turned and saw Kelly’s wave.” That wave was the first one caught the whole day, and it was a perfect 10. Only the second of the year and well deserved. Adriano, who’s almost obsessive about catching the first wave of a heat, spent the rest of the 30 mins searching for just one. He got it with 25 seconds left and earned a 3.73. And with that, there were no more Brazilians in the comp.
Surfers really need to start treating claims like cussing. You can do it, but you should only do it if you really mean it. Otherwise, it loses purpose and you look like a douche. Jordy did a couple basketball-inspired swish gestures yesterday in Round 3. And today in his Semi against Michel Bourez he girl-punch claimed a 6.17. It was unbecoming.
Rio de Sally Fitzgibbons
After a few days off, the girls got back out there. And because they often surf in sub-par waves, they looked great. Carissa was the most confident of the bunch, winding through a couple clean backside tubes. After one, Carissa-camper Shane Beschen turned to Tyler Wright, who was getting ready for her heat (convulsively dancing). He motioned toward the webcast and said, “Did you like that?” Tyler said she did, but I think she was lying. She’d fall in the Semis to Sally Fitzgibbons. And so it was Carissa in the final once again, but with a new opponent, one with historically outstanding results in Brazil. Carissa comboed Sally early on, but was unable to fend off Sally’s comeback. She got a 9.27 and a 7.0 and she got the win. It was quite refreshing to see someone else on the podium.
Oh Brother, there art thou
Kolohe Andino got a clear interference against Travis Logie in their early-morning Round 5 heat. But the tide was so low that rideable waves were tougher to find than full coverage bikinis on the beach, and Kolohe had a chance to beat Travis with only one wave. That wave came in the closing minutes. Kolohe made the critical drop, disappeared for a moment and had an extended pocket ride. Huge claim. The Kolohe camp erupted in celebration. Kelly wisely said, “Easy guys, he didn’t get that barreled. He might not get it.” But he did get it and won in the most exciting heat to ever end in 6.83 to 6.5. Brother would go on to beat Bede in the Quarters and then Kelly in the Semis to make his first final. He surfed fast. He surfed loose. He did big airs into the flats. It was the Kolohe we’ve always known was there.
Forget Rio, this is Sparta
Michel Bourez won and he earned it. Are there any waves that don’t suit the Spartan? I don’t think so. With his victory today at the 2014 Billabong Rio Pro, his second of the year, he moves up four spots to fourth in the world rankings. Kelly is first. But if you adjust the rankings and drop Michel’s two lowest results (like they do at year’s end), then he is No. 1 by a mile.
They say that tomorrow…
The waves will fade and some will leave, some will hang around and get ready for the Prime in Saquarema. As Mitch Crews said to me this week, “It’s great to have this one and Margaret’s done. It’s just sick waves from here on out.” Fiji is up next.