It was lined up to be the most exciting heat of the day. Possibly the whole event.
Reigning king Kelly versus the young prince John John Florence. Six-foot Keramas barrels with a tickle of onshore air-winds. All eyes were watching. But nobody saw Josh Kerr coming.
That’s just how he likes it. With everyone in the water sitting on 9-point rides, Josh Kerr combo’ed the field with a last minute 10-point ride. Skipping his way right into the quarterfinals, la-de-da.
It was still the heat of the day. Just not how anyone imagined it.
SURFING MAG: You just combo’d Slater and John John.
JOSH KERR: That was too fun. There was no pressure on me. That’s more of a thing where John John and Kelly have this thing, kinda like the protégé versus the king, so I was outside of it. That’s the heat you want. Nothing to lose. Everything to gain.
How big of a mental advantage is it to get to skip over that Round Five heat and into the quarters?
Right now the waves are so good I wouldn’t mind surfing another heat out there. But, I’m super stoked. I’m still gonna have a tough quarter final, so I’m not trying to get over-excited. Still a long way to go and there are no easy heats.
Did you know everyone out there in the heat had 9s?
Yeah, I knew it. And I knew Kelly could easily bring it back with that last wave he caught…so I knew I needed another one. So that’s when I caught that last 10. So, that felt good.
Does it feel like a good barrel is not enough out there?
I know the judges aren’t throwing 10s for a straight barrel. The most you can get for a straight barrel is an 8, and you need something extra to take it up to a 10.
I started counting off barrels during that heat? How long you reckon most of those barrels were?
It felt like a good 5 seconds.
Nailed it. That was the standard average count I got too.
That’s what Keramas allows for, good five-second barrels.
Yeah, me too. Totally. Five second barrels every time. So how do you feel about the no-lose rounds formats?
I love the no-lose rounds. And now having priority, just gentlemans’ rules, you just get to trade waves. No hassling. You can sit wherever you want in a three-man heat and not have to sit to deep or get jockey’d out of position. When the waves are like that, you can have a twelve-man heat and still have fun.
Best comp ever?
Yeah, I’d say it’s a toss up between here and Fiji. And having them back to back, now it feels like a real dream tour. The difference here is that the spectators really get to experience the waves, and the whole Bali vibe, with warungs and five stars hotels. I’ve got the whole family here. Staying in a mental villa. I’ve never been to Bali and had a bad time.
[Josh Kerr will face CJ Hobgood in QuarterFinal #2 in the Final Day of Oakley Pro Bali.]