I’m not envious of commissioner Kieren Perrow’s job.
At first light this morning sets pulse through Supertubes with a light breeze blowing up the face. It isn’t firing by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s head high and looks slightly better than yesterday morning. After a quick discussion with Jordy Smith and John John Florence — the two surfers in the first heat of the day — KP calls the quarterfinals on.
And then it gets ugly.
As soon as they hit the water the north (devil) wind kicks up a notch and they both sit for 15 minutes without catching a wave. After a heat restart, a few meaningless waves, a couple mid range scores and a buzzer beater 3.8, John takes the win. It’s close, and probably could have gone either way, but in the end John landed the only major move of the heat (an air reverse) and for that reason alone the judges get the outcome right.
Kelly Slater and Josh Kerr are matched up in the next heat. Kerr wants to surf, but Kelly (along with Mick, Julian and Gabriel) doesn’t. With a few minutes remaining in the John and Jordy heat, Kieren has a tough decision to make. Keep running or call it for day?
One glance at the bumpy ocean would make you think the decision to call it off would be an easy one, but Kieren is dealing with an ugly forecast. There’s a few small pulses on the charts the next couple of days but they’re accompanied by shit winds, and the swell for next weekend is iffy at best.
Kieren paces nervously.
With Kerr in the water and Kelly in the competitors area alongside Mick, Gabriel and Julian, Kieren looks out at Kerr in the ocean and then back towards Kelly behind him, and then Kieren calls it off for the day. The announcer relays the info, Kelly takes off his jersey and Kerr paddles in.
Back in the competitors area, I ask Kerr if he agrees with the decision to stop running. “I’m fine with it. I kind of figured it was gonna happen when Kelly was still on the beach at the start of our heat. I just hope we don’t spend the next 7 days chasing what’s out there right now.”
I turn and look at the ocean. The wind’s backed down again and the surf is starting to look fun. As if on cue, Filipe Toledo clicks a full rotation alley oop. Kerr doesn’t say anything, but his I told you so grin says it all.
Like I said, I’m not envious of the commissioner’s job.