The Oakley Pro Bali has officially kicked off, with Round 1 in the water as we speak. The event follows closely after a dramatic final day at the Volcom Fiji Pro, where Kelly Slater, who’s vying for a twelfth world title, not only reached the peaks we’ve come to expect of the 11-time champ, but also grabbed the world ratings lead. Kelly’s win, as well as Jordy’s best ever performance in the Pacific, have made things tight at the top end of the ratings, which means the race for a world title is wide-open.
So, just in case you needed even more motivation to check out the Oakley Pro Bali, here’s five more reasons you’ll want to stay glued to the webcast this week.
No. 5 – Keramas Is A ‘Dream Tour’ Quality Wave
As you will see in the points to follow, so much of what makes this contest special boils down to the fact that Keramas is a ridiculously good wave. It’s hollow and rippable, almost like Supers and Trestles had an Asian baby. It’s the stuff that modern surf clips are made from: powerful, spitting, Indonesian barrels running into an air/carve/waft/insert-new-school-move-here section that people are going to go mad on. It’s going to favour everyone – the powerful, the innovative and especially the all-rounders. If, for some unthinkable reasons the waves are kak at Keramas, then Canggu (the backup venue) is not halfway bad. And although they’ve kicked-off the event in less than ideal conditions, you just know they have their eyes set on running the do-or-die rounds in the best conditions of the 12-day waiting period.
No. 4 – Jordy 2.0
Everybody is talking about Jordy’s devastating form. It’s all true: the guy is surfing like a giant Cyclops on the rampage, stomping through villages and tearing the heads off common men. It’s savage. You can’t have a serious World Title conversation right now without mentioning Jordan Smith.
So what makes this contest special with regards to Jordy? Keramas is tailor-made for his brand of innovative power-surfing. Coming off his best result in the Pacific leg of the tour, and his first ‘CT win away from home, the odds are in his favour. If you take the whole contest away, it’ll still be worth watching him take the place to pieces.
No. 3 – Kelly Slater Wants Number 12
Kelly Slater wasn’t the most dangerous surfer at the Quik Pro during the early rounds. But on the final day at Kirra, in fickle but perfect barrels, he was untouchable. Then he got smoked by William Cardoso in decent-to-good waves at Bells during the Rip Curl Pro, and followed that up by losing to Adriano de Souza in shifty stuff in Brazil at the Billabong Rio Pro. But Fiji – that was another story. Last week we saw something truly disturbing and beautiful at the same time. What the heck was that double-arms-out-wide barrel in the final? And those turns in heaving 8 foot-plus Tavarua? That was TV games out there. It didn’t seem real. In waves of consequence Slater can still outshine everyone else by a superhuman margin.
Watch below as Kelly tears apart Bali (mostly Keramas) in slow-mo hi-definition perfection, proving why he’s going to be hard to beat at Keramas:
He’s gunning for a twelfth title this year and it’s the quality stops on tour that are keeping him ahead. Keramas can dish up the size and juice that elevates his performance to that alien-esque level that doesn’t seem real. It’s probably going to.
No. 2 – John John Florence Is Back
Anyone worried about JJF’s ankle being a hindrance to his performance could only have been pleasantly surprised by his run during the Volcom Pro. He’s back and surfing with the flair and creativity that makes him such a unique talent. It’s tiring trying to re-explain how ridiculously good he is, so we’ll keep it simple: airs and barrels are his thing, and Keramas offers plenty of opportunities for both.
No. 1 – Innovation
In a wave as fun and rippable as Keramas, there’s the potential for upsets. Felipe Toledo’s Alley-Oop to Air-Reverse combo in Rio, and the airs he was doing at Bells were completely nuts. If he can put combos like that together at those events, it’s difficult to imagine what he’ll cook up in Bali.
Between Toledo, Medina, Wilko, Julian Wilson, Taj Burrow, Kolohe Andino and the names we’ve already mentioned, there’s a mix of innovative approaches that will make watching this contest a mind-bender.
lessful Trivia: The name ‘Keramas’ given to the break translates to ‘Golden Monkey’ in the local tongue. Kera meaning ‘monkey’ and ‘mas’ meaning gold. Although we might not see any golden monkeys during the event, we’re assured to witness some surfing gold. And if we’re really lucky, the shining monkey too.
PS: Jordy has already smashed his Round 1 heat and is through to Round 3, skipping Round 2, while Travis missed his Round 1 heat, likely due to his injury sustained at Cloudbreak. We’ll be hoping to see him in Round 2.
You can watch the Oakley Pro Bali LIVE here: www.oakleyprobali.com
Here are the heat match-ups for Round 1:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA), Yadin Nicol (AUS)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Oney Anwar (IND)
Heat 5: Mick Fanning (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA), Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Damien Hobgood (USA), Jack Robinson (AUS)
Heat 7: Nat Young (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 10: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Adam Melling (AUS)
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Julian Wilson (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 12: Sebastian Zietz (HAW), John John Florence (HAW), Miguel Pupo (BRA)