It’s taken some time but we’re finally on to the quarter finals of the 2019 Corona Bali Protected. The swell that was forecast didn’t quite materialise but eventually we saw a bit more size and favourable winds to allow the competitors a bit more of a canvas to work with.
There were a few shock exits though in the round of 32 and round of 16. Current world no.1 John John Florence was taken down by Frenchman Joan Duru in a very close heat where John John only needed a 5.87 to go through. Last years winner at Keramas Italo Ferreira was knocked out by Jack Freestone, who won the Red Bull Airborne event the day before and who has also had 2 Junior World Title wins at Keramas. Current World no.5 Gabriel Medina was taken down by a very deserving Leonardo Fioravanti. The Italian has been surfing well of late and was able to put his fast and fluid style into action, ending his waves well to push the scores a bit higher than Medina. World no.3 Jordy Smith has been on a charge recently but couldn’t get the scores he needed to beat Jesse Mendez, who’s clinical back hand attack put him ahead of the South African.
In the round of 16 Julian Wilson got knocked out by Michael Rodriguez, only managing to go a round further than the last 2 events and still only in the lower half of the table. Wilson’s Title hopes are suffering and he’s only just floating around the cut off point so needs a string of good results to push him up the table. Last years runner up Michel Bourez was knocked out by a revitalised Kelly Slater, who has been laying down some of the fastest and most powerful on rail turns of the competition so far. The Tahitian is also known for his fast and powerful on rail turns so we were expecting fireworks and we weren’t left disappointed because it was one of the heats of the event so far.
The waves were pumping and the wind was pretty much non existent and the rest of the round of 16 was an entertaining affair seeing a combination of airs, barrels and turns, which is just what we’d expect from Keramas. Some of the event favourites have been knocked out but the quality of surfing was really high, although the judges are definitely holding back on their scores. There wasn’t many waves that went into the excellent range, in fact only 7 waves have scored over an 8 in the entire event so far! Filipe Toledo, Kanoa Igarashi and Wade Charmichael scored the highest heat total for the round of 16 leaving room for higher scores from the judges, who are expecting slightly more than what they’ve seen to score above an 8. Kelly Slater was heard saying he surfed his heart out just for a 5.
The quarter finals have been decided and there’s a an expected pulse of swell towards the end of the week, but they said that last time so we’ll have to wait and see, but we’re definitely in for some more explosive action at the most fun looking right hander in the world.
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