WSL To Uluwatu! The Other Wave Pool Mega Flip, and Mikey Wright Does The Best Surfing You'll See This Week

11 May 2018 7

Mikey Wright stomps this, and he does so quite easily. It's in the Quiskilver clip.

Mikey Wright stomps this, and he does so quite easily. It's in the Quiskilver clip.

COASTALWATCH | THIS WEEK IN SURFING

Ten Things From Surfing & The Internet On The Week That Was May 11, 2018

1. The WSL Made A Popular Decision

They're finishing Margarets at Uluwatu!? In the five years or so that we've had professional surfing's new regime of the WSL, not a single move they've made has escaped wild Internet vitriol on social media. Not. A. Single. One. Even their best decisions get garbled into an internt trashfire on Facebook, Instagram, and surf website comments. But I get the feeling that this one will have universal support.

The WSL has decided they'll finish up the Margaret River Pro – which was cancelled mid-event due to fears someone might get eaten alive, Jaws style, by a great white shark – within two days of the end of the Corona Bali Pro in June, but not at Keramas, no... instead they'll be throwing it over to one of the most iconic lefts in surf history and folklore, Uluwatu. 

The comp will be made up of the 24 male and eight female surfers that were left in the Margaret River Pro at the time of cancellation. 

Funny thing is, the CT has been screaming out for an event held in long rippable left for yonks now, especially with Fiji dropping from the schedule this year. Just two days ago we ran highlights from the Grom Search final at Raglan with the title: "This Is What A Comp In The Rippable Lefts of Raglan Looks Like".

And here we are. Uluwatu. Someone will win the Margaret River Pro at Uluwatu, marking it the most mobile event in surfing since those Rip Curl Search events got the can. It's so mobile that it spans countries, timezones and months. Wild. The WSL did confirm, however, that they'll be coming back to WA in 2019. But who's to say that one won't finish up at Macaronis or Skeleton Bay?

So then, who's your tip to win it at Uluwatu? And remember, goofy-footers Ace Buchan, Matt Wilkinson and Miguel Pupo have already been knocked out. Spewing. Jack Robbo on the other hand will be licking his lips at this opportunity.

2. The WSL Founders' Cup Was Run

The WSL ran their first ticketed, major event at their flagship product, the Surf Ranch Kelly Slater Wave Pool, last weekend... and... I can't really tell you any more about it. It ran from two am Australia time, despite them having the ability to run the event in the late afternoon/night (couple lights?) and get it in watchable times in the US, Brazil AND Australia... but nah. Two am it is. I did come home from a long day at the footy and the pub and tried to watch a couple of heats through bloodshot eyes, but I can't remember what they were like too much. I do remember thinking that it felt more like watching an Olympics event than a surf comp – the way you sit there all day, watching run after run after run, sticking around because someone you heard of or the one Australian hope in the event would be coming up soon – and how that that is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it probably opens up the sport itself to a whole new, non-core surfing audience. But we'll see. I don't remember too much else and I didn't bother watching the rest of it because I've been watching Atlanta Season 2 and it's really good. The highlights being shared around the event have been nothing special though and will be forgotten pretty soon. I do get the feeling that it would have been a pretty fun event to attend in person. Which is the whole KS Wave Pool phenomenon in a nut-shell, really.

The event was won somewhat unexpectedly by team World, led by Jordy Smith. And somewhat expectedly, Australia didn't win, though they didn't seem to mind, seen in their uniforms of Akubras, doing tequila shots between heats... they won the part of the comp that was having the most fun. 

For way better analysis of the Founders' Cup you have to please read Nick Carroll's story and Sean Doherty's report. They're bloody rippers. The last paragraph of Seano's might put you in stitches.

3. Seth Moniz's Flip Pissed All Over the Surf Ranch Bonfire

And then did you see this highlight from yet another new wave pool? This one is in Waco, Texas, and just after the Founders' Cup finished up the Internet was treated with this higlight from Seth Moniz – a giant backflip. It's pretty interesting that this one move, the single greatest manouevre performed on a man made wave to date, probably – was a better highlight than anything performed in the Founders' Cup event, and that event had John John, Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, Leo Fioravanti and Jordy Smith in it. 

4. Hey, Speaking of Flips

Eli Hanneman here is still only 15 years old. And he's stomping things like this? Lord, have mercy.

4. Brazil Starts Tonight/Kelly Slater Is Retiring?

With everything going on between wave pools, events being cancelled then sent to Bali, and Season 2 of Atlanta, you'd be forgiven for forgetting that the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil starts this evening Australia time. You'd be forgiven for forgetting about it particularly considering Kelly Slater isn't going to the event, having sustained a foot injury last year that has kept him out of every CT event this year so far... except the wave pool competition he just had. He was fine for that... go figure.

Considering that, you'd have to assume this will be Kelly Slater's last year on the CT full time, right? You can't miss four events, do a non CT event for fun in front of the whole world, aaaaaand claim a wildcard citing your injury, can you? So... umm... breaking news, a This Week In Surfing Exclusive: KELLY SLATER IS RETIRING IN 2018! You heard it here first. That will be one Walkley, please and thanks.

6. Mick Fanning On The Search

And speaking of retirements that aren't really retirements because there aren't really any retirements in surfing... Mick Fanning's first clip since joining the Rip Curl Search dropped this week – Unfinished Business – and it feels a little bit like watching Chocolate Barrels a near two decades later. Really nice filming, beautiful waves, tight edit, and unbelievable Mick Fanning surfing. This is going to be a fun time.

7. Kai Hing, Jake Vincent and More In Morocco

Surf clip + Morocco is a combination I'm always going to click on. This one stars Kai Hing with Jake Vincent and pals Izak Clifford and Jack Staley while they spend a full month in the north African paradise for big, long righthanders. 

8. Quiksilver's Australia Clip – Kael Walsh and Mikey Wright Are Fire

The Australian instalment of Quiksilver’s Gone Tomorrow series drops and it’s a banger. It stars Mikey Wright, Mikey February, Steph Gilmore, Zeke Lau, Connor O’Leary, Leo Fioravanti, Jesse Mendes, Jeremy Flores, Kanoa Igarashi, Kael Walsh (this team is always more stacked than I seem to remember) and some of the funnest wedging beaches, pumping Snapper, cold Victorian walls, and shark-riddled WA gold you can pack into a surf clip.

The highlight has to be airs of West Aus young gun Kael Walsh, Whoooosh! Actually, I wrote that just before the Mikey Wright section that closes the clip came on. My god. He’s so bloody good, that guy. Favourite surfer? Maybe, maybe, maybe!  Go Mikey Wright. Go win Brazil!!!


9. Chippa Wilson and Nathan Fletcher In Panama

For Nixon, Nate Fletcher and Chippa Wilson star in Professional Tourists, rounding out what’s been a really good week for internet surf content. They head to Panama. They ride boats. They get barrelled in pumping lefts. They do long floaters. They do brilliant, technical airs. 

They also get mic’d up, and their dialogue makes for a way better than average clip, which is hard to do in a crowded marketplace of surf content.

10. The Dooley Does The Founders' Cup

This week Danny and Mike (that's me) dive into the WSL Surf Ranch Kelly Slater Wave Pool Company Wave Pool International Teams Comp and ask, was it okay? They also ask if surfing for a country you didn’t grow up in is okay too? And what about Kelly Slater not going to Brazil? Is that okay as well? And are Mike and Danny okay? Probably not.

And that was this week in surfing. Have a good weekend everyone.

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