Saturday, August 4, 2012

Stu vs. Kelly 8/3/2012


Round of 16, Heat 3

U.S. Open of Surfing August 3rd 2012

1st Kelly Slater
2nd Stu Kennedy

Jodi:

We’ve got 11 time world champ Kelly Slater out in the water now, Sal, we’ll send it back to you.

Sal:

Thanks Jodi…in the water right now Kelly Slater and Stu Kennedy. Stu from Lennox Head I believe…

Barton: Yeah, Stu from the north coast of New South Wales, and he’s riding that peculiar surfboard again. We know Kelly Slater experiments with his equipment, but we don’t think he’s ever gone that far left of center.

Sal:

I saw Stu at the Nike Lowers Pro, he had just lost his heat, and he was riding one. It looks like a wake board. I held it and I’m like what is this thing? And he goes “I promise it works really good.” But here he is…

Snip’s:

He’s done really well this week on it, he’s looking quite comfortable on it. That very strange looking nose, almost looks like vee on each side but he doesn’t seem to catch nose… Even though its awkward looking, its been going fantastic for him, but right now, already, the 11-time world champ has dropped a bomb on that first wave, 9.20 with those two massive backside off the tops and, unlike yesterday, it looks like Kelly’s really come to play ball today.

Sal:

Well he was here early, he was taking his time in the competitors area, he was in his groove, sitting there waxing his board for a long time watching heats…you’d be foolish to think he’s disinterested…

Barton:

Here’s a replay of that first wave…a 9.20 for those two turns…they were incredible turns…but aw, Kelly still has plenty of time to improve on that performance with 26 minutes left in this heat.

Stu gets a left and does a blow tail re-entry, fall off.

Slater gets another left, tries a big air reverse, falls.

Snips (on Kelly’s wave):

Well he’s got a nice wall in front of him…he’s looking for a big move here, goes for the air-3,,,

(Shot of Stu paddling his board trying to catch a wave)

Barton:

Must feel weird to spin around for a wave paddling and have no nose in front of you, like Stu Kennedy’s board…

Sal:

It looks like he should have a rope in front of him getting ready to get towed behind a boat…or a kite…but I’ve seen him ripping on it at Lowers.

Barton:

Well even in this event he’s been on fire. When it was tiny, the sensitivity in Stu Kennedy’s board has been beyond anyone else’s. The board is very responsive.

(Replay of Kelly’s reverse attempt, talk about Kelly’s board)

Snips:

Well we know he’s riding a 4-fin, we saw him put the fins in it….

(Sal talks about Kelly’s broad board palate, board caddy, and access to quiver) 

Sal: Call it what you will, it is working.

Snips: It certainly is.

Barton:

Y’know, given his popularity and how influential he is, its amazing that we don’t see more people following that trend and riding quads. Because in the past, when he went real narrow and real thin, y’know, in the eighties the boards were chunky and they were quite wide and they were thick…Kelly was the first guy to take them down in width and made ‘em real narrow…and everybody followed.

Sal: He ruined all of our lives for about five years. (Nods his head and looks at camera, everyone laughs)

Barton:

And now, he’s got something that’s working even better, and we don’t see that following, we don’t see the whole tour riding quads. So that’s kind of interesting to see that. Because everything he’s done in the past everyone’s followed. But not so much this time.

Snips:

In Fiji, the statement he made on the 4-fins there..you could clearly see there, I think, that he was on better equipment than anyone. Not only was he surfing better, but his boards were working better for those types of waves. You could argue the point out here (Huntington)…but that’s a good point. I think that next year at places like Fiji and Tahiti for tube riding you’re gonna see guys, at least a few more guys, riding 4-fins.

Barton:

Well its amazing how fast they are…I think Tom Carroll kind of led Kelly into the quads, because Tom was experimenting with the quads quite heavily…as Kelly’s up and riding on that quad here…

Snips:

Geez that board looks good. That first turn just lightning fast for Kelly. He definitely came to play today. He’s looking sharp.

(Kelly rips a smaller left, Stu gets a right, tries an air and loses it)

Barton:

Aww Stu Kennedy, well I suppose that’s what he’s gotta do. Kelly’s got a 9,20…

Sal:

Kelly’s got that focus eye on….and for Stu Kennedy, that just means he’s gonna have to do more work…

Barton:

Here’s the replay of Stu’s wave, that board is so responsive, but it kind of looked like it skipped a little at the bottom there…

Snips:

Yeah, it did.

Barton:

Didn’t have enough rail there to drive him through that bottom turn. He had a little skip going up the face and then he was in the air, losing control.

(Barton and Parsons talk about quads vs tris in big waves)

Sal:

Here’s Stu Kennedy…foam climb close out…(Stu falls again)

Snips:

I think Kelly Slater’s first score has gotten into Stuey Kennedy’s head. Slater drops a 9.20 on his first wave and that changes Stuart’s…it changes the whole dynamic of this heat. He hears that score and he’s stressing right now a little bit, and its starting to reflect…

Sal:

And you wonder, with priority, and a fair bit of surf, and time still on the clock…why go on that wave?

Barton:

Pressure will do all kinds of funny things to you.

Sal:

Oh, I’m sorry…that’s the guy he’s surfing against. Yeah, that makes sense.

Barton:

When you’re in his position, the last thing you want to do is deviate from what you know…there’s Stu Kennedy (Stu on a left, speed pumping towards a section)

wow…

(Stu throws big full rotation backside air and rides out fast and clean)

Snips:

That’s the way to get back into it. Wow.

(Cheers & hoots audible from the spectators)

Barton:

Whattya think of that one Snippers? That was a beauty.

Snips:

Amazing backside air 3 for Stu Kennedy. Fully rotating, can’t wait to see the replay. But he’s right back in the heat with a single move like that.

Sal:

Stu said do not count me out yet, boys.

Barton:

That’s exactly the way to answer him. Kelly would hate to hear the crowd noise go up…he’d hate to hear that uh oh, something;s happened here…although he’s in such a solid position in this heat…it only takes one ride…if Stu drops a good score. Because those things happen so fast its hard to digest what it is there…but if he drops a 7-plus or an 8 he’ll be right back in this one. Here he goes (Replay starts)

Snips:

Yup… he fully rotes it above the lip, lands it clean…its gotta be up in excellent score range somewhere. This is an incredible maneuver.

Sal:

I say its gonna be in the seven range, just because it wasn’t tail high. But that’s just from an aesthetic point of view from me.

Snips:

Yeah.

Barton:

The way he landed on the lip and spun around and maintained control was very critical at that point. But its gonna do his confidence a world of good. Because what’s he had? A 1.07, a 1.07, a .09, a .06…he needed that wave. And now here’s Kelly…(Slater takes off on a set wave that looks like the biggest wave of the whole contest so far)

Snips:

Here’s the answer right here…Kelly driving off the bottom, goes for the big blast right in front of the pilings, nails that turn and threads the needle…he’s gonna stay in the middle of the pilings here…did he hit one? Whoa…

Barton:

Whats going on in there?

Snips:

I think he hit one.

Sal:

He Houdinied that….he’s ok…but Stu’s gotta be stoked. He was in a combination situation before that wave, and that’ll get the head space back won’t it?

Snips:

Sal you should be a judge. Stu’s scores are gonna be right what you said.

(Barton talks about Kellys wave)

Snips:

Big single turn here though. (Kelly’s by the pier) Wham, kicks the tail…
Yeah, Stu Kennedy’s score is fluctuating between a 7.5 and 7 so its gonna be in that range and it puts him right back in this heat, with plenty of time on the clock, 12 minutes to go. The fight back wave. He’ll be stoked when he hears that score.

Sal:

When you think about some of the airs that we’ve already seen this week, the judges really, really got it right. Because otherwise they get lost. Because you can’t reward the degree of difficulty, because they’re learning that the air game is as wide a palate as the turn game is.

Barton:

Absolutely, as you see scores coming in for Kelly’s wave as well…as you said, he is gonna improve for one turn. It’s a big score for one turn.

Snips:

Well  it was a big turn B.L., it was such a deep bottom turn , really technical, beautiful surfing from Kelly and its gonna improve his situation by probably a point…

Discuss Kelly’s wave and scores.

Sal:

And the score for Stu Kennedy a 7.33.

Barton:

Well really, if you compare those two scores (Stu’s air and Kelly’s snap) there’s really not much in it for the degree of difficulty for Stuart Kennedy’s maneuver compared to Kelly Slater’s maneuver. In my opinion they are most probably a little too bunched up. I mean if Kelly had done what Stuey did he’d be pretty happy with it.

Snips:

Yeah, good point. I mean 7.33 to 6.17… I would agree with you there.

Barton:

I mean a standard reentry to compared to an air….

Snips:

I think it was better than standard though (Kelly’s turn). Cause he blew his tail on the bottom turn. Lets take one more look here.

Barton comments on Slaters two high scoring rides…

Barton:

…I dunno, I kind of feel like I see those all day in a lot of ways. (the backside hacks like Slater’s high scores)

Sal:

From one guy…

Barton:

Not really. You saw Timmy Reyes do a bunch…

Sal:

You didn’t get those kind of turns yesterday.

Barton:

Think of Adriano, Adriano was doing three of those a wave yesterday. So I don’t know…I think Kelly got some aw…

Sal:

11-time world champion love? Is that what you’re saying?

Barton:

(Laughs) Its hard to uh…well I’m sure that’s what you like about him Snips…its that everything he does is this elegance and this beauty and this flow, the way his body English is…its always perfect, and its hard to deny, isn’t it?

Snips:

Yeah, very hard to deny. Yeah, 6.17, you’ve got a point though, with Stu only getting a 7.33. I think maybe a point and a half…

Sal:

Stu’s back in the game though…he got a 7.33 for a mid-grade air…a good air, but probably mid-grade compared to what he could do at his best…

(Watching replay of Stu’s air)

Snips:

Y’know, I’m gonna agree with you Barton.

Barton:

Thank you.

Snips:

That has to be …that has to be more than one point more than Kelly’s…

Barton:

Two points more than Kelly’s. You agree?

Snips:

I agree.

Barton:

Kelly’s is a re-entry, mate. Which most people can do. Although he makes the re-entry look beautiful. That, Stu’s, was a difficult maneuver that not many people, not everyone, can do.

Sal:

But, they’re not gonna give him more than a 7.33 for that air, compared to the rash of airs we’ve seen all week.

Snips:

But he rotated all the way around though, that was…

Barton:

The criticalness of the landing in the lip, and the speed…I just feel like there was a lack of…yeah well…switch it, switch it and Kelly’s getting a 9 and Stu’s getting a 5.5.
If you took the exact same surfing, and called it different people, I’m calling that the gap between those scores would be significantly different.

Sal:

Probably right.

Barton:

But I should shut up because I’ll get myself in trouble. (everyone laughs)

(Sal makes basketball analogy)

Snips:

What a great heat though.

(Barton, Sal, and Parsons talk about Kellys career & dominance etc)

Barton:

One good score would do it for Stu…but the question I’d ask is whether that board is capable of looking good enough, in a backhand re-entry heading towards the pier, to get a score like that (Like Kelly’s)

Snips:

I think he almost has to go to the air on that equipment to get that big of a score. It’s a good point. Because they’re gonna compare it to how Kelly looks on his backside…and on the regular turns, in my opinion, the board doesn’t look as good.

Barton:

Yeah, I’m with you on that.

I don’t see traditional surfing doing it on that board, as you said Snips, you hit it on the head, he’s gonna have to go to the air and that’s been the thing that’s been successful for him to this point…

Sal:

It really sucks, but that board, aesthetically, takes so much to look good. If you don’t have a perfect dynamic, top to bottom, any sort of hitch in your giddy-up starts to make you think, aw it’s the board, it’s the board…

Snips:

Would we be saying that if Kelly was riding it?

Sal:

That’s the question.

Barton:

Yeah, right. It’s almost like you look for an excuse. Because the board is so dramatically different it becomes the thing that you look at and may blame, though it might not be that at all in reality.

Snips:

I actually love the fact that he’s trying something different ‘cause its fun. Its very cool that he’s put himself out there and he’s going “I think it works better and watch this. All you guys are wrong.” And so far he’s proven that it does.

Sal:

Surfing is a funny sport because we get so excited about progress in the water, maneuvers etc etc, but when it comes to progress with different equipment…we’re a pretty slow bunch.

Barton:

Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Self-conscious.

Sal:

A self-conscious, emotional bunch.

Barton:

You see that sheep mentality when theres one person out on a whole beach and everyone paddles out at that same peak where the guy is. Yep, we’re pretty much followers.
And Stu Kennedy’s breaking out of that mold, so big props to him for taking a chance, and as you said, he’s in the round of 24, he’s up against the greatest surfer of all time, so its gotta be working.

Snips:

Yeah, absolutely. Hes got three minutes to get busy… (There have been no waves for 9 minutes. Big lull)

Sal:

longlulls .com….we’re logged on.

(Lull continues till end of heat. No more waves for Stu or Kelly)

Sal:

9 seconds remaining, you can see the frustration on Stu Kennedy’s face there, as the ocean said no more for you. And Kelly Slater, once again, figures out a way to get it done…