At first light the waves at Keramas looked slow at the Oakley Pro World Tour Surfing event. It was dead low tide, and there just wasn’t much coming through. A few perplexed looks at a lazy ocean soon turned along with the tide, as the sets started growing. By the time contest director Tommy Whittaker had made the call to start, it was absolutely pumping, with huge barrels thundering over the Keramas reef.
Josh Kerr performing his first 10-point ride in a World Championship Tour competition. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar
In waves that can really only be described as excellent, the Oakley Pro Bali began to grind through heats, with some incredible moments on day 5 of competition. Taj Burrow stole victory in the last minute from his round 4 heat with a 9.87 tube ride, and Josh Kerr followed soon afterwards with a 10-point ride, his first ever in a World Championship Tour competition, to leapfrog him through to the quarter finals.
“It was my first ever 10-point ride in a WCT competition,” said a stoked Kerrzy. “To get it on the final wave against John John and Kelly was just a pretty good feeling. It was probably the best heat I have ever surfed in WCT event as well, just for the fact that I got so many good waves and it just got better and better as the heat progressed, finishing off with the ten point ride.”
Four to Six foot waves. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar
Joel Parkinson was the next surfer to take to the perfect four to six-foot waves with gusto, up against John John Florence. Joel achieved the unbelievable, scoring 20 points for 2 incredible tube rides over the Keramas reef to advance to the quarter finals, making it only the 6th ever 20-point heat in the history of the sport. Joel was finding all the right waves, and was loose limbed and active throughout the heat, showing why he is the current world champion.
Kelly Slater. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar
Late morning the wind switched slightly, and the barrel riding game became a maneuver game, with the surfers having to change their techniques slightly to keep getting the big scores. CJ Hobgood was quick to adapt, smashing a few waves on his backhand to score an 8 as well as a 9-point ride, to advance over 11-times world champion Kelly Slater. Kelly fought back hard, as a multiple world champion does, but the big airs that he attempted were all unsuccessful and he was eliminated from the event.
Adriano De Souza. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar
Brazilian surfer Adriano de Souza was defeated by the slimmest of margins in round 5, with Nat Young from California just edging ahead of him.
Mick Fanning. Photo: Kolesky/Nikon/Lexar
In the final heat of the day Mick Fanning advanced at the expense of Freddy Patacchia, which causes some changes in the ratings. With Kelly Slater out of the event, and only a few hundred points separating Kelly and Mick, it can safely be said that Mick goes into the ratings lead from this event onwards.
Tomorrow a winner will be crowned at the Oakley Pro Bali. The wave forecast looks excellent, and it will no doubt be a thrilling end to what has been an incredible event thus far.
Oakley Pro Bali Day 5 of Surfing Highlights