Keramas Fires for Round 3 of the Oakley Pro Bali

THE only people who have enjoyed the the four lay days of small surf before Keramas awoke today were the participants, topping-up their tans poolside at the Oakley Bali Pro. But don't blame them, it was the Southern Ocean at fault.

Keramas loves a southerly swell, we're talking 185 to 210 degrees as the optimal window. Thus far we've had a swell for day one around the 213+ degree mark and all the others. including today's, far west of that ideal set of angles. Today for example was 220, and the forerunners yesterday initially arrived at around 225 degrees.

Thursday however 'just' fits into the bottom of the magic window at 210, so not perfect, but better than we've seen so far. Given the margin for error on any model track and you'd say that Thursday's big swell is coming in on a marginally better angle when compared to to the swell on the first day of the comp and with an increased average height. A headline comparison is: 6ft and 17 seconds from 213 to 214 degrees, verses 10ft at 17 seconds from 210 to 209 degrees. In simpler terms, Thursday comes with fireworks. Hopefully packed with just the right amount of gunpowder as we all know too much of a good thing can make you sick.

Back to today and Joel Parko went to town against Damien Hobgood. “That was really really fun,” Parko said. “We had non-stop waves for the heat and were just going back-and-forth on exchanges. I’ve been coming to Keramas for years and it’s one of my favorite waves in the world. The conditions this morning were absolutely incredible – sheet glass and big barrels. You can’t really ask for much more.”

This was Jordy's event to win the pre-event hype proclaimed. Except it wasn't, because he lost a tight and tricky heat against a rampaging Freddy P, becoming the only regular-footed surfer to lose against a goofy in Round 3. All the other regulars massacred the goofies like they'd been ordered over the top by donkeys at the Battle of the Somme.

“I did my best to stick to my game plan,” Patacchia said. “I started strong and I know most of the guys on tour can do airs on nearly any wave out there, but they’re high-risk maneuvers and you have to stick them. I definitely waited longer than I wanted to for my second wave score, but it came and I surfed it as well as I can. I knew I could get the score on it and I was just thinking that if you can’t get the score here, you don’t belong on this tour.”

For all his endless competitive bonhomie, Sebastian Zietz must have been frustrated by his rematch against JJF following their epic Round One tussle.

"Seb and I have had a lot of heats together lately,” Florence said. “He’s a couple of years older than me and he’s a really strong surfer. We had a really good Round 1 with lots of high scores and the waves this morning are ones that we both like to surf in. Unfortunately for Bass, he broke his board on his opening wave and I think that put him out of rhythm for the rest of the heat. The waves are really firing right now.”

There weren't too mang surprises out there before the final two heats of the day when Jordy and Medina both lost. Kelly Slater kept the form book ticking over, doing what was needed.

“It was a frustrating heat for me,” Slater said. “There weren’t a lot of opportunities and the few that came through, he (Hermawan) had them. I was lucky that he didn’t end up taking advantage of them. When it’s stop and go like that, you have to use what you have so I ended up taking a lot of smaller waves and building some medium scores. Turned out to be enough, but yeah, definitely frustrating with the kinds of waves that have been coming through out here today.”

All the Heats on Demand are available HERE

Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.17
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.10 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 11.67
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.60 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 18.26
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 16.70 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 6.77
Heat 5: John John Florence (HAW) 16.07 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.87
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.96 def. Putra Hermawan (IDN) 8.90
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.53 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 9.73
Heat 8: Julian Wil son (AUS) 14.74 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.94
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA) 16.10 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 15.03
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.73 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.67
Heat 11: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.94 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.94
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.50 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 10.34

Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Joel Parkinson (AUS)
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Nat Young (USA)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)

Ed Temperley

MSW editor. Instagram @edtemperley