KERAMAS, Bali/Indonesia (Wednesday, June 19, 2013) - The Oakley Pro Bali recommenced this morning in clean four-to-six foot (1.5 - 2 metre) waves at Keramas.
The fifth stop on the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), the Oakley Pro Bali opened up this morning's action with four heats of the elimination Round 2 before halting for a tidal readjustment and then completing Heats 5 through 10 this afternoon. After yesterday's blistering opening round featuring a number of high-profile upsets, today's action witnessed the top seeds regain control, winning nine from 10 heats, in the high-performance perfection of the Keramas righthanders.
Kelly Slater (USA), 41, 11-time ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 1, wasted no time in steamrolling wildcard Jack Robinson (AUS), 15, this morning, amassing the day's high 18.17 out of a possible 20 for a masterful display of forehand tube-riding and power turns.
"There are some really good waves out there when they come," Slater said. "Still though, I'm two for two on slow heats. The waves are fun when they come through, but there just weren't a lot in mine. I was happy to get a couple of good waves at the start and that really put the pressure on Jack (Robinson)."
Following a win in Fiji last week, Slater bolted back up the ASP WCT ratings and regained the frontrunner spot. Although under threat of acquiring a poor result in today's Round 2, the Floridian's quick start over his younger competitor allowed him to come in for a board change mid heat.
"Crucial heat for everyone in Round 2 I think," Slater said. "Yeah, I still like to experiment. Before the heat, I told Belly (Stephen Bell) that if I got two good waves, I was going to come in and switch to the quad. During the free surfs out here, there really isn't a lot of space so I like to take the opportunity to test equipment whenever I can."
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 32, reigning ASP World Champion and current ASP WCT No. 7, held fast in a slower heat against lethal local wildcard Oney Anwar (IND), 19, to take a morning win and advance through to Round 3.
"It was pumping at first light, but the tide was running out so our heat was a little slow," Parkinson said. "I was stoked to get a win though as I had a shocker yesterday. Oney (Anwar) is a really good kid and a really talented surfer," Parkinson said. "He was telling me that if he got a set out there, he was going to do some damage and he certainly did."
Taj Burrow (AUS), 35, perennial ASP World Title contender and current ASP WCT No. 4, was another top seed to reclaim a victory this morning, besting wildcard Bruce Irons (HAW), 33, with a flurry of fast-paced forehand action.
"The start was looking to be an incredible heat," Burrow said. "We both nearly came out of great drainers, but just got pinched. It wasn't an ideal heat for me. I was torn between catching waves to find my feet as well as playing it smart. Every event, it takes me a few days to find my feet. It's unfortunate that it didn't pump for the whole heat, but that's alright."
Following the midday hold, the world's best surfers returned to Keramas for six heats before dark and the action was nothing short of excellent.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 19, current ASP WCT No. 14, was heavily-touted as a legitimate ASP World Title contender before the 2013 season started. However, outside of an Equal 3rd at Rio, this year has been less-than-stellar for the Brazilian wunderkind. Looking to correct this season's momentum, Medina posted a solid win against compatriot power broker Willian Cardoso (BRA), 27, this afternoon for committed and powerful backhand surfing.
"Yesterday, I was trying to go too big because this wave is so rippable," Medina said. "Today I just focused on completing turns and waves. I was able to build a momentum that way and it worked out well for me. I have had a few tough results this season, but I am leaning and I'm hoping I can get back on track in Bali."
Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 25, 2013 ASP Dream Tour rookie and current ASP WCT No. 9, was a stand out in yesterday's Round 1 action, posting a near-perfect 19.37 out of a possible 20 and going down to (/athletes/199/john-john-florence)John John Florence]'s (HAW), 20, 19.87. Zietz was undeterred today, however, lacerating the Keramas walls to take out a Round 2 win.
"I knew there weren't going to be any barrels today but it's perfect air wind," Zietz said. "Completely different heat to yesterday, but super rippable and I'm glad I was able to get a few good ones. Being in Bali is a blast. I feel comfortable here and I'm looking forward to more Keramas perfection."
Zietz has re-drawn Florence in Round 3 of the Oakley Pro Bali when competition resumes.
"I feel like I'm warming up a bit," Wilson said. 'I had a good first heat and got unlucky at the end. I was fired up. had a good free surf before, there are lots of fun sections and that put me in a good frame of mind heading into the heat. I wasn't looking for a perfect wave, just taking a lot of opportunities and it worked out well for me. Surfing out here is so much fun."
Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, capped off the afternoon's proceedings with the day's high single-wave score of a 9.67 out of a possible 10 for a series of blistering backhand assaults and elevator drop floaters.
"When the wind comes up, I think there are less opportunities for barrels," Buchan said. "I think this wave really suits goofy-footers. I've had a few close heats this year, but I feel like my surfing has been there and my equipment is feeling good.. There were some opportunities out here for me this afternoon and I went as hard as I could at them."
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 6:30am to assess conditions for a possible 6:45am start.
Highlights from the Oakley Pro Bali will be available via www.oakleyprobali.com
Surfline, official forecasters for the Oakley Pro Bali are calling for:
The current SW swell will gradually back down through the end of the work week. A slightly smaller swell for Keramas (much smaller for Canggu) will peak on Sunday the 23rd, after building Saturday afternoon the 22nd. A series of potentially solid SW to SSW swells are on the radar for the afternoon of Monday the 24th through Friday the 28th.
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com