Yesterday saw an action packed and controversial day of surfing go down at the Billabong Pipeline masters, with Medina and John John both sneaking through their heats by a hairs breadth, sending judging conspiracy theorists into a frenzy.
John’s, which was the closer of the two heats, went a little something like this:
The defending world champ snagged two good ones early, and looked to be in perfect rhythm, utilising his local knowledge in the shifting line up. Ewing answered back with a quick one, exited through the doggy-door, leaving him needing a 6.2 going into the last few minutes of the heat. John and Ethan’s heat followed a series of match ups decided by buzzer beaters, leaving the spectating public on the edge of their seats as Ewing stroked into a small clean wave with one minute left on the clock. He threaded a keg, and tagged the final section with a critical float. As the boys paddled in the scores were announced- Ewing had missed out by a mere 0.7 of a point.
The internet immediately lit up with calls of rigging, with pundits from Maui to Melbourne stabbing angrily at their keyboards, renouncing the judging, the WSL and competitive surfing as a whole. Even JJF’s friend and fellow countrymen Albee Layer took to his instagram story to decry the decision, claiming Ewing was robbed, before turning the WSL famous slogan on it’s head, adding #theyscriptthis.
Then, Medina took to the water against a soon to be retired Josh Kerr and things once again went down to the wire, with the Brazilian left needing a 3.2 with just five minutes to go. He caught a quick right, tagging the lip twice, before getting straight into a crazy bowling left, where he threw down a ridiculously big backflip, just coming un-stuck on the landing. The judges threw him the score for his two backside whips, and once again the internet erupted.
For each, the conspiracy theories generally went a little something like this:
The judges want to keep the title race alive, to make things more exciting going into final’s day and to foster a better Medina John John rivalry, (which is admittedly being brought up a lot) for next year.
Because of the ever changing conditions, the judging scale was constantly shifting, meaning in the end, what really matters in both instances is not the specifics of the scores, but rather who surfed a better heat and a review of the footage for each reveals it was undeniably extremely close.
Feel free to weigh in with your opinion in the comments and tune in tomorrow when a world champion will be crowned!