Sean Doherty: My Heart's Beating Like a Rabbit

19 May 2019 2 Share

Sean Doherty

Senior Writer

After taking down Italo Ferreira in Round 3, this event is looking mighty fine for Jack Freestone. Photo: WSL/Dunbar

After taking down Italo Ferreira in Round 3, this event is looking mighty fine for Jack Freestone. Photo: WSL/Dunbar

COASTALWATCH | SEAN DOHERTY

Corona Bali Protected Round 3

Missed the first couple of heats this morning. I was busy battling the Sunday morning crowds at Broken Head with my girlfriend’s dad. Now Dave is no septuagenarian plodder. Dave still rips. He had some magazine covers back in the 80s and has never let go of it. He rides a JS HyFi. He surfs like he’s still in a heat.

Dave is also a mad pro surf fan. He spent a whole week watching the webcasts of both the lowly Krui and Burleigh QS events. Watched every heat of ‘em. Dave loves pro surfing and loves a punt on pro surfing.

You’d be a game man to be throwing money at anything in Australia today. We had a federal election in Australia yesterday, and as polling booths closed yesterday Labor were paying $1.15 to get elected. They were unbackable favourites, and some bookies even paid out on them winning almost immediately as they started counting. Of course, they lost. Not a good day to punt.

Dave came in hot this morning. “Jack Freestone’s paying $2.80 against Italo! What do you think?” I told him I thought Jack will win an event this year, and they looked like good odds for today. Ol’ Freeballs loves Keramas. “Nah, I took Italo,” Dave replied. He had a whole bunch of multis across the 16 heats running today. He was going to get a few waves first and then come in a watch them all come home, one after the other. He paddled out into the crowd at Broken Head like a feral cat let loose amongst the unsuspecting marsupials.

Two hours later I was already back in the car watching the event when Dave came in. I’d just watched the closing stanza of the John John and Joan Duru heat. Dave ran over excitedly. “How much did John John win by?” I paused before giving him the bad news. “Mate, I’ve got to give you some bad news…” Dave dropped his board and roared at the sky. I asked, “How many multis did you have him in?” He replied, “All of them!” Day over for Dave. Day over for John.

Italo looked like somebody completely different to the guy who won the event here last year. He paddled out with a head of dyed platinum hair and just sat there. When he took off he fell, first turn. He looked like Justin Bieber and surfed like Justin Bieber. Italo’s been carrying a bad ankle, but that was no excuse for what came next. Needing something to get back in the heat against Freestone, Italo paddled for a set… and couldn’t catch it. Like, paddled with dick fingers and couldn’t physically catch it. This is the same guy who surfs seven times a day at eight foot Off The Wall, but today the Hairy Sparkplug was running low on volts. Jack on the other hand couldn’t go wrong. It seemed more than a bad ankle. Mysterious.

For how pretty it was, the early heats were littered with fives and sixes. Nothing clicked. It kept the heats close. I lost count of how many heats were left with a guy sitting there needing a five to win. The best wave of the morning was Jeremy Flores’ buzzer beater seven. As Rosy said to him afterward, “Seven is the new naaaaarrrn.”

The broadcast flashed on Micro Hall crossing his legs and wearing a cravat while his surfer, Conner Coffin was in the water. It appeared Micro had borrowed them directly from Matt George’s wardrobe. Matt George! I caught his cameo in the booth the other day and I’ve missed that man. The last time I saw him was at this corresponding event back in 2013. Heading back to Sanur we passed him on his bike, with his lady riding Lady Godiva side saddle on the back. Matt was dressed head to toe in white linen. It struck me at that point that he was stuck in character from In God’s Hands. And then he reprised his role back on the broadcast this afternoon! He segued beautifully on every subject. “I’m glad you mentioned Bali, Ronnie…” “I’m glad you mentioned legs, Ronnie… Rio has two of them.” Matt was so excited about Bali’s own Rio Waida being out there. “My heart’s beating like a Rabbit, Ronnie.” Matt’s voice alone adds gravitas to the broadcast. I could listen to him read software terms and conditions. 

Rick Christie was paying $3.18 against Brother Andino. “Whaddaya reckon Dave?” Dave replied he was thinking the same thing. He checked his phone but the market had just closed. Thank Vishnu! Brother Andino paddled out and landed his first air cold and hard in the flats and suddenly it looked a lot easier.

Frisky Phil Toledo also sensed an opportunity with John John gone. But it wasn’t so much the predictable high torque spinner on the inside, it was the way he set his waves up on the outside. Every time Phil dropped into a wave he’d fade behind the pocket, allowing him to drive hard at the next section. He danced around the sweet spot, then as soon as the wave stretched out on the inside he hit the burners and took to the sky. He looked like a guy who has surfed a lot of quality waves recently. 

By midday the Komune pool was full of Aussie boozers, none of whom seemed to be getting out to piss. The pool might need to be drained by the end of the event. Dave lived in Bali for years and is back there all the time. He was blowing up about the dolphin pool just down the coast from Komune, that despite years of protest is still somehow open for business. “They bus the Chinese in there, one bus after the next!” Barked Dave. “The dolphins are covered in sores.” Matt George meanwhile suggested a better day trip might be to get up and check out the volcanoes, although today might not be the day. The Gods are angry. Mount Agung erupted yesterday.

By the time The Goat paddled out the tide had dropped and the onshore was up. As happens with Keramas, it suddenly looked terrible. That was until of course Kelly paddled out and went straight into a double-up drainpipe, came out fading, then went straight into a scimitar hook. It was maybe the turn later in the heat that hinted Kelly’s season will be one season too many. His open-shouldered swoop, executed in a board length, executed savagely, had echoes of 2011 in it.

Dave saw it, and Dave abides.

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