"We don't know whats happening, and that's what happening".
Struggling to write, too many beers in the afternoon sunlight. Queensland hedonism wraps me in it's warm and inviting embrace.
Taken separately and together as whole, Slater's performances in his Rd4 heat yesterday and QF today, have to rank as some of the most brutally dominant and creative in his career. The come from behind brilliance to stitch together two winning rides in the last 5 minutes yesterday and then todays massive victory over Bede were incandescent. They were the reason the beach was packed, why hacks like me crawled out of the webcast room and clung to wave-lashed rocks like limpets to get close to the King.
Equally incandescent was Slater's post heat press scrum. There was an unusual brooding atmosphere in the strange silence before the Rosie webcast interview. Slater played that game with his customary panache but as the webcast cameras were wheeled offstage he let loose. We'll come back to this heroic ball-bust sports-fans. In fact we'll roll to the videotape. It's worth a look.
Bourez's opening wave was pure power and class. That was plain to see live on the beach and on the webcast. He dominated the heat but Jeremy Flores had a beef or three with his treatment afterwards. Jeremy get your people to call my people and we'll flesh out the dispute, get the truth out there. a Bourez has become the surfer's surfer, fulfilling the role Taylor Knox once had. Taj rolled the dice against him in deteriorating conditions, banking on a performance advantage in the slop and against Michel's Firewire. It was a failed strategy and Teebs got rolled without fanfare.
The surf turned to mud soon after and Parko was lucky to survive a scrappy heat with Adam Melling. Melling had his chances but Parko has shown that he will scrap to the death now. The old choker tag or "oh, Parko doesn't really want it" which was always a fine chunk of bullshit has been comprehensively dispelled.
Parkinson has expended an enormous amount of energy this contest. I asked him this morning how he felt about the possibility of surfing four times if they ran the comp through.
"sweet, bring it on".
I thought his surfing had been amazing all event apart from the scrap fest with Melling. The victory over Dane was especially significant. It erased a very large blot on the Parko career dossier.
"How important was that win over Dane"
"So, so important. So much energy and focus went into that" For one second the grim faced Parko game face relaxed into the old goofy grin. "That one felt really good".
It must have felt equally good to take out Wilson in the QF, held in the best surf of the event. Thanks to Jed Smith and Bylsely for helping a brother out I had a fine two Coopers beer buzz going on the beach. A brazilian man beside me passed a Gudam Gurang and it was joyous in the extreme in the softening sunlight to watch Parko blitz Wilson in a heat that offered several high scoring exchanges. His ten looked amazing and I know in webland there was dispute about it being awarded. Slater too sand-bagged it, saying he didn't think it deserved a ten. Funny though, everyone who witnessed it live and felt the full impact and tempo of the ride was in no doubt it deserved a perfect score.
And that brings us back to Slater. He surfed with an unusual vengeance and vigour this afternoon. In past years he's felt the love of an adoring public and compliant media but the landscape has changed in the post-Armstrong world and a mainstream media on the sniff of scandal has put the King on the backfoot. This anger was channelled into the surf before being let loose on the hapless Will Swanton. Christ though, call a bloke a drug cheat without evidence to back it up and you've got it coming. It was the best press conference of all time. I actually, seriously cannot wait for this thing to wrap up tomorrow. The last two days have been incredible, in every sense of the word. Roll on Finals.