Again the Rip Curl Search proved why it's one of the most intriguing tour stops. The deck was sufficiently shuffled, the waves sufficiently pumped, and Fantasy Surfer scores were sufficiently spread over the map. Now, with the tour taking a one-month break before the Boost Mobile Pro gets underway, we've now reached the halfway point of the 2008 ASP World Tour season. And while Kelly's clearly running away with his ninth title, there were a few important lessons to be learned from the wildcard that is The Search.
Fantasy Surfer Rip Curl Search Vitals:
Most Owned: Kelly Slater, owned by 69% of all Fantasy Surfer Players
Least Owned: Neco Padaratz, owned by less than 3% of all Fantasy Surfer Players
Winning Team: Cocopipes (w/ 864 score for Rip Curl Search, and 3971 total score for the season)
Winning Clubhouse: Globe Army (w/ total score of 3840)
Skybox Mania: People came home with all kinds of good stuff from Bali…and we're not talking bootleg DVDs or exotic STDs. Skybox winnings included an exclusive Rip Curl Search prize pack, Globe, Hurley, and Volcom all kicked down signature goods from the likes of the Hobgoods, Machado, and Bruce (respectively of course). Billabong threw down a new fullsuit for winter, and Pacsun offered up gift certificates for back-to-school shopping. Don't get left behind, sign up for skybox seating for the Boost Mobile Pro coming in September.
Fantasy Surfer Rip Curl Search Notes
Kelly Is Beatable
Mind you now, I said beatable, not catchable. As the porn 'stache-rocking, Portuguese upstart Tiago Pires proved, Kelly can be bested. It took a perfect 8-foot set in the last five seconds and balls of absolute steel to do it, but finally, for the first time all season, Kelly lost to a fellow World Tour competitor. Of course, nobody could capitalize, but that's another story.
The Other Story
With all but one (Taj Burrow) of the Top 10 eliminated in Round Four or sooner, if you'd invested heavily in A-listers you're Fantasy Surfer team had a shocker. But if you'd been more eclectic in your choices, picking say Tiago Pires, Chris Ward, Kieren Perrow, and Ben Dunn, you smashed it. Of course, out of those four surfers the most owned was Kieren at 12%, which means you probably weren't thinking along those lines. But really, did anybody figure Tiago over Kelly? Or Wardo would come through with his one-board quiver?
Bruce Can Do It
It only took him deciding not to do the tour to do well on the tour. In South Africa he beat older brother Andy, and now in Bali he's gone and won an event outright. With Andy holding down the Search trophy in 2006 and 2007, for now it's staying in the family. It's Bruce's first big win since the Eddie in 2004, and his first ASP World Tour win. He should quit more often, he surfs a lot better.
The Waves Pumped…Again
In all 512 waves were ridden during competition "somewhere in Indonesia". And how good were the waves you might ask? All you have to do is look at the top 10 heat scores, all were over 18 points, and out of that Freddy P, Bruce and Kelly, who owned the top 3 scores respectively, were all over 19 points. The top 10 wave scores were all 9s or better, and out of the 276 waves that were tabulated, 151 fared "good" to "excellent".
Like Reunion Island and Mexico before it, the Search scored again. And again the world was watching. And again the competitors didn't get contest organizer's memo, this whole thing is supposed to be a secret. "I signed a huge contract and if I tell then they will fine me $5,000," posted Luke Stedman on his blog. Threat of fine or not, in post-heat interview after post-heat interview, it was "Ulus" this and "Padang" that. "Somewhere in Indo" just became a running joke, but considering how good the surf was, all was relatively forgiven.