After a five year hiatus, the big show returns to Keramas for the Corona Bali Protected. The righthander’s tube and air sections are well- suited for progressive surfing, dangerously so for wildcards Mikey Wright and the newly added Barron Mamiya. But as proven by Joel Parkinson’s win at Keramas in 2013, or any footage you’ve ever seen of Alex Knost carving the place up on weird single-fins, the Balinese peeler is rail-friendly too.
And for the first time, the women’s tour takes a dip into Keramas. About time. Stephanie Gilmore’s surfing combined with her current mindset, plus a dash of flawless righthanders seem unstoppable. But that doesn’t mean Lakey Peterson and the rest of the women won’t give her a run for the money.
Below are some of SURFER staff’s picks on who we think will win the event. Also, relive the highlights from the Oakley Bali Pro in 2013 and share your pick(s) in the comments.
Keramas is not a real wave. It is a wave from a surfing video game. Coincidentally, Griff Colapinto is a surfing video game character that you unlock after sitting in the tube at the Surf Ranch level for ten straight minutes. If there is a rubber-limbed wunderkind out there with enough sparkle and flair to go triple axel to triple axel with Filipe Toledo, it’s Colapintobean. There is no physical reason for him not to reduce the entire field to a frustrated, neurotic wreck at some point this season. May as well be at K-Mas. – Justin Housman, Features Editor
After watching John Florence land one of the most memorable oops in competitive surfing history at the Oakley Bali Pro a few years ago, my gut says to pick the 2x World Champ for the win this year. But the kid's been on an unfortunate losing streak as of late so I'm going to keep him out of my top pick this time around. Instead I'm going with Filipe Toledo. Depending on what the swell is doing, Keramas will produce both perfect barrels and lofty ramp sections-the latter of which seems to bring out the best from the high-flying Brazilian. – Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor
John John Florence
John John needs a good result, he knows that and I think it will drive him enough to not tolerate any excessive hassling or “love taps” in his heats. Remember the hang-time on his huge alley-oop at Keramas in 2013? It's one of the few times the 2x world champ has actually claimed. As a righthander with both a barrel and an air section, Keramas is practically tailor-made for John John’s surfing and he's going to tap into that. As long as Parko doesn’t clip his wings with a perfect 20 like in 2013 (John’s heat total was 19.20 by the way), John John will fly all the way through to the final. – Ben Waldron, Online Editor
Mikey and Keramas are a great pairing on so many levels. He'll be able to thread every barrel, punt that perfect air section and devour the shoulder with his rail game. He's got nothing to lose being a wildcard in these events since he currently sits at number 2 on the 'QS, he'll be on tour next year regardless. If anything, it's as if Mikey's having a soft opening for his inevitable debut as a full time 'CT contender. He’s letting everyone know he's on a warpath to the top once he arrives, giving everyone a taste of what's to come. If the conditions align and that ramp section is working well, I'd bet we see some of the gnarliest punts from the mullet-rocking aussie. – Adam Jara, Social Media Manager
I talked to Pat not too long ago and I know he's really fired up. If he brings that same fire he did to Bells, I think that's bad news to whoever he surfs against. His surfing also really suits Keramas. What I like about him is that you really don't know what he's gonna do when he stands up on a wave, and that type of creativity and approach is something that the competitors need when surfing at Keramas. I think he's gonna flair that place up. – Alex Kilauano, Video Director
Michel seems to have elevated his surfing once again this season. While his result in Brazil might not have been what he was after, I think he’ll bounce back with a huge result in Bali. He's also had success at Keramas in the past while posting a 2nd place finish at the Oakley Pro Bali in '13. He'll be tough to beat this year. – Brent Reilly, Account Executive
After watching her performance at the Founders' Cup and in Brazil, I'd have to say Steph is an easy favorite for the Corona Bali Pro. Yeah, she's talented as hell and has no problem getting shacked at Keramas. But what makes Steph a particularly deadly competitor right now is her determination. Did you watch her post-heat interview after she won the Oi Rio Pro last week? Never have I seen a Steph more fired up and ready to claim another world title. "I want to improve. I want do airs like Filipe. I want to get better," she told whatever commentator was interviewing her. So yea, I think it's safe to say Steph will be in it to win it in Bali. – Ashtyn Douglas, Managing Editor
Courtney is a fierce competitor and after taking her time to recover from an injury, she’ll be hungry for a solid result at her first event back. After seeing photos from the free-surfs at Keramas this week, the Orange County surfers on tour seem to be resonating very well with the wave. Although I didn’t see any photos of Courtney, I’m assuming she’s guilty by association. – Ben Waldron, Online Editor
She's my pick for the rest of the year. The fire is back and she wants that title. #GoSteph – Adam Jara, Social Media Manager
Lakey has been doing some of her best surfing this year. I'm super excited to watch her at Keramas because it's such a high-performance wave. She has solid fundamentals and an air game. She has such a good forehand attack, I think she takes this one out with ease. – Alex Kilauano, Video Director
This wave suites Carissa's surfing perfectly and should give her many opportunities to showcase her talent. Her barrel to power turn combos should result in a ton of scores in the excellent range. I like Carissa's chances. – Brent Reilly, Account Executive
Why not? She grew up surfing V-Land. She’s one of the best at Surf Ranch. If Coco’s gonna surprise folks, it’ll be at a silly-perfect right like Keramas. Tubes ain’t a problem for her. She’s got a polished frontside arc/cuttie combo. That sounds like a recipe for 8.0s all day long to me. – Justin Housman, Features Editor