A Strange Day At Lowers

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Earlier this year, I tucked myself away from the Gold Coast sun in the sanctuary of a scaffolding and watched one of the strangest days of professional surfing imaginable. Glenn Hall beat Gabriel Medina at undersized Snapper Rocks. Then Gabe used profane language and almost threatened Glenn on the live webcast. Then Freddy P. boardslid a rock and I’m pretty sure Parko got tangled up in someone’s leash at some point. It was bizarre.

Today, the 2015 Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles was almost as bizarre.

The day started — at least for Laura Enever, Dimity Stoyle and Stephanie Gilmore — in a house decorated in toilet paper. Someone had done their rental house up good. There are speculations about it maybe being in response to what was perceived as an overly Australian gesture in the land of stars and stripes. I’ve heard of a few potential suspects and will report more details if speculation ever emerges as fact.

On the surface, it’s a hefty cleanup job for some and a hearty laugh for others. But it goes deeper than that. Now, more than ever, professional surfers and fans are pledging allegiance to the flags of their nations. On one hand, it’s breeding passion and fueling fires. But on the other, it’s seeming to evoke that weird, almost xenophobic feeling that makes us forget that we’re all just human and shouldn’t waist time worrying about where a certain individual was born. Not like we have any choice in that kind of thing, anyway.

The other burst of weirdness today? Kelly Slater’s, uhh, something. While it was one of the most eccentric thing I’ve ever seen done on or around a surfboard, it was not the type of thing that will push surfing forward. In my eyes, Kelly is the greatest athlete of all time and today was a display of his athletic superiority. But it has no place in progressive surfing. Not unless we all want to end up with buckled boards and fin gashes and black eyes. And if you disagree with that sentiment, there’s a healthy debate to engage in the comments section of this post. Have at it.

Other brief notes:

Filipe Toledo will be hard to beat.

So will Mick.

And Gabriel.

And Nat.

And maybe Parko.

The contest won’t run tomorrow but it only needs one more day to finish and will most likely find that day in the middle of next week. See you there. —Brendan Buckley

Hurley Pro Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
QF 1: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Joel Parkinson (AUS)
QF 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA)
QF 3: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
QF 4: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Nat Young (USA)

Swatch Women's Pro Semifinal Match-Ups:
SF 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Lakey Peterson (USA)
SF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) vs. Dimity Stoyle (AUS)