Keramas, Bali, Indonesia: In the end it came down to Joel Parkinson’s powerful, purist pointbreak élan versus Michel Bourez’s brutal Polynesian warrior style.
Bourez had the World Champion on the ropes in a slowish, windyish final at solid 6ft Keramas, but Parkinson threw a last minute lunge that knocked the Tahitian from his erstwhile perch atop his first WCT podium. Parkinson was in good form throughout the event, even posting a perfect 20 heat score yesterday, so few were surprised by his win. He took home $70,000 US dollars and new top of the range Kawasaki jet ski – and all was good in the hyper-branded world of professional surfing.
Kerama’s? Bali? This new event’s success will surely mean Bali, or at least Indonesia, stays on the WCT tour in future as it changes under its new owners ZoSea Media. Still, there was something a little odd about the whole affair – taking place at a massive luxury development in front of the wave at Kerama’s – a time share resort called Kommune, owned by Australians, bang on top of a site of spiritual and cultural importance that just a few years ago was a little known secret spot. Such is Bali, or ‘Balifornia’, these days. Everything goes.
And here’s a weird fact: Bali’s Putra ‘Pulu’ Hermawan, who took out Brett Simpson in Round 2 then lost to Kelly Slater in Round 3, was the only Balinese face or voice on the webcast all week, aside from his cheerleaders during heats and an occasional technician or laborer.
Yep, pro surfing is a strange beast. Tahiti next. A Polynesian heartland. Fanning sits aatop the ratings. Slater 500-odd points behind, and now, Parko, comfortable at number 3, for now.