Russell Bierke

The girls had just finished and Keala Kennelly had triumphed. So it was the men's turn to get into the crushing machine. A Jaws XXL, windy and dangerous. The first male heat grew even bigger than the female competition earlier in the day.

But although they are dealing with the best chargers in the world, none of them can finish a wave. No one can resist the monstrous drop, and everyone had a bad time in the washing machine. Russell Bierke, Billy Kemper, Mark Healey.... If even they can't do it!

But here it is. As we were preparing for a historic event in front of our screen, a little voice from a commentator came to warn us that WSL had decided to place the event off for the rest of the day. The excuse? "Jaws is getting too dangerous. It is a difficult decision, but safety must remain the number one priority. The words come from Mike Parson, the WSL commissioner, who certainly does not want to be responsible for the death of a surfer and we can understand that.

It is true that a few minutes earlier, Grant "Twiggy" Baker, the recent winner of the Nazaré Challenge, had just joined the rescue boat after a XXL wipeout, deciding at the same time not to return to the line-up for the end of the heat. Not to mention the Frenchwoman Justine Dupont who, a few hours earlier, dislocated her shoulder and knee. Even Billy Kemper had trouble catching his breath after two waves underwater. However, he was against stopping the event.

"If we stop, someone will win the title of ride of the year in free surf. Yes, it's dangerous, but that's what we live and train for. We're fighting for the title of the Big Wave Title, aren't we? You want the biggest and most dangerous waves? We're here now." 

So did WSL make the right decision? Today the debate is raging. If our opinion as a simple spectator sitting well in our sofa does not count, the opinion of those most concerned should be listened to carefully. 

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