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“When a surfer is put in a position while paddling out that they cannot get out of the way and a collision happens due to this, it is up to a majority of the judges to call interference based on whether it is determined to be accidental or not”. My opinion is that we are “professional surfers”. The best of the best! Going off the rule, surfer in white COULD have gotten out of the way. From this video clip you can see surfer in white has enough time to make a conscious decision where to paddle. Just so happens that the line he chose is directly where I drew my line to come out of the barrel, which is the ONLY option I had. The surfer paddling out has options to avoid the surfer on the wave. He should be in the channel paddling back out. It should come down to who had priority over the situation. These 2 surfers are not equal in this specific case and the rules should benefit the surfer on the wave utilizing priority. This ride would have been the first major score of the heat, but was deemed incomplete because surfer in white chose to BAIL his surfboard causing me to fall off, hindering the scoring potential of my wave, breaking my board, and leaving white with priority. How is it okay for the interfering surfer to gain so much advantage from a collision and an interference not be called? The highlighted rule 168 section 3 ENABLES controversy and should be addressed. Thanks to everyone for all the supportive messages. Let me know what you guys think! Aloha 🤙🏽 @wsl

A post shared by Ezekiel Lau (@zekelau) on

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Just a few days ago, Australian Jack Robinson soared to victory in the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach earning himself enough points to qualify for the 2020 Championship Tour – an ascension that’s long been foreshadowed and highly anticipated.

But, Zeke Lau, who Robinson defeated in the final at Sunset and who was on the qualification bubble himself, recently took to Instagram to take issue with an incident that occurred early on in the final that could’ve turned the heat.

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In his second wave of the final, Lau pulled into a glorious little Sunset tube and disappeared for a split second. Then, eyeing an exit, he proceeds to run over Jack Robinson – who had taken the previous wave – and goes over the handlebars for an incomplete ride. Judges awarded the effort a 1.60 which left Lau chasing big scores for most of the heat. The incident was quickly forgotten, and Zeke went on to drop a few decent scores that put him in second place, but after taking the time to think, apparently, and not immediately raining on Jack Robinson’s parade, Zeke asked WSL judges in an Instagram post on Wednesday to review the footage and make a determination.

“When a surfer is put in a position while paddling out that they cannot get out of the way and a collision happens due to this, it is up to a majority of the judges to call interference based on whether it is determined to be accidental or not,” writes Zeke, quoting the WSL Rule Book, in the caption of a video showing the incident. “My opinion is that we are ‘professional surfers.’ The best of the best! Going off the rule, surfer in white could have gotten out of the way.”

“From this video clip, you can see surfer in white has enough time to make a conscious decision where to paddle,” Lau continues. “Just so happens that the line he chose is directly where I drew my line to come out of the barrel, which is the ONLY option I had. The surfer paddling out has options to avoid the surfer on the wave. He should be in the channel paddling back out. It should come down to who had priority over the situation. These two surfers are not equal in this specific case and the rules should benefit the surfer on the wave utilizing priority.”

According to Lau, this single incident completely changed the momentum of the heat in Robinson’s favor, leaving Robinson with priority and Lau with a broken board.

“This ride would have been the first major score of the heat but was deemed incomplete because surfer in white chose to BAIL his surfboard causing me to fall off, hindering the scoring potential of my wave, breaking my board, and leaving white with priority,” he writes. “How is it okay for the interfering surfer to gain so much advantage from a collision and an interference not be called?”

Lau’s post falls short of calling for a re-surf, but he does believe the rule as it’s written enables controversy that needs addressing.

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Some might call Lau’s comments sour grapes. Especially since if he had won the event he would’ve safely qualified for next year’s CT, but now he’s eyeing relegation back to the QS. Still, others might see Zeke Lau as the victim of highway robbery.

For his part, Jack Robinson weighed in saying, “Everyone has there (sic) opinion, but when you are in the moment the only thing I thought of was to get to the shoulder and also not get ran over it was safety first for me. I have the highest ever respect for you Zeke so I would never try and get in the way of you.”

So, which is it?

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