The day began in most unusual almost eerie conditions with black cloud, unseasonal torrential rain, no wind and thick sea mist interrupted by very short bursts of sun providing sheet glass surface conditions with the swell peaking and hitting this famous rivermouth with full force.
Absolutely no good for the many cameramen on the beach but sensational for the surfers.
Tube rides were the only pathway to success today and commitment was required as these waves unloaded in thick slabbing sections.
The day’s standout performer was Sam Wrench (Australia/NSW/Ulludulla) scoring a 9.6 and a 9.2 in his round three heat win.
Wrench showed no fear at all, hunting the biggest waves of the day and pulling in to big barrels without hesitation.
“I love it when it’s solid and barrelling” said Wrench after the win. “There’s a few waves very similar to this near my home so I’m totally comfortable in these conditions, in fact I hope it gets even bigger.”
Raditya Rhondi (Indonesia/Bali/Kuta) kept the local hopes well and truly alive by being the only Indonesian through to the final 16 surfers who remain in this event.
The powerful and stylish Rhondi joins fellow goofy foot surfer Dean Bowen (Australia) as the only two goofy’s (right foot forward stance) through to the final 16 on a day of right-hand barrels that far better suited the natural foot surfers.
“I’m very happy to make the final 16” said Rhondi. “I surf here a lot and like the wave especially when it’s big like today and I feel I can go further in this event, hopefully to the finals!”
Broken boards were a common sight today and surfers were forced to call on all their skills to deal with this fast breaking shallow reef wave that delivers great barrels rides to those who negotiate the sections correctly.
However, the wave is not an easy tube by any means and many surfers were dealt severe beltings in probably some of the most powerful competitive waves most had confronted.
Eli Jacobs (Australia/Gold Coast) took the day’s heaviest wipe out. Caught in the lip on his take off the 17 year old was thumped hard and found his board in three pieces when he finally surfaced.
“That was the heaviest wipe out I’ve had, that wave worked me big time but I had to go because if you make those sections you’re looking at a ten point ride” said Jacobs after the heat.
Rounds three and four were completed today leaving twelve Australians, one Indonesian, two South African’s (Dale Staples, Beyrick De Vries) and a New Zealand surfer (Billy Stairmand) in contention to win this event and all will be confident following their committed and excellent performances to advance to this stage.
Conditions are again expected to be excellent tomorrow and there’s a chance the event will be completed tomorrow afternoon.