For most parties involved, the morning after the Surfer Poll is typically a slow one. A splitting headache, red and swollen eyes, and a poo-mouthed hung-over malaise is the standard. And for all intents and purposes this year was no different – unless of course you were Andy Irons, Taj Burrow, or Joel Parkinson. After suffering tough Round One upsets during the first day of the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley, last night all three opted for an early bedtime, and with good reason, they're all playing a desperate game of catch-up to Mick Fanning's hammerlock on the world rankings. Slated for the first three heats of the day, Irons was matched-up against Sunny Garcia, while Burrow and Parko were tested by next-generation giant killers Dane Reynolds and Jordy Smith, respectively.
If it's any consolation, the surf this morning looked about as haggard as some of the previous evening's revelers. Recent northwest winds and a lack of swell combined to put the Lowers lineup a bit on the schizophrenic state, as weird warbles and wind-swell bumps undermined what few southern-hemi pulses there were. But these are the best surfers in the world, and be it 2 feet or 10 feet, it's their job to go out there and perform, and besides, they're more than capable of making the most out of whatever they're given.
Returning to world tour competition after a brief hiatus in the Taft Correctional Institution and bearing a necklace of fresh ink that read “Death and Taxes,” more than anything Sunny Garcia just appeared to be happy to be at the beach, in the water, and surfing once again. And while the prison yard may have done wonders for his bi's and tri's, between the small, gutless surf and Andy Irons' relentlessness, he stood little chance.
Burrow and Parko wouldn't fair as well. Reynolds and Smith, who both recently qualified for the big dance next year, weren't just eager to show the world that they're freakishly talented, but that they've matured into very smart, savvy competitors. Because of the inconsistency of set waves, both heats took on the air of a chess match. In Smith's case, he held a 0.1 lead over Parko halfway through the heat when the ocean completely shut down. No waves would be ridden until there were 30 seconds left, and by then it was a case of too little too late. Thanks in part to a couple backside fins-free snaps, Reynolds advanced out of his heat against Burrow with a little more of a cushion, but it was by no means easy. With their loses Burrow and Parko have to turn their sights to Europe, Brazil, and Pipeline if they're to have any chance of catching Fanning.
Besides Quiksilver team managers discovering that at some point in recent weeks Reynolds went off and got himself a tattoo of an anchor on his chest, the rest of day two of the Boost Mobile Pro went off rather smoothly. Bobby Martinez looked sharp in the waist-high lefts, Cory Lopez fell to Shaun Cansdell in a shocker, and a couple Brazilians endulged in the meager conditions.
But for now we'll turn our attention to tomorrow's action and a few match-ups that have the potential to be absolute dogfights. Kelly Slater and Rob Machado are slated to do battle, Irons is going head-to-head with Smith, and the heat that may garner the most attention: Fanning vs. Reynolds. “He's the one with the world title hopes,” said Reynolds when asked about his chances. “I've got nothing to lose.”
BOOST MOBILE PRO ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Andy Irons (HAW) 14.66 def. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 10.77
Heat 2: Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.83 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.26
Heat 3: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.00 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.90
Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 16.07 def. Luke Munro (AUS) 5.17
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) 14.50 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 11.00
Heat 6: Neco Padaratz (BRA) 14.17 def. Daniel Wills (AUS) 7.10
Heat 7: Troy Brooks (AUS) 13.66 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.16
Heat 8: Chris Ward (USA) 15.44 def. Trent Munro (AUS) 8.67
Heat 9: Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 13.17 def. Mark Occhilupo (HAW) 12.44
Heat 10: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 14.50 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 11.87
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS)15.90 def. Dayyan Neve (AUS) 10.83
Heat 12: Victor Ribas (BRA) 16.67 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 13.77
Heat 13: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 13.83 def. Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 13.66
Heat 14: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 16.50 def. Michael Lowe (AUS) 13.33
Heat 15: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 17.17 def. Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 13.94