"God damn Internet! Healey, why'd you have to show us that web site with the gay surfer on it," hollered Ian Walsh, rushing out into the Quiksilver house's backyard fronting Pipeline with a handful of Pipe regulars. "You made us miss everything."
And what a show they missed. After a relatively benign start to the 2007 Pipe Masters, and by benign I'm talking four-foot Pipe with Andy, Mick and all the usual suspects standing and delivering, which is still enough to captivate just about every haole sitting on the beach, it wasn't until the eighth heat of the day that the sparks really started to fly.
In the dying seconds, needing only a 1.7 to move into second place and advance into Round 3, Sunny Garcia, who received a wild card into the main event, paddled for a mid-size set wave that held promise, got in a tangle with Neco Padaratz, went over the falls with the Brazilian and came up, ummm, lets say a bit agitated. All right, a little frustration is one thing, but after Neco quickly slipped his leash off, swam for his life and hitched a ride in on the water patrol's jet ski, Sunny followed in hot pursuit, going so far as to chase him all the way up the beach and into judges' scaffolding. In the end, for his own safety, police had to escort Neco out of the area. And Sunny? Well, lets just leave it that he ended up with a third place finish in the heat. After all, I'm here for a few more days and I'm hoping not to go the way of Neco.
An altercation in the water is one thing, and the attention it garnered from those on the beach was predictable given the monotony of the action in the water. But like the nude knucklehead that streaks the field during the World Series while the TV network cuts to commercial, in all of the post contest coverage for the day there wasn't one mention of the tussle in any of the ASP's media releases. Forget the fact that hundreds of thousands of people watched it all unfold live online, if you missed the webcast, according to the ASP, the Sunny/Neco situation never happened.
But enough of that, it's all insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and anyway, Sunny ultimately called Neco a few hours later and, as they say, buried the hatchet. The real story of the event thus far has been the format. "I don't know what's going on," admitted Fred Patacchia. "I figure as long as I win my heat I'm safe."
Follow this breakdown if you can: Today 12 four-man Round 1 heats were run. From there, the 12 first place finishers, along with the four highest second place finishers, will advance straight to Round 4. The remaining eight second place finishers and eight highest third place finishers will negotiate Round 3 and the remaining four third place finishers and the 12 forth place finishers will meet the 16 trialist seeds in Round 2.
Hope you got that. And keep in mind I didn't mention the fact that there are overlapping heats and a few other things. The results are below, so it's up to you to sort out your own Fantasy Surfer results. There's a chance the contest may run tomorrow, and other than that there looks like there may be a slight pulse on tap for Friday. Stay tuned.
Billabong Pro Round 1 Heat Results:
Heat 1: Andy Irons (HAW) 17.50, Cory Lopez (USA) 14.66, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 11.90, Tiago Pires (PRT) 4.03
Heat 2: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 12.60, Tim Reyes (USA) 9.73, Bobby Martinez (USA) 8.26, Leonardo Neves (BRA) 5.0
Heat 3: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.06, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 10.17, Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 8.43, Daniel Wills (AUS) 6.30
Heat 4: Gabe Kling (USA) 11.50, Luke Stedman (AUS) 11.34, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 5.90, Damien Hobgood (USA) 2.77
Heat 5: Laurie Towner (AUS) 11.57, Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.10, Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 8.00, Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 2.67
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.96, Kelly Slater (USA) 6.36, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 4.60, Kalani Chapman (HAW) 2.80
Heat 7: Bruce Irons (HAW) 9.50, T.J Barron (HAW) 7.30, Taj Burrow (AUS)6.17, Chris Ward (USA) 1.38
Heat 8: Neco Padaratz (BRA) 7.50, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 5.87, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 4.96, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 3.94
Heat 9: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 8.84, Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 7.50, Michael Campbell (AUS) 4.87, Michael Lowe (AUS) 3.60
Heat 10: Josh Kerr (AUS) 9.73, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 7.93, Luke Munro (AUS) 3.80, Taylor Knox (USA) 2.80
Heat 11: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.00, Victor Ribas (BRA) 8.86, Troy Brooks (AUS) 5.77, Kai Otton (AUS) 4.54
Heat 12: Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.67, Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 11.47, Dayyan Neve (AUS) 10.76, Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 8.87