On the North Shore, when it rains it pours…literally. It’s pouring now, in fact, like a compassionate god crying tears of relief after a wild Thursday at Sunset Beach, during which no one died and Tanner Gadauskas finally qualified for the 2010 World Tour. In surf so big it looked more suited to Théodore Géricault’s “The Raft of The Medusa” than contestable conditions for a major WQS event, Tanner surfed like a wild animal backed into a corner—paddling deep, dropping in on unmake-able sections, and bearing his big, beautiful choppers when he got back to the beach. In fact, arriving back on terra firma after the heat, Tanner had no idea he’d won until SURFER Photo Editor Grant Ellis informed the San Clementite he was heading to the big show. Tanner later said, “It was like Wild Rivers out there; I didn’t know what was going on.”
Thursday wasn’t only about Tanner—Sunny Garcia won both his Round of 64 and Round of 32 heats on an 8’4″ that he made looks like a 5’11″—but I’ve become mildly obsessed with the dynamics of a brother triad and the potential family strife that could emerge if one of bros doesn’t qualify and the other two do…which is the current scenario. Hang in there Dane—only one more year on the Sisyphusian WQS.
After watching the morning heats at Sunset, I returned to the SURFER Dream Home at Pupukea to watch the rest of the comp on our 60-inch flat screen as I stuffed my face with chicken sandwiches and nacho cheese Doritos. Oh yeah, the event’s being broadcast on TV.
Around two o’clock the SURFER staff made its way to the opening ceremony of the Quiksilver in Memory of Eddie Aikau, where Swell Fever was spreading like H1N1 on a crowded Boeing 747. Freddy Patacchia told me that a very famous big-wave charger (to remain nameless here) told him that “the swell that’s coming will be the biggest on our lifetime.” I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you get the idea. One gets a feeling that those dusty, brown Waimea guns are gonna get wet this year, or maybe that just the fever talking?