Surf: Overhead and clean
Events held: Round two and first four of round three
Nature’s call: Let’s do this
Predicted: Peak of the swell, tomorrow Unlike most professional sports, where the star athletes have a whole day to prep for the event, pro surfing is a sport of the dawn. It’s one of those natural aspects of our act that cash and clamor can’t remove. But that doesn’t mean most surfers enjoy getting up; they just have to. That’s the case for world number three, Kieren Perrow and wildcard, Bruce Irons first thing this morn when they meet for this first heat of double elimination, before they can even get a simple cup of Joe. For the Aussie, this one leaves a worst taste than Foldger’s when The Bruce cracks him in the last 10 seconds with a mid-bowl left that goes: hack-hack-credit-card air-float for a suspicious 8.50 when he needs an 8.43. Nevertheless, Bruce’s nerve-wracked support crew go wild. Taj Burrow probably never sleeps since he warms up with an 8.0 inside right like it’s nothing at all. Tim Curran looks pretty good, too, but underneath, he’s having board troubles in the form of an unflatteringly straight rail. It may have something to do with what Taj’s doing to him — making a joke of both his scores, eliminating them and, leaving him helplessly in need of a combined 17.17. While the sun climbs a bit higher, Brazilian, Fabio Gouveia devastates recent J-Bay runner-up, Damien Hobgood with 15 years tour experience and Curren-esque form. Then the boys start showing up. A big clash is on its way: Shane Dorian vs. Daniel Wills, as Jake “Snake” Paterson proves, running up calling, “What’s happened; what’ve I missed?” This one hits right to the heart. Two doubtless freak talents, both toward the end of careers come a little too soon; neither with a world title and, it’s kind of sad, really. You can see it in their fellow tour mates, so willing to cheer them on. A win in this heat or eventhe event, will surely be a consolation prize. Dorian wins. Kalani Robb may also know the feeling, so he combos Beau Emerton in the next heat with 16.67 worth of power surfing. The boys are really on it today. Occy will say, “Right — have at it, right there,” when he cheers on Lee Winkler, Nathan “Noodles” Webster or some other young countryman, here, and Nathan Hedge will roar, “On ya, Davo,” there. These guys are just one big happy family. They all know the strain of gone through motion and the hunt for glory. Chris “Davo” Davidson probably knows it better than most, riding just below superstar radar for the past 10 years now — there’s a kind of tension in his act; an immediacy. Kalani Robb shows it, too. It’s in the way they ride standing erect when finishing a big score. Do they need to be noticed?
Davo’s opponent, Shane Powell has been there too. But right now Davo is forced to stand tall from his last smash to air combo; he needs this 9.0. Deep down, Powelly is still a similar breed. This is the strongest heat of the day so far, with the long right walls maybe resembling some hidden New South Wales point. Davidson’s win resembles something Pat O’ Connell said after finishing off “Noodles” a few heats before: “Had I lost I’d have been so pissed, because I knew I was doing everything right.” These guys love this stuff because they know it nearly drives them nuts.