Rob Machado rips his way to the final day
Events Run: Mens Rounds 4, 5, and part of 6
Nature's Call: Wake me up when the final starts.
Predictions: With 54 surfers still in the contest, one day left to finish and a massive swell en-route filling in, like, now, Sunday at Steamers could go down as one for the ages.
The swell that had us all dreaming of freight-train rights at Steamer Lane all night failed to show up once again, forcing organizers to move the contest back to sub-par Waddell Creek, at least for the morning. With an abundance of competitors left, double competition areas were set up at Waddell in an effort to grind out the remaining heats and hopefully set up what could be a memorable finals day at The Lane.
Rob Machado continued his trek towards the final, getting his work done at Waddell in hopes of some waves at the Lane. Dane Gudauskas was all smiles after posting an 8.83, one of the highest scores of the contest so far. "It was actually fun out there," said Dane. "My heat had some lefts that were good." The waves did seem to pick up throughout the day, which is why contest organizers decided to kick off Round 6 at the Lane this afternoon.
So the whole show picked up and ping-ponged back to The Lane again for the afternoon throw-down. The whole community came out to welcome the troops back from Waddell: barbecues fired up, music blasted, Santa Cruz High School Surf Team girls were grilling food up for everyone and all was right again in The Cruz. Fans lined the cliff and turned Steamer Lane into a gladiator's arena for the start of Round 6.
With a big time heat slated to kick things off – featuring the always smooth Machado, new WCT rock-star Tim Reyes, Aussie battler Heath Walker and San Diego darkhorse Zack Keenan – the stage was set for a mighty clash at NorCal's favorite right. Now all we needed were some waves. On a fat tide with only the earliest lines of the new swell strolling in, the heat started slow; that is until Timmy Reyes decided to show off a couple of his new WCT tricks, cracking into a racy one and utterly destroying it to the tune of the cheering public on the cliff. That's right, people: Wake up! The moment recharged the whole contest. From there, Machado and Reyes set the tempo for the whole contest, proving that they are definitely the guys to beat.
The waves improved dramatically as the afternoon wore on. Glassy lines broke within inches of the cliff and raced through to the inside. Ola Eleogram posted the afternoon's chart topper: an 8.83 and some of the cleanest turns of the contest so far. Josh Mulcoy used some insider trading to keep the local love alive by advancing, as well. After many of Santa Cruz's finest fell victim to the lackluster waves at Waddell Creek, Mulcoy is left carrying the hometown hero torch.
Timmy Reyes celebrates surfing the Lane