Photos by Jimmicane
He's been on tour longer than Justin Bieber's been alive but Taylor Knox today proved he was as relevant as ever.
In trying conditions, the man whose style was as current in 1994 (when he debuted) as it is today racked up the day's highest combined total (14.5). Including the day's highest scoring ride; an 8.5 that saw two trademark forehand hacks.
It signaled a return to form for the Californian, who received 33rds in J-Bay and Tahiti.
"The 33rd was frustrating in J-Bay and the 33rd in Teahupoo, I didn't really have any big mistakes there, I just didn't get any opportunity. When that happens, you don't beat yourself up over it, you just move on. I'm just fortunate and to do well at home in front of friends and family is an extra bonus."
The day's other standout was Mod Coll member Dusty Payne but it was still a long way from his pre-tour billings.
“I haven't surfed well on tour this year. I've just felt so stiff. I can't let loose. It's these big contests and all these people watching and all this stuff happening. I watch Dane surf and I get so inspired and then I get out there and…yeah," the Hawaiian said after his win over Jeremy Flores.
Asked what the remedy for his poor run of form is, Dusty says it's simple.
"I've just gotta surf more, go on more trips and get my feet in the wax."
Other winners in round two included Owen Wright, Tiago Pires and Luke Stedman.
But the day's highlights would come during the expression session after the contest. The predicted swell began to fill in, albeit from a wonky direction, sending four foot peaks ashore. Dane attempted a single backside board varial and nailed it. It was good enough to make most modern surf movies. Sixteen year old, Kolohe Andino jacked a lofted slob air reverse, Pat Gudauskas stuck a rodeo and Slater copped a board to the chest from a punter once the expression session ended.
"Imagine [if he was injured] and I didn't have to surf against him tomorrow," said his round three opponent, Gabe Kling. – Jed Smith