EVENTS HELD MONDAY: Heats 9-16 of the round of 96 and all of Mens Round of 64
CONDITIONS: 3-4 foot and the rights return to Haleiwa.
NATURE’S CALL: She's beginning to stretch out a bit. Let's hope the workout continues through Tuesday.
PREDICTIONS: Andy vs. Fanning vs Taj vs Parko. in the final. The four dueling on the Haleiwa right would be one of the greatest 4-man showdowns ever.
You could almost sense the fear in the competitor's area on Monday. It marked the entrance of the WCT seeded surfers into the event, and the WQS surfers who have been scrapping their way through the event, finally met their ultimate test: the Top 44. Some succeeded in tackling their heroes. Some buckled under the pressure. But they were all taking notes.
Entering the ring first was Joel Parkinson. He strolled into the competitors tent smooth and calm as always. He then proceeded to make quick work of the competition despite falling on a few air attempts. Following Parko, in complete contrast was Chris Ward. Wardo was late and leash-less as he paddled out. His wax even looked slippery on a few, but it didn't seem to bother him because he locked into a 9.1 to seal the deal, "My fin was cracked out there, too. So pretty stoked to get through." Not bad considering all the factors going against him. Unfortunately for Wardo, his backup board didn't pull through in his next heat and he was eliminated.
However, most of the nails competitors made it through, including Mick Fanning who showed up with a bag of ice and a thumb covered in blue tape, "I think it's from doing too many pushups," he said jokingly. "Nah, but really it smashed into me board this morning." Fanning looked flawless and the hand didn't slow him down a bit.
Andy Irons showed that he's still got some fire burning regardless of his current 5th place rating on the WCT. He took down Hawaiian powerhouse Sunny Garcia despite a couple devastatingly powerful gouges into the rights. Sunny wasn't able to lock in a second solid wave for advancement. Heitor Alves of Brazil was able to come out on top of Sunny as well as the dominating up and comer Jordy Smith. He was as psyched as could be coming in after his heat and couldn't put down his shaka.
WQS competitors who had big advancements today were Ben Bourgeois, Joel Centeio, and Kai Otton. They all need good results at Haleiwa, but with the momentum they gained today, hopefully they can keep their WCT dreams alive.
[Special thanks to Tradewinds U Drive car rentals. tradewindsudrive.com.]