One wave. That's what it took today. First heat. First wave. Taj Burrow sinks in and disappears for, what, 10? 15? Some are saying 20 seconds? Will someone please check the video replay? Somehow, yes, there's video replay way out here in the jungle. In middle of nowhere and the blazing heat. Chugging water and broadcasting live. Anyway, Taj claimed that the wave was one of the best barrels of his life (he's been saying that a lot lately, though, hasn't he?). Shoulda been a Perfect 10, but posting a 9.8 sure woke the judges up.
The point is: these waves are Tens. And it's amazing to watch. Three epic straight days in the blazing, blazing, blazing heat, with the best heavy shredders in the world just murdering the most rippable, shackable 6-foot sandbar joy you've ever seen. Over and over again. Forever.
And we wish we could just leave it at that.
Seriously. Just check the replay.
Seriously. Are you kidding me?
But, OK, we know that if you've even read this far you're probably pretty frothing to know what happened, so we'll remember whatever of the insanity this post-game heat stroke allows.
Now, you heard about Taj's barrel, right? Like, 40 or 50 seconds, I think. Yeah, OK, sorry.
It took one wave for Kelly Slater to put Kekoa "Tank" Becalso against the ropes. Moments into the heat and three tubes diced by a couple lacerating gouges, Slater was already controlling the tone. Tank became a serious threat with a couple huge barrels, but the ocean went flat before he could bag another. Tank's got new cool tank stickers on his boards. And a wristband that he claims allows him to completely wreck his entire hotel if he chooses to do so tonight. Look out for the damage report.
Andy Irons only surfed one wave. Half a wave, really. He fell off mid-madness and still impressed the judges enough for a 9.5. He took off deeper, smashed it harder then carved out so huge there was barely enough wave left for his burning hunger to just smash that thing up. Then he didn't surf any more waves. None of them were really up to standard for what he wanted to do to them. You could almost sense the waves cowering out on the ocean. Waiting out the clock. They left him alone. Jihad did, too, basically. And in the end, AI grabbed a couple of helpless backup waves and throttled a 6 or a 7 out of them. That was easy.
Bruce pretty much sealed his heat on the first wave, too. So did Timmy Reyes, who avoided sunburn by spending nearly the entire heat inside the tube. But it seemed that most people were standing around (in the blazing, blazing, blazing heat) waiting for Mick Fanning to surf against Chris Ward, two surfers seemingly made this for exact type of wave. Two guys totally standing out in after hours freesurf sessions of every standout surfer in the world.