There were such high hopes for the Quiksilver Pro. And sure, the surfing has most definitely delivered, but since last week the talk of the event has been the pending swell..that still hasn't shown. By last Friday night it was supposed to be filling in, then come the weekend it was supposed to be too big for Snapper and the contest site was supposed to hit the road and head down to Kirra. But, as is often the case in this computer-model world in which we surf, expectations exceeded reality and for the past few days organizers have been kicking the sand trying to figure out whatever happened to the waves.
This isn't to say it's been flat, and if you've seen photos or video from the event thus far you're probably scratching your head, figuring it's still better than your home break. After all, it's been a fun-size, contestable three-feet with the occasional plus set. It's just that wasn't the roping, below-sea-level tube riding shoot-out some were hoping.
"It's a tough place to forecast," explained Quiksilver's Mark Warren, while waiting for the tide to drop out this morning. "Because of the long continental shelf, when you get low pressure systems that form closer to shore to the east it's really hard to tell what the swell's going to do."
But the performances by the world's best have been such that it could have been a one-foot, onshore afternoon in Huntington and it still would have been exciting. Today Kelly Slater kept marching on. Although it seemed as if he was pacing himself, surfing at maybe 80% of the full Slater capacity, it was impressive to watch him build his heat. Time and again he's proven to be the best in the world when it comes to heat strategy. He starts out with a five on his first wave, turns the next wave into a seven or eight, then the next thing his poor opponent knows he's unleashed the fury and run away with yet another heat.
Also worthy of note was Andy Irons' showing. Surfing with a casual, relaxed style, the three-time world champ seems to be in complete control. He's physically as fit as he's ever been, and his surfing continues to gain both confidence and power. After losing his Round One heat, as time goes on he's definitely proving to be a contender. The only hitch with that is that because Andy and Kelly find themselves on the same side of the draw they could meet in the semis, and if history has told us anything, we're bound to see some fireworks.
The word on the street is that the contest will finish on Tuesday—or Monday if you're reading this stateside. The mid week forecast isn't looking so hot, which means it'll probably be pumping. On way or the other, stay tuned, we've got one more day to go.