THE SURF KEEPS COMING: Nixon High Tide Hold 'Em Day Three

It's hard to turn down a good session at Cloudbreak, in fact, it's practically impossible, but after the third day of good waves, this morning everybody on the island was starting to feel the aches and pains of too much time under the tropical sun and, dare I say, too many waves ridden. For as much of a paradise as it is here on Tavarua, there is a price for playing. Reef cuts, sunburn, sore backs, cricked necks, and yes, even a few hangovers made this morning the slowest thus far. Eventually it all catches up, and everybody's feeling it today.

Click here to view photos from the Nixon High Tide Hold ‘Em.

"You just go and go until you can't go any more," told Dane Ward at breakfast over a plate of fresh fruit and bacon. "Nobody wants to waste any second here."

The only thing that hasn't gone according to plan is the fishing. For whatever reason, the tuna just aren't biting. Every afternoon a fleet of skiffs have been dispatched to the various nooks and crannies on the surrounding reefs, but so far the only animal that's been caught worthy of note is the seven-foot hammerhead Tito Ortiz wrestled in. Talk about a good match-up: One of the best fighters in the world versus one of the best preditors in the world. It's like Godzilla versus Mothra or something.

But there's plenty of food on the island, so unsuccessful fishing missions is of little consequence. The big news is that there's another, bigger swell on the way for Thursday. Thank god for surf forecasting. Everybody here would probably still be in forth mode if it wasn't for the knowledge that a bigger, better swell is in route. So, while everybody here nurses their wounds they can do so with relatively little guilt.