Surf: Head high glass this morning. Shoulder high slop tonight.
Events held: Round three and first three of round four
Nature’s call: “It goes from perfect to crap; that’s Bells” — Joel Parkinson
Predicted: Winner of Parko/Fanning quarter wins the comp“He told me he’d felt a crack somewhere in his neck, and that the pain had started shooting up into his head.” After ripping his first wave, Sunny Garcia with usual stature held rank at the top of the Bells lineup when he began to clutch his head. Was he bleeding? Had his board cracked him after that last shorebreak bash? This was when Taylor Knox paddled up and found out the above-mentioned information during their highly anticipated third round match earlier this afternoon. Respecting the seriousness of the moment, Taylor gave Sunny room for the next wave of the quickly deteriorating conditions, watching from behind as his opponent actually smacked the thing pretty good. With a snap on the sand it seemed he would paddle back out, but what happened next had the entire audience gaping with disbelief — standing for a split second after the ride, suddenly big Mr. Garcia fell to his knees. Which wasn’t the first time this happened at Bells. Remember how Richie Collins won the Bell back in ’92? He’d slipped a lumbar disk doing a snap in the shorebreak, causing him to listen to the duration of the final via PA from the paramedics trailer, where he also won the event, as his slight lead over Martin Potter was aided by a five minute flat spell. It was epic — Pottz couldn’t find a single score, and Richie rung his Bell from a stretcher. This didn’t quite happen today, but it was pretty crazy as Sunny held a slight lead over TK until the heat’s final 30 seconds, when Taylor finally, gaspingly, carved away for the win. Very cool, but it was a good thing he didn’t catch a rail. He’ll now be facing Occy in the fourth round, while currently Sunny is receiving treatment at local Geelong hospital and is in stable condition. In less dramatic news, Occy did beat new Brazilian bombshell, Raoni Monteiro 12.00 to 11.66 in a nail-gnawing breath-taker, as the rookie proved his merit pushing the OCC to a miracle finish. Leaving his beloved Bells “Bowl” with the clock ticking and needing a 6.01 to win, Occy paddled up the point to the very place he later admitted, hugely grinning, “to have never won a heat.” At high tide the “Rincon” section of Bells is a semi closed out foam-chunked line; an exact opposite canvas to the mowing power carves of Occhilupo fame. But, again, as happened many times today, with seconds on the clock a wave came to his rescue, which he slashed properly for a 6.83 and multiple claims. The other big goofyfoot didn’t have the same luck. World ratings leader Mick Lowe copped a loss to a soulful, tube-riding Pat O’Connell in heat eleven of round three. In a mostly wave-starved heat, Lowey had the undue satisfaction of watching Happy Pat sideslip into what many are calling a solid three-second barrel worth 8.{{{57}}} and what ultimately would be his deathblow. Funny, isn’t it, how one little folding section can change so much. Could that little section just have ruined Mick’s chances at a first world title? “There’s no way!” defied Mick. “Am I still a world title contender — you’d better believe it — we’re still heading into my spots, Tahiti and Fiji,” he said shaking his head. “But what I’m not so certain about was that tube, I haven’t seen one of those here in ten years. Weird.”

A lot was weird today, really. Probably the only normal things were the fact that Kelly Slater and Andy Irons absolutely destroyed their opposition. For Andy it was Ben Dunn, and for Kelly it was Adam Robertson, and for both of these pesky wildcards the blade was laid quick and painfully. For Andy it was an 8.83 gut wrench axe burial, and for Kelly it was a 9.23 master machete chop. To describe this best it’s probably summed up by what Dunn said after his heat, “Ah. . .it didn’t really happen for me, did it?” And “it” probably won’t happen either — until we get Kelly/Andy together for this final.But that’s only if Andy can get past Fanning or Parko, who’re set for our first quarterfinal. These two both surfed twice today and scored three nine point rides between them. Parko’s actually scored a nine in every heat he’s surf thus far, meaning he’s one bad, slack-armed man, like one of those sketchy mafia hit men who do all the dirty work with ease and show no emotion. He does smile a lot though, like when he chucked the fire-spitting backhander, Mick Campbell, right out of the water (figuratively speaking of course). Not figuratively speaking, though, is a fact that these cats do some nice figure eights, this Fanning and Parko. If someone is going to beat one of these two, they better surf filthy enough to make us scream.— Hagan KelleyRip Curl Pro Round Three Heats (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,225)
{{{H1}}}: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 15.33 def. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 9.6
{{{H2}}}: Michael Campbell (AUS) 16.33 def. Victor Ribas (BRA) 12.9
{{{H3}}}: Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 17.0 def. Darren O’Rafferty (AUS) 15.57
H4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 18.1 def. Troy Brooks (AUS) 9.33
H5: Toby Martin (AUS) 11.83 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 9.5
H6: Jake Paterson (AUS) 15.74 def. Beau Emerton (AUS) 15.23
H7: Luke Egan (AUS) 16.67 def. Richard Lovett (AUS) 10.17
H8: Andy Irons (AUS) 18.5 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 8.5
H9: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.73 def. Adam Robertson (AUS) 13.5
H10: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 16.37 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 14.57
H11: Pat O’Connell (USA) 14.07 def. Michael Lowe (AUS) 12.0
H12: Daniel Wills (AUS) 17.1 def. Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 10.67
H13: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.0 def. Luke Hitchings (AUS) 13.03
H14: Paulo Moura (BRA) 12.33 def. Lee Winkler (AUS) 11.27
H15: Taylor Knox (USA) 11.83 def. Sunny Garcia (HAW) 11.24
H16: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 12.0 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.66
Round Four (1st>Quarterfinals; 2nd=9th, receives US$5,000)
H1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 16.8 def. Mick Campbell (AUS) 11.5
H2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.67 def. Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 6.27
H3: Toby Martin (AUS) 13.5 def. Jake Paterson (AUS) 11.6