Surf: Six feet, pitting, and picking up through the day
Events held: Rest of Men’s Round One; through Heat {{{Eight}}}, Round Two
Nature’s call: Thank God for barrels
Predicted: Bigger pits, brah

Andy Irons paddled back to the boat, shaking his head slowly. ” I only needed one wave!” he said in response to his cheering friends, and unable to hide a smile of satisfied astonishment; one that seemingly implied, ” Is it really this easy?” Thirty seconds into the heat the wave came, six feet, deep, and bullet-aimed for the channel, the kind of wave surf kids dream of if only they knew how intensely difficult one is to make — and backside, for that matter. And as Andy paddled into it, it looked as though he were just having his morning stretch. Yawn. “Third heat of the morning, just getting the kinks out and ah, yes: this should be a good one. Paddle, calm, calm aaannd THERE! There’s the old familiar coral heads sucking dry with the water moving smooth and swift up and under my board, ready to pitch. Yes, there’s my line, so it’s up and one pump, steady, two aaannd, tuck down low, secure the outside rail in the wind tunnel aaannd, cast the magic fingers for some style coming out, throw the big wrap and fly out the back. Oh yeah.”

I wonder if that’s anything like what goes through Andy’s still dry head when his first wave is the best of the whole day? The judges gave it a 9.93 (to go with a backup six), but it surely spoke of bigger things.

“That’s it,” called big Kai Garcia shrugging his huge Jiu Jitsu formed shoulders, motioning to Andy, ” He’s gonna’ win it; there’s just no way, it’s got to be him or Bruce.” Watching AI being escorted via jet- ski to a boatload of reporters, you couldn’t help but be stunned by his talent. Today Brazilian Neco Padaratz surfed his first heat out here in two years, since being trapped to the reef by his leash, nearly drowned, and vowing never to surf here again. That’s Teahupo’o. Just one of the many waves AI absolutely takes apart. The one of which Neco, the fiery competitor, admitted humbly after losing, “I’m very happy just to be here; just to ride this wave again.” A lot of guys are happy to be here, too, and to rip — guys like KELLY SLATER — but even he must be feeling the vibe coming off the world champ. The vibe that says, ” That’s it; he’s gonna’ win it.” Could that be detrimental to the usual Kelly confidence? Or, is it more fun for him now with the extra competition, with all the Andy’s and Brucie’s and the like? After winning a slow heat for him (only one eight pointer) he said, truthfully, “Sometimes; but only when I win.”

Which is what he’ll need to do if he’s to stop A. Irons’ monumental third world title run now in progress. One advantage he has is that Bruce is on Andy’s side of the draw, so BI could cancel his older brother out if they meet in the semis, although, another semi won’t exactly hurt old Andy’s title chances either. A number of guys put the shred down today, Kalani Robb, Taylor Knox, we had tons of guys getting big tubes and big scores, but no one’s coming on as clean as the Irons Bros. in this comp. And with the surf getting bigger we should only expect more of the same. Hagan Kelley

Remaining Billabong Pro Teahupoo Round One Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
H6: Alain Riou (PYF) 15.33; Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.5; Taylor Knox (USA) 11.74
H7: Richard Lovett (AUS) 14.14; Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 13.53; Michael Lowe (AUS) 13.16
H8: Andy Irons (HAW) 15.93; Nathan Hedge (AUS) 3.17; Heimata Carroll (PYF) 13.34
H9: Taj Burrow (AUS) 10.17; Shane Powell (AUS) 9.37; Neco Padaratz (BRA) 8.67
H10: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.17; Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) 11.5; Michael Campbell (AUS) 10.17
H11: Trent Munro (AUS) 14.5; Dean Morrison (AUS) 13.77; Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.0
H12: Troy Brooks (AUS) 18.03; Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 16.5; Paulo Moura (BRA) 12.56
H13: Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 16.33; Daniel Wills (AUS) 14.4; Eric Rebiere (FRA) 11.0
H14: Sunny Garcia (HAW) 18.27; Luke Egan (AUS) 14.23; Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.0
H15: Kalani Robb (HAW) 14.67; Cory Lopez (USA) 7.8; Tom Whitaker (AUS) 7.16
H16: Pat O’Connell (USA) 11.0; Beau Emerton (AUS) 10.34; Nathan Webster (AUS) 2.97

Round Two (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
{{{H1}}}: Heimata Carroll (PYF) 14.4 def. Michael Lowe (AUS) 9.84 {{{H2}}}: Taylor Knox (USA) 18.2 def. Shane Powell (AUS) 15.0
{{{H3}}}: Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) 14.74 def. Jake Paterson (AUS) 14.1
H4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.67 def. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 16.4
H5: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 15.4 def. Victor Ribas (BRA) 13.0
H6: Dean Morrison (AUS) 17.23 def. Luke Hitchings (AUS) 16.17
H7: Paulo Moura (BRA) 11.33 def. Armando Daltro (BRA) 1.0
H8: Danny Wills (AUS) 10.67 def. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 10.0