Surf: Six to ten feet nasty perfection
Events held: Rest of Round Two through heat fourteen of Round Three
Nature’s call: Dawn patrol
Predicted: An Andy/Kelly finals showdown

What a surreal day. With strong southerly swell lines crowding every inch of the Teahupo’o reef pass, had you wrapped it in a frame it could have sold as abstract art. And there must be few instances where such worlds collide so completely, man’s heart for sport with God’s hand of abundance. It’s absolutely absurd, with the boats and jet skis, and sickening gas fumes mingled with fragrance of the land blown in the trades, all while the south swell’s pumping through in perfect math. And it’s a perfect spectacle, when you count the blood, the smashed surfboards, and the wild cheering crowd; when you count the eliminated and the proud. How can we tell you all? It would be far too much. But what we do tell, please be assured, it is all the best.

1. First, let us tell of the young Australian, Tom Whitaker, and his beautiful fall. It was only the second heat of the morning, just half to eight, when it happened. Losing to Nathan Webster with a mere thirty seconds left on the clock, he could hardly have been faulted for giving up; he could’ve looked to his next event, saved his strength, and made up excuses as to why things hadn’t gone his way. That would have been suitably human. But no, Tommy Whit’s a big boy, six feet tall and with a regular mischievous smile for all his tour mates, Powelly, Hitcho, Snake and the like, so he wasn’t going out like a chump. No the wave came at the end as it often does, the ” fire-breathing dragon” as his mates would later proclaim, and the WCT rookie was ready to fly. Just barely surviving the cliffhanger drop you could literally feel his fingernails digging into the outside rail, trying to pull him under the hook that was launching directly toward his head. Hoping to adjust he pulled down a tad only to watch the mutant lip sink its gruesome fangs squarely to the nose of his board. Have you ever watched a big kid double-bounce a smaller kid on a trampoline? And worse, have you seen the big bully do it when the little guy didn’t expect it? Well, that’s the great thing this six- foot wave did to Tom, and over dry reef, if you can only imagine.

2. Next we have the biggest wave of the day, a ten to twelve footer rode by {{{CJ}}} Hobgood. Had this wave bucked any heavier he’d have had to worn a pair of leather chaps. Seriously, it was close to tow in status. It sucked off the reef just like Laird’s wave, in that you knew one mistake would equal a ride to the hospital. But make no mistake here: CJ Hobgood has other plans then that. He and twin bro Damien are both in the fourth round now and both should be strong contenders for a spoiler’s win. And if CJ has big dog honors for the day, then Damien won the golden tube rider award. It’s doubtless that he shot the longest curtain of anyone today, besides Kelly Slater. But that’s a different story all together.

3. Kelly Slater is a study in determination. Bruce Irons had already lost to Occy in the closest rip ride of the day when Slater came to watch big bro Andy in his bout with local trials winner, Heimata Carroll. ” Is Heimata good?” he asked local Manoa Drollet. ” Yes, he’s a really good tube rider,” answered Drollet, nodding as AI grabbed his first wave. Kelly’s eyes panned in, watching close every movement of the current world champ, as he pumped certainly through probably an eight- point throat. Then, boom! He’s clipped violently by an end section wind pinch and driven head first for the reef. ” Ouch,” Kelly gasped and then began to pace. In the end Irons gets what he needs with a couple of nice ones and lives to fight again. But something in Kelly’s eyes said he’d seen an opening.

4. Which is our main theme for today’s story. Kelly Slater started his third round heat in the same gnarly fashion as Andy did yesterday; with the best wave of the day, only this time it wasn’t a 9.93, but a 10. Actually, today, Kelly’s backup wave was a 9.93. And there probably aren’t enough words invented to describe his ten. Let’s just call it an eight-second no hands CAVERN to be exact. Let’s just call it gangsta, like if Fifty Cent or somebody saw surfing for the first time, then that’s what they’d have said: ” That’s gangsta!” And you can bet Andy can’t wait to pump up the volume. Stay tuned . . .Hagan Kelley

Billabong Pro Teahupoo Round Three (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,225)
{{{H1}}}: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 15.47 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 14.8
3H2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.73 def. Pat O'Connell (USA) 7.24
{{{H3}}}: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 12.66 def. Phil MacDonald (AUS) 2.84
H4: Taylor Knox (USA) 16.17 def. Greg Emslie (ZAF) 7.5
H5: Troy Brooks (AUS) 13.27 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.34
H6: Sunny Garcia (HAW) 16.33 def. Paulo Moura (BRA) 11.6
H7: Lee Winkler (AUS) 7.9 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 4.9
H8: Andy Irons (HAW) 12.17 def. Heimata Carroll (PYF) 10.83
H9: Hira Teriinatoofa (PYF) 16.17 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.16
H10: CJ Hobgood (USA) 16.4 def. Richie Lovett (AUS) 5.5
H11: Trent Munro (AUS) 11.33 def. Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 3.67
H12: Daniel Wills (AUS) 18.87 def. Nathan Webster (AUS) 13.4
H13: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.93 def. Alain Riou (PYF) 9.93
H14: Peterson Rosa (BRA) 17.23 def. Mick Campbell (AUS) 10.17

Remaining Round Three Heats (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receives US$4,225)
H15: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tim Curran (USA)
H16: Luke Egan (AUS) vs. Kalani Robb (HAW)
Round Two Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
H9: Luke Egan (AUS) 15.5 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.5
H10: Nathan Webster (AUS) 11.46 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.{{{57}}}
H11: Nathan Hedge (AUS) 18.84 def. Beau Emerton (AUS) 16.3
H12: Damien Hobgood (USA) 16.7 def. Neco Padaratz (BRA) 13.74
H13: Michael Campbell (AUS) 16.0 def. Marcelo Nunes (BRA) 6.5
H14: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.63 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.83
H15: Peterson Rosa (BRA) 9.0 def. Toby Martin (AUS) 8.7
H16: Lee Winkler (AUS) 15.84 def. Darren O'Rafferty (AUS) 6.66