SURF: One-to-two feet and offshore
NATURE’S CALL: Suffer, you heap of jaded tourists
PREDICTION: Decent pulse for the weekendBruce Brown wasn’t kidding. That old prankster, in his cheeseball commentary for Endless Summer II, said one could circumnavigate the island of Tavarua on foot in merely 15 minutes, and that’s exactly how long it takes, even at a leisurely clip under the midday sun. There wasn’t much else to do on the tiny island today. With barely a schwackable wave to be found, it was an obvious call for Quiksilver Pro Director Rod Brooks. A lay day.”You haven’t missed much,” announced C.J. Hobgood as your correspondent arrived on Tavarua this morning four days late. A round-and-a-third had been decided during the previous days, leaving 43 of 48 surfers still in contention. Only wildcards Tom Carroll (thanks in part to a hip injury), Fred Patacchia and Travis Logie, as well as Mark Occhilupo and Tim Curran, had received the unceremonious boot thus far. The rest of the ASP Top Fortysomething remained.But where were they? What do the gods of the sport do on a deserted island when it’s flat or close to it?A few ventured out to waist-high Cloudbreak, where they scrapped over inconsistent sets while fending off sea lice. The only incident of note came as Mick Lowe plowed over photographer Pete Frieden who was trying to compensate for the lack of size with some underwater creativity. Lowey emerged minus a fin while Frieden earned a golfball-sized lump on his noggin. Meanwhile, your intrepid reporter’s exploration of the island offered no hints on the whereabouts of the rest of the world’s best surfers. It did, on the other hand, put the place in perspective. Upon being deposited on the beach in front of Restaurants for the first time, there comes an overwhelming need to go walkabout, especially when there’s no surf to speak of. The island truly does appear to be heaven on earth. Picture the ideal island paradise, and chances are it’s not far from Tavarua. There’s nothing but ocean, reef, jungle foliage, and a bit of sea life. As pristine as it is, there was little sense in walking the island again. Once is enough to last a lifetime. Fortunately, it was time for lunch.

Bingo! At least half of the event’s field was there, gorging themselves on fish tacos. “I’ve been sleeping all morning,” admitted Pat O’Connell between bites, “and I’m going right back to sleep after this.” So that’s how these guys spend waveless days in what would otherwise be considered the ultimate setup: they sleep.With 10 days left of the waiting period, three are needed to complete the contest. A decent swell is predicted for the weekend, but the forecast shows no major swell event on the horizon. Until then, your favorite surfers will go fishing, send emails, eat and sleep. The novelty of such a scenic setting has long lost its luster for these fellows. If there are no waves, paradise no longer carries much weight. According to Cory Lopez, “I don’t know how many more days of this I can take.”— Jason BorteUpcoming Round Two HeatsHeat 6: Shea Lopez v Luke Stedman
Heat 7: Cory Lopez v Tom Whitaker
Heat 8: Shane Dorian v Chris Davidson
Heat 9: Daniel Wills v Toby Martin
Heat 10: Neco Padaratz v Victor Ribas
Heat 11: Pat O’Connell v Fabio Gouveia
Heat 12: Taylor Knox v Nathan Webster
Heat 13: Luke Hitchings v Darren O’Rafferty
Heat 14: Nathan Hedge v Armando Daltro
Heat 15: Danilo Costa v Shane Powell
Heat 16: Phillip MacDonald v Flavio Padaratz
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