Surf: Lined up 4-5 feet crackers, slight side shore turning to onshore later.
Event Held: Billabong Pro J-Bay
Nature’s Call: Throw us a frikken bone here.
Forecast: Going bad, lumpy onshore, swell moderating, looking for the next good pulse.

Aaargh! Another day in paradise. The pro surfing lifestyle is burglary. While the rest of the world works, starves or gets blown up we get to play in the ocean. Wake up to clear blue skies and mellow glassy waves peeling across the Supertubes. . During the night the storm swell worked itself out, leaving a more lined up, if not smaller set up in its wake. Although the waves were providing more face, a fresh North Wester was bustling up the point and giving that chop and kink to the wave. Esteemed contest director like ‘Snips’ Parsons was on it from daybreak and sent local favorite Sean Holmes to meet Taylor Knox in the first heat.

Sean was a man reborn after yesterday, knocking a disgruntled Taylor Knox out of the event in two easy waves and setting up the round three, high pressure, humdinger, deja vu three years in a row showdown with Andy Irons. “Aah dude, same contest… you know,” says Andy, wisely. “I’ve had bad luck over the years. I look forward to it.”

“It’s pretty much exactly the same position I was in last year.” Holmes chips in. “When I come up against Andy, hopefully I will have improved by 10-20% and I can match him wave for wave. I still feel like I’m struggling to find my rhythm but sometimes that’s the best way to start a contest, you just build up your momentum all the way along. I really hope that’s going to happen so I hope when the big heats come I can surf really well.”

And from then on it was like Independent’s Day out here at Supers with Australian wildcard Bede Durbidge eliminating the big, famous goofy footer from down under, Luke Egan in a very tightly contested heat.

“I rode a different board this time and it felt better,” says a chuffed Bede. “I had a good start, I was having a freesurf up at Boneyards and then I got that bomb all the way down. I couldn’t even hear that the heat had started, but I was just going to go on it anyway because it was such a good wave.”

Luke came back with the sickest, longest and cleanest tube of the day straight in front of the carpark section.

“When he got 9, I was pretty much behind the eight ball,” admits big Luke. “But I had a good comeback. I waited sixteen minutes for a 6 and nothing really came. That’s just the way it goes. My preparation for this event wasn’t great, it was flat at home, I was starting to feel like I was getting it together but still behind the eight ball.”

So Bede goes up against the enigmatic Slater in round three. “Yeah,” he lets out a nervous squeal. “I can’t wait to surf against him, he’s my favorite surfer.”

The only South African WCT campaigner, Greg Emslie pleased the crowd by moering (SA slang for ‘thrashing’) Paulo Moura, but the heat of the day was an all Hawaiian affair pitting the young, agile Bruce Irons against the older, rounder Sunny Garcia. A classic square-up of age vs youth. Despite the largest air of the compo so far, courtesy of a ballistic Bruce Irons, Sunny squeaked through in the last few minutes of the heat with his trademark power turns and deep carves.

Once again throwing his weight around to good effect in J-Bay. ‘The system nowadays is the best two waves,” explains Sunny. “So you just sit there and wait for them. At the end of the heat, I let Bruce go on one, I needed a 5 and I knew I wasn’t going to get it on that one. It’s just a matter of waiting for what you need and taking it if you get it. I took a year off, I’m still out of shape, a little overweight. For me to take too many waves is a waste of energy, I need to save up all the energy I can get.”

“I lost fair and square,” admits Brucie. “Sunny had the waves, he just surfed smarter, he waited and the waves came to him. Nothing I could do about it.”

Towards the early arvo the onshore picked up and Snips quickly abandoned the rest of round two until the conditions improve. Until, such time this hack will be fighting his way through sloppy, crowded, onshore Supers, just to catch a few, and — like the rest of you — waiting for the highly anticipated Holmes/Irons rematch. You can expect that big heat when the surfing continues, probably on Saturday, where the weather pundits are calling six feet and offshore. “It’s going to be really good on Saturday,” confirms local weatherman Mr. Holmes. And as history shows, his instincts here are usually spot-on. Andy Davis

Billabong Pro Round Two Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
{{{H1}}}: Sean Holmes (ZAF) 13.17 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 6.17
{{{H2}}}: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.66 def. Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 8.73
{{{H3}}}: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.5 def. Luke Egan (AUS) 13.67
H4: Daniel Wills (AUS) 15.17 def. Armando Daltro (BRA) 10.34
H5: Shane Beschen (USA) 14.34 def. Guilherme Herdy (BRA) 7.9
H6: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 13.83 def. Paulo Moura (BRA) 12.0
H7: Lee Winkler (AUS) 10.73 def. Eric Rebiere (FRA) 6.44
H8: Chris Davidson (AUS) 12.5 def. Victor Ribas (BRA) 11.83
H9: Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 14.66 def. Pat O'Connell (USA) 12.6
H10: Sunny Garcia (HAW) 15.43 def. Bruce Irons (HAW) 13.33
H11: Peterson Rosa (BRA) 12.97 def. Darren O'Rafferty (AUS) 11.1
Remaining Round Two Heats (1st>Rnd3; 2nd=33rd receives US$3,400)
H12: Richard Lovett (AUS) vs. Beau Emerton (AUS)
H13: Tim Curran (USA) vs. Kalani Robb (HAW)
H14: Neco Padaratz (BRA) vs. Cory Lopez (USA)
H15: Michael Campbell (AUS) vs. Marcelo Nunes (BRA)
H16: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Trent Munro (AUS)