Surf: Variable winds, overhead and chunky
Events held: Finish Men’s round three
Nature’s call: You better be real good. . .
Predicted: Final tomorrow then, Mundaka!Welcome back. After two days of rain-outs and battened hatches, welcome back, indeed. And our world title question for today: could any of these madhouse sliders be here advantaged any way? How’s Andy Irons odds? “Ha!” Sunset legend and Quiksilver figurehead, Jeff Hakman, stares at your correspondent as though he’s a silly young, bloke, motioning his gaze out at the 6- to 8-foot unnamable wash far outside La Gravie’re. “What, compared to Kelly?” he adds, as his answer could not be more clear. “It’s like big, crazy Pine Trees out there (AI’s home grounds), clarifies his son, Ryan, knowingly. “Yeah, if it stays big, he’ll be advantaged. He’s quick; he knows how to read a wave’s power points — it gets chunky like this a lot back on Kauai,” finishes Mr. Sunset with his point.

While Andy’s out doing his job on local wildcard, Fred Robin, who can’t quite maintain his earlier world-champ waxing form, we get to chatting with the shaper of Taj Burrow — Andy’s second closest title threat. The shaper, Greg Webber, takes one eye off of the heat to consider a nice, world title alternative. “At our last event in America I could see TB coming on,” he says. “I said to him, ‘You’re starting to peak;’ he’d just smashed a particular heat, and he looked at me and said, ‘There’s still more to come.’ So, yeah, he’s just getting started. . .oh, and he has a really smooth board — or, at least that’s the theory.” Once Greg’s finished all of this, AI’s already up giving his TV interviews, and Parkinson’s midway up a beyond vertical shorepound wall — quite a place for a casual carve. And yet, the shaper has a real hopeful gleam in his eye. And why not? In another 20 minutes or so, world No. 4 Joel Parkinson is out; for the second time by basic Knox stylist and now French hero, Patrick Beven, ending the ripping Aussie’s run with double-miracle tube rides. On the sand, the polite, young Old Worlder humbly applauds the Queenslander and, taking a deep breath he says, “Yes, I’m still going; I’m ready!”

Parko articulates his stance by letting the current take him down to a dangerously shallow part of the bank, where he can take his proper floggings.So we’ve heard Andy, Taj, Parko, but what of the Slates factor? As the tide becomes perfect for freakish power surfing, we have our chance to find out. “Typical {{{Jimmy}}}!” eggs on “Hog” Hedge, as the man zooms by, 6’2″ roundy in hand. “Look at that suit,” says another — it’s an all–white pair of bloody spandex. Five minutes later, while facing a hard-charging Troy Brooks, he’s proving Hedgey absolutely right. The tube is impossible, incredible. The score: 10.00, and in about two more minutes, he’ll add a tube to impossible snap at 9.30. It’s enough to have Andy, and all crew on down, just shaking their heads. That’s right surf-fans: Typical Slater. Who has the advantage? Maybe that isn’t the real question; but who will hold the course? Taj has a great board, Andy can use the extra power and Kelly — well he’s only getting back in the water after a sprained knee. All we know for certain is that the high score is now set at 19.30, and as Kelly put it, “Each night I’m picturing my board, and the movements of my body — and exactly where I want to put them on a wave.” If a world-title final is what we want, Kelly and crew are going to give it to us.— Hagan KelleyRemaining Quiksilver Pro Round Three Heats (1st>Rnd4; 2nd=17th receivesUS$4,000)H5: Michael Lowe (Aus) 14.0 def. Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 9.67
H7: Michael Campbell (Aus) 18.67 def. Nathan Hedge (Aus) 11.17
H8: Andy Irons (Haw) 13.17 def. Frederick Robin (Fra) 11.2
H9: Patrick Beven (Fra) 17.33 def. Joel Parkinson (Aus) 14.84
H10: Trent Munro (Aus) 13.67 def. Victor Ribas (Brz) 10.5
H11: Beau Emerton (Aus) 13.{{{57}}} def. Luke Egan (Aus) 10.93
H12: Phillip MacDonald (Aus) 16.33 def. Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 14.84
H13: Kelly Slater (USA) 19.3 def. Troy Brooks (Aus) 11.17
H14: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 15.37 def. Paulo Moura (Brz) 15.1
H15: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 12.83 def. Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 11.93
H16: Shea Lopez (USA) 15.17 def. Armando Daltro (Brz) 12.93
H6: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.0 def. Chris Davidson (Aus) 13.1