Surf: 20′ on the east side;1-3′ and limping at Haleiwa
Rounds Held: Quarters through Finals of Womens; Men’s round of 64
Nature’s Call: You should never have said, “At least it can’t get any worse.”
Predicted: A lot of smashed weather radios.
“I think everyone should just go out and have some fun.”That was Melanie Bartels’ “pearl of wisdom” before paddling into the Roxy Pro final against Sofia Mulanovich, Samantha Cornish and Tita Tavares. Easy for her to say. Already sitting first on the ‘QS charts, it wouldn’t matter how hard Tita Tavares or Sam Cornish tried to punch their way to the Roxy crown. And it wouldn’t even matter that, despite the dramatic clash, she finished second to an even more on-fire Sofia Mulanovich, who patiently selected a pair of high-scoring lefts, carved them into big scores, and went into a loving crowd screaming, “Sofi! Sofi!” Melanie could simply unload, putting in big moves — including some of the fastest backhand snaps imaginable a grand finale reverse — and know she’d still land on top of the charts. That’s because life is always “fun” when you’re a winner. And let’s face it: whether or not you win or lose at Haleiwa, if you’ve locked in a spot on next year’s WCT, you’re a winner. Everyone else is . . .well if not a loser, they’re at least a winner in the making. And today was a tough day for winners in the making, mostly at the hands of the very ranks they hoped to join.

Portugal’s Tiago Pires. Spain’s Aneko Ecero and South Africa’s Paul Canning all felt the sting of ‘CT experience, as did America’s last remaining hopefuls. Despite a fierce fight, Bobby Martinez couldn’t overcome Danilo Costa and Troy Brooks, who made today’s mucky, wind-shattered conditions look like oil-greased racetracks. And in even worse news, after a glorious battle yesterday and very close heat this afternoon, Chris Ward lost to Trent Munro and Tom Whitaker, two surfers all-too-familiar with the WQS and unwilling to return. With that loss, Ward’s now fallen at least two spots, and vulnerable to dropping even more.But, hey, let’s be optimistic! Brazil’s stoked to have Peterson Rosa and Renan Rocha back on board; there’s always a chance Whit, Tim Curran and other low-ranking ‘CTers will win both Pipe and Sunset to leave a few more spaces open for Wardo. And, if not, at least the angry soul-surfer crowd can continue to use Chris as undisputable evidence for the argument that “contests don’t prove anything.” (With Bruce Irons already on, you know they were even beginning to doubt themselves.)Besides, like the ladies said: surfing’s about fun. And you know what, they may be right. Because today, if you wanted to see the best surfing, you looked for the guys with little more to gain than a good ride. With the exception of pitbull Hawaiians Jesse Merle Jones, Love Hodel, Brian Pacheco and Fred Patacchia — all of whom are in the hunt for the Triple Crown, the biggest prize in Hawaiian pride — the best shows today were by surfers with a spot on next year’s tour and a relaxed, ready-to-risk gleam in their eyes. Andy Irons attempted, and nearly pulled, two air-reverses. 2004 sure bet Eric Rebiere connected one blistering score with a flowing 360. And solidly ranked Tim Curran turned in the highest score of the event so far, powering a filthy first turn, gliding across a heaving section than slamming a home a giant-double grab, landing tail first and twisting around to seal a 9.73, the highest score of the event so far.