Surf: {{{Eight}}} to 10 feet, still wobbly, but Bowling
Events Held: Round One
Nature’s Call: What? You don’t like wind? Then I give you rain.
Predicted:A dryer shortage at the local laundromat.“Why don’t these guys listen to their caddies? If they did, they’d win a lot more heats.” Event filmer and Sunset vet Mike Latronic should know. Bobbing in the channel and cradling his water housing, he’s perfectly prepared for a full day of full-throttle battles at Sunset beach. He’s sporting a longsleeve springsuit for the windchill, sitting on a foamie funboard for extra stability and — perhaps most importantly — wearing a bill-capped white helmet to help protect him from the incessant, pelting rain.As if the 8- to 10-foot semi-wash didn’t give Rip Curl Cup competitors enough water to deal with today, Mother Nature mixed in a torrential downpour, creating chaos on both land and sea. When it all started coming down around Heat Four, the army of spectators first retreated to the tents, then ran to their cars and — by heat 10, as locals busted out rafts for a trip down River Kam — sloshed home. “We knew it was going to rain,” said Rip Curl’s Adam Sharp, rain-slickered but still soaked. “But we didn’t know it was going to flood.Still, not even an ark full of animals in the lineup could have distracted the current top three, namely: Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and Mick Fanning. Yes, no one loses in the three-man first round. And no, we aren’t about to throw out world title scenarios before anyone bows out. But if you watched our contenders surf today, you’d think the entire year were riding on today’s 30-minute freebie. (Fourth-ranked Taj Burrow surfed that way, too, but he lost to Trent Munro, so he doesn’t quite fit into our angle here.)Fanning stunned ’em first with a mid-morning strategy that had failed guys like Taylor Knox and Luke Egan earlier in the day. On his opening ride, from way outside, Fanning weaved and carved to the mid section, then layed into the most vicious gouge of the event for a 9.0. “Dude!” said Oakley dude in chief Dino Andino. “Is he on a shortboard out there or what?”

Fanning followed that up with a high-and-tight tube across the Inside Bowl for a high seven, giving him the day’s top combined score. Don’t tell him he has a shave-ice’s chance in hell at winning the title.Andy’s in much better shape in the odds department, but he didn’t surf that way. On his first wave, he pulled into the meanest, double-up mutant of the morning and watched his brand-new 7’3″ snap under his feet. It was down to his 7’1″ after that, and he went into a wave-catching blur of big, vertical lippers, tube stalls and giant snaps, none of them on the same wave. “That was chaos,” said Andy, still a little anxious after grinding out a win. “I just got here last night, I’m all out of it and then I break my board on my first wave. Good thing there were so many waves out there to get my legs back.”So, Fanning was calm, Andy was chaos and Slater was. . .nervous? According to Slater and his caddy, Doug Silva, he sure was. Maybe it was Fanning’s stellar performance the heat prior. Maybe it was the knowledge that, as the current points leader and The Man, he knew everyone on that rain-soaked beach expected him to go out and make magic once again. Whatever it was, he sat in the competitor’s area with his companion, Lisa Ann, and studied it longer than usual, asking questions and seeking advice. But like Latronic observed from the channel, it’s always best to listen to your caddy. Which is exactly what Slater did. First, on board choice: Silva recommended a 7’2” baby swallow that he had borrowed but Slater had never ridden. “It rides like a 7’4″,” he told his friend. “Just surf it on the tail.”Next, when both Jake Paterson and Manoa Drollet had strong opening rides to Slater’s goose egg after the first 10 minutes, Silva told him to relax, hang on the Bowl and start catching some waves.Then it clicked. A wedging insider with an impossible clamshell exit for a 7.8. A few more inside tube stalls, then the clincher: a short-but-wide-open trip through the driest shelter for miles. Score? 7.9 and a free pass into Round Three.”That first 10 minutes lasted longer than the last 15 years of his career,” said Silva. “But I’m stoked I could help calm him down and get him back in rhythm. As a caddy, that’s what I’m there for.” — Evan SlaterOfficial results of the Rip Curl Cup Round One (1st>Rnd3; 2nd, 3rd>Rnd2)
{{{H1}}}: Neco Padaratz (Brz) 12.0; Shea Lopez (USA) 8.33; Fabio Gouveia (Brz) 6.23
{{{H2}}}: Guilherme Herdy (Brz) 15.33; Tom Whitaker (Aus) 8.34; Luke Egan (Aus) 5.0
{{{H3}}}: Peterson Rosa (Brz) 11.5; Tim Curran (USA) 4.67; Michael Lowe (Aus) 3.5
H4: Shane Dorian (Haw) 13.5; Nathan Hedge (Aus) 12.5; Taylor Knox (USA) 6.67
H5: Kieren Perrow (Aus) 10.66; Victor Ribas (Brz) 9.4; Jamie O’Brien (Haw) 8.9
H6: Joel Parkinson (Aus) 13.17; Phil MacDonald (Aus) 11.33; Joel Centeio (Haw) 11.06
H7: Mick Fanning (Aus) 16.67; Paulo Moura (Brz) 11.03; Sean Moody (Haw) 9.06
H8: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.76; Jake Paterson (Aus) 14.07; Manoa Drollet (Tah) 8.07
H9: Andy Irons (Haw) 14.{{{57}}}; Kalani Robb (Haw) 12.6; Love Hodel (Haw) 5.93
H10: Trent Munro (Aus) 13.17; Taj Burrow (Aus) 10.0; Pancho Sullivan (Haw) 9.6
H11: Michael Campbell (Aus) 12.34; Dean Morrison (Aus) 11.17; Danilo Costa (Brz) 9.13
H12: Cory Lopez (USA) 13.5; Luke Stedman (Aus) 7.13; Shane Powell (Aus) 5.9
H13: Daniel Wills (Aus) 16.0; Toby Martin (Aus) 7.86; Lee Winkler (Aus) 4.33
H14: Flavio Padaratz (Brz) 11.83; Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.6; Darren O’Rafferty (Aus) 6.5
H15: Mark Occhilupo (Aus) 14.17; Luke Hitchings (Aus) 12.93; Armando Daltro (Brz) 10.7
H16: Chris Davidson (Aus) 16.16; Richard Lovett (Aus) 9.73; Beau Emerton (Aus) 6.67