Well, as so often happens, the much anticipated Occy/Kelly showdown was a bit of a fizzer, with a wave starved heat and little of the real magic we know these two fine gentlemen are capable of. Occ had his chances, sitting with priority for most of the second half of the heat needing a six. Occ was patient and waited for one of the few sets. When it came, the second one looked bigger and he let Kelly take the first, but the second one proved to be a fat burger, and he was left scratching.

I tell ya, surfing is a multi-cultural affair these days and the interest from the newer surfing nations is huge. Europeans Aritz Aranburu from Spain and Tiago Pires from Portugal have their own camera crews here from their respective countries following their progress. But they would have been disappointed today, as all the Europeans fell.

Other highlights?

Andy lost to Fred Patacchia, who reveled in the four foot zippering lefts at Cloudbreak. Andy will most likely join Bruce on the first flight outta here – neither are renowned for enjoying the contest ambiance once they have lost. Aussie Dayyan Neve kept up his good run, smoking a struggling Jordy Smith with a high nine, despite losing his board once when his legrope came off his ankle, and then snapping his board on his next wave. Other impressive winners included {{{CJ}}} over a valiant Kieren Perrow, Parko over Travis Logie and Chris Ward over Jeremy Flores. This last result may or may not have had something to do with the post-coital high generated from the romantic conquest of a spectacular red-headed swimsuit model.

Proceedings were halted at the end of round three as a dropping swell and high tide turned the waves to mush – attractive aqua blue mush but mush none the less. We look to have a week’s wait for more swell with a day to get through and some tantalizing round four match ups to look forward to. Bobby Martinez v Adrian Buchan, Damien Hobgood v Kelly, Wardo v CJ, and Parko v Pancho amongst them. With the long range forecast predicting six to eight foot surf next Monday, this thing could go down in sizable tunnels. In the mean time, there is likely to be many helicopter trips to the nearest golf course, fishing, karaoke, this decidedly odd Guitar Hero game that seem to have the younger Aussie pros entranced, and all manner of similar fuel guzzling diversions. If anyone were to calculate the carbon footprint of this event, we might have to re-forest the Amazon to make amends.

Forgive us.

(1st advances to Round 4; 2nd finishes =17th)

Heat 1: Bede Durbidge def. Royden Bryson
Heat 2: Luke Stedman def. Mikael Picon
Heat 3: Tim Reyes def. Roy Powers
Heat 4: Taj Burrow def. Tiago Pires
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez def. Heitor Alves
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan def. Rodrigo Dornelles
Heat 7: Damien Hobgood def. Ben Dunn
Heat 8: Kelly Slater def. Mark Occhilupo
Heat 9: Mick Fanning def. Aritz Aranburu
Heat 10: Dayyan Neve def. Jordy Smith
Heat 11: Chris Ward def. Jeremy Flores
Heat 12: CJ Hobgood def. Kieren Perrow
Heat 13: Joel Parkinson def. Travis Logie
Heat 14: Pancho Sullivan def. Jay Thompson
Heat 15: Fred Patacchia def. Andy Irons
Heat 16: Adriano de Souza def. Michael Campbell

(1st advances to Quarters; 2nd finishes =9th)

Heat 1: Bede Durbidge v. Luke Stedman
Heat 2: Taj Burrow v. Tim Reyes
Heat 3: Bobby Martinez v. Adrian Buchan
Heat 4: Kelly Slater v. Damien Hobgood
Heat 5: Mick Fanning v. Dayyan Neve
Heat 6: CJ Hobgood v. Chris Ward
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson v. Pancho Sullivan
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza v. Fred Patacchia