2008 Reef Hawaiian Pro: Day 2

CONDITIONS: 4-6 foot and fading…too fast
HEATS HELD: The rest of Men's Round of 128 and the first 10 heats of Men's Round of 96
NATURE'S CALL: Umm, not promising.
PREDICTIONS: Hangovers run ramped in tomorrow's A.{{{M}}}. heats, after the Reef Hawaiian Pro Kickoff party tonight

Professional surfing is a weird thing. Especially in Hawaii where it's regarded as an upper echelon sport by both her locals and the tourists that come here. But the NFL, it is not, and it never gets old when watching the folks that didn't get that memo. "Who would have thought?" thinks the middle-aged Midwestern lady with the floral print shirt and oversized hat. "The nice young surfer boy that I just saw surf the swells went and peed in the same public restroom as I did." At the same time, small herds of Brazilian girls in butt floss nestle conveniently in front of the competitor's area, flashing scandalous smiles way too often. The announcers misidentify surfers in the water regularly or miss their waves completely — but nobody notices. A soundtrack of 12 really bad pop sounds repeats every hour during the awkward silent moments between commentary — but nobody cares. Even the surfers themselves are an odd bunch…what professional athlete slams a pint of Rockstar before heading out to compete? But nobody questions.

Except me, I guess.

But that's what you do on days like today, when conditions are fading (and fading fast) and you've got a lot of time between action to get some, ah, weird thinking done. Fortunately, there were flashes of brilliance that kept the mind from wandering too far and focused on the task at hand: covering the world's best surfing.

"I owe Dane-o big-time," big-wave legend Pete Mel said, after displaying incredible skill in his Round of 128 win and drawing an interference out of 'QS charger Dane Gudauskas. Mel went on to win his Round of 96 heat as well and continues to be the veteran to beat, along with Sunny Garcia and his refined, violent forehand work that looks as good as it did in '99.

But once again, it was the likes of Hank Gaskell, Dusty Payne and Sebastian Zietz that kept the pulse going between lulls. And oh yeah, Gavin Gillette's 6-second tube that just so happened to come seconds before the opening horn of his heat. He would go on to loose, as the dying conditions failed to produce nothing even close to the freak bomb that would have surely been the only perfect 10 we've seen yet.

As the heavy-hitting seeds show up, though, look for the kids to get challenged. Brett Simpson and Mike Losness came out firing and are easily as hungry as Gaskell, Payne and Zietz.

All of this, however, will have to wait as conditions fade and the ladies take to the water tomorrow (Saturday). And even better, it's the weekend — if the people watching has already been this good, can you imagine what's on tap for Saturday and Sunday. Weirdness, for sure. So stay tuned for all the highlights as the Reef Hawaiian Pro and Surfing Magazine's North Shore Couch Tour rolls on into the unknown.

To see all the live action, go to: www.TripleCrownofSurfing.com And for all your daily wrap-ups, keep it here at SurfingTheMag.com.