Trent Munro pounds in a win, takes ratings lead in good small waves at Rip Curl Pro

Phillip Island is famed for an event called the Penguin Parade. In this daily spectacle, thousands of fairy penguins clamber out of the water around sunset and waddle across the sands into nearby bushes, there to spend the night. They’re watched by up to 2000 nature lovers, tourists, and penguin worshippers.

But they all had a new water-going animal to applaud today: Trent Munro.

Stocky, cool-headed, and in the finest form of his quietly lethal career, Munro surfed four near-perfect heats, cracking world champion Andy Irons in the final, to take the Rip Curl Pro and the ratings lead, both for his first time.

There were some great, murderous heats today, as the 16 remaining surfers shook off the wobbles of nearly two weeks out of real waves, and re-set the form bar where it belonged – way off the charts.

Cory Lopez was marvellous, finding good lines in the peeling three-foot lefts that dominated the day, and busting out the snap and spin repertoire surf mag readers have grown to know and love. He collected a third – Cory’s best result in a year.

Danny Wills produced what he always does, at every event, sharp-edged carving consistency, this time with a little more strength thanks to off-season work with the Master of Pain, pro trainer Rob Rowland Smith.

The putative favorite, Mick Fanning, made a critical error of wave judgement in his scary fourth-round clash with Andy. Fanning, holding priority, did what until then had seemed impossible and picked off a closeout – this on a sandbar where no wave had closed out for 24 hours. Form or not, he was gone.

But the day was Trent’s.

Riding a 5’9″ Maurice Cole that seemed made for today and today alone, he turned up the heat on his first outing, ruining yesterday’s junior hero Bede Durbidge, then smoking Taj Burrow and Willsy back to back with scores of winning proportions.