Bourgeois has put himself in the 4th overall position on the WQS

It was the noble thing to do. Back in 2001, with no hope of requalification, Ben Bourgeois paddled out in big, stormy Sunset Beach and took out Occy for his good friend, {{{CJ}}} Hobgood. Hobgood – who won the title that year thanks to his friend's giant-killing — was sure to thank his travel partner, and told him he couldn't wait for him to get back where he belongs.

Five years later, after he and fellow East Coaster Gabe Kling gave the 6-star Billabong Pro Tahara a one-two punch, it's looking like he may finally get to fill up that bunk again. "I wouldn't say I'm in just yet," said Bourgeois after the event, "but I'm finally on a good roll. The comp in Japan was pretty good. All kinds of conditions. It got huge and they moved it to a left point that was pretty good and then back to the beachbreak the last two days. I watched all of Gabe's heats and he watched mine. Pretty funny we ended up in the final together. Waves got pretty bad for the final but we were both freaking that we made it. We were getting so much love from the East Coast on the live webcast it was crazy. It felt good to make it an all US final. The only thing we missed was the flag for Gabe to hold. Next time."

Bourgeois' second-place finish behind Kling this weekend at Akabane Beach in Japan gives him 2250 additional points and rockets him to fourth in the WQS rankings, right behind Jordy Smith. His current total is at 10,376, which would have been a shoe-in last year. But according to ASP tour manager Al Hunt, due to the higher points in the "prime" events, the cutoff could be 20 to even 40 percent higher. "If the same guys keep making quarters, semis and finals, the cutoff could be as high at 11,500," said Hunt. "But I'm guessing it'll be more around 10,000."

Translation: Wrightsville Beach should keep that champagne corked for now. But with just one more keeper during the grueling Europe leg (coming up next), Benny B will be back in business. Forget what you've heard. Nice guys always (eventually) finish somewhere at the top.