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Day 3 debued to Southern California, as it did for much of this winter, doing its best Seattle impression with heavy rain spitting from the skies. The weather, and resultant muddy trails down to Lowers, delayed the start a bit but spirits under the tents and out in the water remained un-dampened as early arrivals hit the shifty short range peaks for an extended free surf.

By 9:30 the rain had stopped all together and clear skies were prevalent for the 10am start as the front moved through. The winds died as well, and conditions cleaned up steadily throughout the day.

The first heat of the morning, Heat 13 of round 4, was held amidst some lingering bump, but Hideyoshi Tanaka from Japan did an excellent job of reading the challenging conditions by picking off a running right that allowed him to put together three critical snaps for a 6.5. Tanaka sealed the heat with a 6.0, posting two solid scores and making it evident to his fellow competitors that scoring waves could be found amidst the chop. Bron Heusseenstamm and Beau Mitchel must have taken note, as they both surfed well in the following heat.

Cleaner conditions had settled in by the opening heat of Round 5, and Leigh Sedley demolished one in the last few minutes to make the turn, moving from 3 rd into 1 st and advancing into the next round. Mazz Quin looked strong as well in Heat 1. Mazz connected a right on his forehand with powerful on-rail surfing for a 7.67, however was left looking for a decent backup wave until the closing moments until he finally stroked into one at the horn to take 2 nd and advance.

Heat 2 of the 5 th round saw Rob Machado surf his first closely contested 20 minutes of the event, as Machado and Nathan Carrol went head to head both posting scores of 9.0 or above. Carrol garnered a 9.5 with an absolutely enormous frontside double-handed air that he was able to stick and work down the line for a powerful forehand bash. Not to be outdone, Machado picked off a wave immediately after Carrol kicked out and threw a series of giant fans on his backhand for a 9.0. Machado’s 9, plus a 7.5 that he posted earlier in the heat were enough to see him through, but Carrol was nipping at his heals with a close 2 nd place.

Consistent sets on the outside relented a bit for the opening of Heat 6, which was plagued by a long lull. The last 5 minutes of the heat however saw a flurry of activity as Pat Gudauskas went to work on his forehand with several hooks in the pocket that propelled him to the win. Bobby Martinez, who had only caught two throwaway waves in the first 15 minutes of the heat, capitalized on the late arriving sets and posted two scores in under 4 minutes, one a high 8, to take 2 nd place.

Heat 7 was dominated by Poncho Sullivan who comboed all opponents in the water with his trademark heavy-footed style. Poncho bested his closest competition, Shane Bevan, with a series of savage gaffs on his forehand that had the beachside crowd hooting loudly for the big Hawaiian.

Che Stang went mental in his heat, posting a 9.5 and an 8.67 with a savage and committed array of cutbacks and bashes, and Peter Devries also surfed strongly, posting an 8.17 that anchored his advance out of Heat 9 and into Round 6.

Late round heats enjoyed the best conditions of the day. Curren advanced from his heat giving the crowds something to look forward to tomorrow, and Bron Heusseenstamm continued his run from this morning, winning Heat #14. Shea Lopez, who is on his way back from knee surgery, scored a 9.0 on a reeling overhead left that he picked up during Heat 15.

The Women’s Round 1 kicked off in the late afternoon, and Melanie Bartels came out in Heat 3 looking polished and relaxed, ripping a long righthander for a 9.0. Bartels then closed the heat at the horn by blowing her tail out in a seamless 360 reverse.

Heat 4 was loaded with talent, as current Women’s World Champ Sophia Mulanovich squared off against Holly Beck, Sarah Beardmore, and Carissa Moore. Mulanovish looked off her game and failed to put together a contestable heat. Twelve- year-old Moore on the other hand, surfed well and advanced to the next round taking first place and living up to her already formidable competitive reputation.

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