2006 Boost Mobile of Pro Surf Presented by Hurley Day 1

CONDITIONS: 4-5 foot. Smooth in the morning, windy in the afternoon.
NATURE’S CALL: Little smaller tomorrow and Thursday. Better for Friday/Saturday
PREDICTIONS: Too soon to tell, but look for the usual suspects.

“I’ve heard what everyone said about last year, but I’m not thinking about that. I’m thinking that I love this wave.” Phil MacDonald

Phil MacDonald thought he got burned here last year when Kelly Slater beat him in the final. Let’s face it, a lot of people in the surf world thought he did too. Looking at the tape, though, it’s not so clear-cut. Macca definitely got the best waves of the heat, but Slates looked much more loose, flowing and lively on his. Whatever. That was last year. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that, with half of the season gone, last year’s number 5 in the world is now sitting at 23rd in the world ? flirting with the red line of non-requalification. He needs a result and this is the place to do it. As a reinforcing South swell moved in Macca found a six-foot right and let his back foot do the talking for a 9.6. And, on a day when the usual suspects went predictably nuts, Phil’s total heat score was the highest of the round.

So what will it mean? Who knows? After a 6-week break the pros today seemed to be looking at their heats more like warm-up freesurfs. Lots of smiles, jokes, stories, very chill vibe. All that will stop tomorrow if big namesstart losing. Today, one of the few who faltered was J-Bay winner Mick Fanning. He’ll face Dane Reynolds in Heat 1 of Round 2 tomorrow. Fanning looked rusty and out of sync in his opening heat and wildcard Reynolds, typically, was both brilliant and boneheaded in his. Let’s hope both bring their A games tomorrow? could be spectacular.

But today Kelly, Andy, Parko and Taj were spectacular. They’re everything that’s right about professional surfing. Whether it’s Kelly busting out an ultra-progressive air reverse that a hard-to-please Reynolds pronounced tobe “sick” Andy skating around sections at super human speed and going upside down on every turn, smooth as silk Parko renewing his relationship with a wave that he perhaps surfs better than anyone, or Taj looking effortlessly cool and poised in his first serious run at a title.

Ridiculous? all of it. And we’ve just scratched the surface. There are so many stories, subplots and scenarios in play right now it&#{{{960}}};s mind-boggling. Can’t wait to see what happens.