It Had to Happen: Trestles and Taj Turn On

CONDITIONS: 4-5 feet, with waves and conditions improving throughout the day.
NATURE'S CALL: Should be high performance nirvana manana.
PREDICTIONS: A winner named Taj, Kelly or Andy.

It had to happen. It does every year, right? Trestles in September always fires like a Santa Ana fanned conflagration, but this year? So far it hadn't. Round 1 and 2, contestable, okay, but pretty sloppy due to an unseasonable south wind. And yesterday? Downright grim with Snips begrudgingly having to call it off for the day. But today was different. Well this afternoon at 2:30 it started getting different in a hurry. That's when a new south really started filling in and a Catalina Eddy cheese breeze finally swung around to the northwest.

Taj Burrow paddled out. Loose. Relaxed. Happy. Why shouldn't he be? He's 2nd in the world - just ahead of Andy and in prime position to make a run at Kelly, he's got the hottest girlfriend on tour, and well, life is good. "I feel super confident about the next few events," he said. "And this wave really suits my surfing."

Does it ever. Taj's performance today was off the chart. Airs, full-rail carves, ridiculous speed runs. It was a joke. And the thing is, he's been doing this all year. He's finally channeling that all freakish talent into smart heat surfing. Taj was seemingly everywhere in the heat - on edge, fitting in more turns, surfing faster and more creatively than anyone. His peers were awestruck. Bede Durbidge ran out of superlatives while congratulating him.

So Taj was good, really good. And who else? Kelly had an easy one against Ace Buchan while Andy had a slow start but then turned it on midway though to defeat Toby Martin. Parko and Fanning were dominant as well despite surfing in low-tide morning sickness conditions. Timmy Reyes, fresh from a day-long massage to relieve pain from a hip flexor injury, posted a solid win against Troy Brooks. "A couple of days ago I couldn't even walk,' he said. "I was almost going to withdraw from the contest, but luckily yesterday we had a break. It's a really gnarly pain -like the worst cramp you've ever in your stomach, but it goes all the way down your leg."

Other potential dark horses? Try Occy, Chris Ward and Travis Logie. Occy was up to his old tricks against Fred Patacchia today, slamming the rights as hard as they can possibly be slammed. Wardo was looking good again - fighting off a late charge from Taylor Knox. Then there's Logie whose ultra-accurate backside attack will be a nice foil for Wardo's more casual frontside approach in a Round 4 clash. "I hope Wardo falls on all his airs," said Logie with a smile.

Tomorrow, with the waves and weather expected to be even better, Taj and Andy are going to be intently watching Kelly's heats, hoping the same thing.