Mother Nature Delivers, Then Hides the Goods.
Surf: Absolutely firing on all cylinders, 6 to 8 feet at Steamer Lane. Our thirst was quenched as far as waves were concerned.
Events run: Mens Round 5, 6, and 2 quarterfinal heats?
Nature's Call: I'm in charge here, and I say you can't have your cake and eat it to.
Predictions: Coldwater Classic to be renamed the Fog Horn Classic.
Going to bed Saturday night, everyone knew it. Sunday was the day. No more struggling down at Waddell, no more backwashing between venues. It absolutely had to go down. Big names, big waves, big money; all the ingredients for a smorgasbord of ripping were laid out. As competitors filtered into the venue Sunday morning they were greeted by a thick fog bank and a soundtrack set to the beat of a foghorn. The new swell had definitely arrived judging by what water was visible in the bay through the fog, "It's like 20 foot on the outside, I swear," proclaimed Ratboy to the morning onlookers. His calculations turned out to be just slightly skewed, but there were, nevertheless, many believers.
For the morning hours, spectators watched as some of surfing's highest rollers diced it up on long grey walls. Australian Jarrah Tutton emerged from one of the day's meatiest barrels and Rob Machado breezed through under the grey sky like a ray of sunshine on all his waves. Reunion Island's Jeremy Flores left spectators speechless after each ride and WQS warrior Gabe Kling made sure people will remember his name in the future.
While the crowd struggled with the lack of stimuli for a few moments in between rounds at one point, Timmy Reyes — who was waiting out in the lineup for his next heat to start — decided he would show everyone what WCT stands for. Moments after contest announcer Ryan Simmons announced one minute till the start of the heat, Timmy stroked into an 8-footer swinging wide off the point, pumped once and stood statue-tall in the face of a double-over-head barrel. He emerged with a big flyaway air and the crowd officially got their ginseng boost for the day. Score: 0; the heat hadn't started. Moments later the buzzer sounded and the heat began. Timmy proceeded to win the heat as well as some new fans.
All seemed to be going easy-breezy at that point: Matt Archbold was posting tens with exclamation points attached, Ratboy was flying around Steamer Lane keeping the locals proud and the entire city lined the cliff making it look more like Lambeau Field than a surf spot. That is, until it returned. The grey plague of frustration that lurked all day yesterday off shore decided that today was the day to strike. It came in and blinded us all. Contest put on immediate fog delay.
This is when things got all Day-time TV. Serious drama. With only two hours of light remaining and a curtain of fog blanketing the entire Lane, organizers were forced to go on standby. The problem with that: with seven heats to run and nowhere near enough daylight to run them, remaining competitors were called under the tent for an in immediate board meeting. The entire remaining field of guys huddled under the tarp and brainstormed. The only alternative was to postpone until Monday morning.
The trouble with post-poning is that these guys' travel schedules look like a toddler took a crayon to an atlas. Flights to catch, couches to sleep on, and heats to turn; it's not easy to just say, I'll be back tomorrow. Bobby Martinez, who has recently cemented his WCT green card for next year said, "If they hold the round today (Sunday) I'll stay, but if it's tomorrow I think I'm going to go home." Jeremy Flores demonstrated to Santa Cruz that he didn't come all the way to Santa Cruz to lose, and had the crowd freaking every time he surfed. But as it looks now, he won't be back to continue his campaign for the morning either.
So with some guys not making it back, the final heats will be missing a bit of their luster come Monday morning. We all know that Mother Nature, she's is a bit of a drama queen. And, hey, that's why we love her. It's unfortunate, though, that something with so much potential would have to go down on a quiet Monday morning – kids in school, adults at their jobs — but I'm sure it will be one that gets talked about for a long time, regardless of what day the final goes down. All I know is that the Lane awoke today for the opening of the winter and it was beautiful…when you could see it.
COMPLETED QUARTERFINAL HEATS:QuarterFinal # 1
1 – Tim Reyes
2 – Jason Collins
3 – Jarrah Tutton
4 – Rob Machado
QuarterFinal # 2
1 – Cory Lopez
2 – Tiago Pires
3 – Kyle Knox
4 – Josh MulcoyREMAINING QUARTERFINAL HEATS:QuarterFinal # 3
QuarterFinal # 4