Being behind in a heat isn’t always the most fun-filled of all experiences. Actually, that would be quite to the contrary. It’s bunk. You either can sit out the back and fake like you’re some patient guru, or else grovel and probably end up looking like a dork in the process. It’s really that simple. That’s where relatively unknown shralper Ola Eleogram had the pleasure to find himself today, {{{100}}}-feet seaward from the drab features of this past 18 July 2003, amidst a sparest of wind-blown, 4-foot Oceanside peaks sometime near two in the afternoon dial. And like some thousand young shapers before him, he had to be feeling the cringe, here 2,000 miles from his perfectly nice home in Hana, Maui, floating on the guts of an early round loss, when all he wanted to do was become rich, famous, and the winner of a prestigious professional surfing event. This was not part of the plan. So why would it have to be? Sitting out there waiting with the minutes burning down, he must have been rather agitated, considering what others had already accomplished with this same slop engaging to ruin his day. Every thought must have stung: there was Rob Machado, the self-described “Crafty Veterans” down the beach doo-da, whistling through 8.0 rides that if you didn’t know him could most well be taken as a stunning disrespect to the others attempting to ride along his side. A laughing stock, I tell ya. And who would want to be a part of that? Well, at this point Ola wouldn’t even be able to ponder. If he went down now he’d never get the chance. Not like local mysto thrasher Jeremy Sommerville, who’d already posted the day’s undisputed dump float deluxe worth 8.5, or even Santa Barbara’s Bobby Martinez, with his take on a backside wacking wind-up toy for 8.25. These guys, they would still have their chance at the “skinny ninny,” or at least to be made out as stuffy, slow motion geeks by him. But this Hawaiian kid, with last-place secure, he was doing just fine on his own. That’s contests. However, with three minutes to the buzzer, the relatively unknown Eleogram turned around for one of the more solid waves of the day and dug into four strong, relaxed strokes. What he applied over the next 20 seconds was nothing less than a stellar display of fundamental frontside power surfing, and one he didn’t deny until absolutely necessary, 2-feet from the grimy sand. Hustling back out, the score was revealed: 9.0. With the comps highest score thus far, the kid had moved from fourth to first, and into another chance tomorrow, even though he did later call the wave “overscored.” Which is probably why you’re reading about him today. Hagan Kelley