2005 OP Pro Hawaii / Triple Crown of Surfing: Day 1

"Aww, look how cute," says one onlooker from the Haleiwa beach bleachers.

Without a doubt, it's the first time I've heard fifteen foot sets stacked nearly a half-mile out to sea and doubling up on shallow reef described as "cute", but with 13-year-old Jon Jon Florence tearing down the line (making 15-20 foot look like 30-50 foot), well, it is kinda cute. In a I-can't-believe-what-I'm-seeing sorta way, "cute" is as good a word as any. And while Jon Jon didn't manage to make it through his second round heat (hey, as the youngest male competitor to ever compete in the {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown, it's pretty rad he made the first one), he received a standing ovation from the crowded beach for his poised performance in some serious surf.

Mick Fanning on a “cute” one

The swell came in over night, a brakeless Aleutian freight train hell bent for western shores, and Haleiwa was getting bigger by the hour. "Hey, at least it's contestable," said North Shore local Mikala Jones, moments before paddling out for a rock solid performance in his opening heat. Ah, yes, good ol' North Shore understatement. Double overhead, double-up, reef whompers crushing the inside Toilet Bowl. Contestable? Depends who you are, I guess. The local boys were tearing it up. Despite there being several first round heats with six different nationalities in the lineup, Day One of the Op Pro Haleiwa and the Vans Triple Crown was all about the Hawaiians. Rising stars Kekoa Becalso, TJ Baron, Sean Moody and Ola Eleogram all started the day with solid results, only to be outdone by Makua Rothman's crowd-waking Barrel of the Day. Yes, folks, this thing is on. Suddenly, the beach was packed, the sun was shining and tunes were bumping. The Op Pro was in full swing. And while local boys like Jamie O'Brien and Nathan Carroll were dominating their beefy, hometurf conditions, mainlanders like NSSA wunderkind Pat Guduaskas and 3-time world champ Tom Curren just couldn't seem to post a blip on the radar. Sorry, boys.

And then, with 36 surfers already turning their thoughts towards Thanksgiving dinner, a massive set broke out by the indicator buoy. Seriously: it looked like {{{Avalanche}}} and Himalayas were about to connect and close out the bay. South African Royden Bryson later reported he was just glad to have survived it. While nearly the entire heat was washed to the beach, Frenchman Eric Rebiere — who surely deserves the "Pummeling of the Day" award — somehow managed to claw his way back outside to post the minor score he needed to oust out an injured Kekoa Becalso, but later looked unsure whether he was glad to have advanced or not. And still the swell was rising.

South African Royden Bryson dominated his round 1 heat

Holy moly, was this stuff even contestable anymore?

Well, anyone who saw Mick Fanning's first wave only minutes later knows the answer to that one.

He thought it was cute.

For the live webcast of the OP Pro Haleiwa, please visit www.TripleCrownofSurfing.com/Haleiwa