2005 Japan Quiksilver Pro – Round 3 Report

It's Big in Japan

SURF: 6 foot at {{{Malibu}}} Reef, 10-12 Hawaiian out the back
NATURES CALL: Might be even bigger tomorrow
PREDICTED: Another possible Andy/Kelly showdown

"I don't care how big it gets, I'm sticking with me 5'11"." Wait a minute.We're in Japan, right? How big can it get? Big enough for Andy and Kelly to jump on a ski after winning their heats for a ride to a sucking outside reef that Kelly later said was like a deepwater version of The Box. He actually broke a board into three pieces.

The comp was again held at Malibu Reef which was looking good yesterday, but started maxing this morning as Super Typhoon Nabi starting showing just how super she could be. The Japanese coastline looks like a giant piece of Sashimi that's been nibbled at by mice and it's amazing what happens to the nooks and crannies when a big swell hits. Outside reefs by the dozen were feathering out to sea with reports of 15-20 foot faces on the sets. Back at Malibu, 10-footers were breaking outside and then reforming into chunky overhead walls in the regular lineup. The morning high tide was downright scary as the biggest waves starting pushing into a hastily erected judging tower built underneath a highway overpass. But despite the difficulties of being undergunned (Andy's biggest board is a 6'2"), fighting a raging current and the dealing with the absence of a serviceable channel, the boys went off today. There were eight rides of 9 points or better and the aforementioned Mr. Burrow pulled into a cavern in Heat 15 and came out with the first 10 of the contest.

There weren't many surprises in the rest of the draw apart from the elimination of last year's champ, {{{CJ}}} Hobgood, at the bloody hands of Toby "Murdz" Martin in an early round heat. After that it was smooth sailing for the likes of Fanning, Bruce, Occy, Kelly, Andy, Taylor Knox, Sunny Garcia, Trent Munro and Dean Morrison.

Tomorrow, Round 4 matchups include such gems at Taylor versus Andy and Occy versus Kelly. Occy loves a powerful right and Kelly knows he's a tough draw at pumping Malibu. "Occy was devastating at Jeffreys a month ago," Kelly said. "I'd say that it was one of, if not the best, backside performances ever. It was flawless surfing."

Out of the water, the scene on the beach was dizzy as a torrid combination of heat and humidity did nothing to turn away the legions of stoked Japanese fans. The local surfers here aren't the most vocal in the world, but they're knowledgeable about surfing and pay close attention to each heat. One of the oddest moments of the day came when Hawaiian sumo champion Musashimaru came down the beach to visit with pal Sunny Garcia. Musashimaru, who clocks in at around 500 pounds, made Sunny look like a skinny keiki next to him.

But today, the magnitude of the waves dwarfed even him.