GAME 1: San Diego 94.75 vs L.A. 75.5
GAME 2: San Diego 87.25 vs Santa Cruz 72.25
GAME 3: San Diego {{{100}}}.75 vs Ventura 93.75
GAME 4: San Diego 87 vs Orange County95

SD Stays Undefeated Against Winless VC Amidst Scoring Controversy

"The weather man's a liar, he said it would be raining."

Thought I would start off with a little pre-Coachella shout out to Conor Oberst whose lyrics were prophetic this morning. Today surf started off immeasurably better than yesterday's. Despite forecast for showers, 3 –5 foot offshore lines were seen marching towards the O-side pier from the South at daybreak. Game organizers called for an early start, knowing that the favorable winds weren't likely to stay favorable for long. Both SD and VC reveled in the bowly peaks and racey walls with Taylor Knox and Tom Curren both predictably posted high scores. The surf was so solid that in the 2nd quarter Sea Lion Che Stang broke his board and Tim Curran got a perfectly angled left where he attacked the lip with three vertical hits, gaining speed after each one, before turning on the jets even faster and launching into a flawless 360 air reverse. The ride was arguably the best surfing on a single wave of any Game so far and was a beautiful illustration of how to boost without forsaking vertical maneuvers. In retrospect, Curran's score of 9.0 felt low because no one else the rest of the day came close to his level on that wave.

By halftime the 0-2 Pelicanos found themselves .25 ahead of SD and primed for an upset win. Then the dreaded strong April northwesterly winds, which shred Oceanside's surf to bits in minutes, kicked in and the contest turned more into a grovel fest than a high performance showcase. Taylor Knox, who has been channeling his inner-child lately, continued to freshen up his raw power attack with airs and tailslides and got a 7.0, but no one else on his squad was able to get much going in the crumbly closeouts.

In the bottom of the 3rd, Keith Malloy paddled into a set wave and went hard off the bottom into a straight up power slide, then ripped off three stylish, buried rail cutbacks and finished off under the pier. His score – only a 6.75. At the end of the 3rd, Ventura was ahead by .25 but their lead should have been at least 3 or 4.

The Sea Lions got going in the 4th when Aussie transplant Heath Walker grabbed a solid 7.5 in the opening minutes and Rob Machado went to town on a small right for his first decent score of the homestand, 7.5. Then things got weird. Austin Ware's next wave made non-partisan observes get the sense that the judges are a little too eager to please the hometown teams and penalize the visitors. Ware got a long left that he worked with measured, easy, repetitive turns for an 8.0. (Malloy's 6.75 was at least as good if not better than Ware's and he ripped it much harder.) VC's bench cried foul and were right to do so. If Ware's wave was an 8 they reckoned, Curran's 2nd quarter 9 should have been an 18 because it was surfed at least twice as well. Benji Weatherly was subbed in and delivered his team a 6.5. SD's 4th Q total – a huge 29.5. While SD definitely surfed well, the score definitely seemed inflated.

Ventura was now in a big hole, and, missing stars like Dane Reynolds and Bobby Martinez that can easily post 8's and 9's, were up a creek without enough paddles. The Pelicanos got a lift from young ripper Nick Rosza, but Curran was unable to find wave nearly as good as the one he got earlier and Pete Mussio and Jeremy Ryan were unable to do much of anything. Ventura fell to a dismal 0-3. In retrospect, SD's solid overall 4th quarter performance would have probably been enough to defeat VC even without the judging mistakes, but after an angry Orange County confronted the Brad Gerlach after being forced into overtime despite thoroughly outsurfing LA at Leo Carrillo, the problematic tendency of judges to give home teams extra points should have been nipped in the bud.