Reef Hawaiian Pro: Day Four

Heats Held: Mens round four
Conditions: 10-foot and turbulent
Nature's Call: Time to whip these guys into shape
Predictions: Mick Fanning's Triple Crown parties will be sick, too.

Today was work. For the first time ever, in the maxing Haleiwa toilet bowl, pro surfing actually looked like a job. It was raining; the water was brown and the wind onshore. With the swell finally here and a few disappearing buoy sets coming through, clocking in for a heat today was full on fatiguing. But at least we got some waves. And big ones at that. The sets were solid. Lots of horizon scratching and heavy hold-downs. Broken boards. Stretched out leashes. And 7'0" pintails. After a few days off, we're back in business on the North Shore. Guys were looking like they just ran the mile after their heats, gasping for air with hands on hips. And it's about time. Days like today are why winning the {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown title is so sick. And it's why we love Hawaii. You gotta earn it.

It wasn't work for everyone, however. Newly crowned World Champ Mick Fanning showed up with a big grin and two new pintails, looking relaxed as ever. No intense looks. No yoga on the sand. Just grins and shakas. "We're havin' another Barbie tonight," he announced after his heat in which he got one of the most impressive waves of the day, a needle thread tube to disaster gouge. Standing ovation and a 9.1. Following him was Taj Burrow who stabbed the Haleiwa walls with solid gouges, grabbing himself an 8.5 and an ovation of his own. Then it was Jordy Smith's turn. An opportunity to give the guys on the ASP World Tour another glimpse –– this time in heavy surf –– of what he plans to bring to the tour next year. It didn't take long for them to notice. In between cleanup sets in the chocolate-colored rapids of Haleiwa, Jordy grabbed the second wave of a set, a groomed catwalk tailor-made for his style. Four style arcs, a lip bash and a massive floater. "I reckon he just got a 9.5," said Aussie Luke Munro. "With 10's from a couple judges. That was sick." Nailed it right on the head. 9.5 and the heat win.

The surprise of the day though was the exit of Sunny Garcia. After getting caught in traffic, Sunny had to paddle out five minutes late making it tough to put together two solid scores in time. That left the door open for 17-year-old Granger Larsen. who along with Dusty Payne and Tonino Benson has been making quite a push in his inaugural Triple Crown campaign. While still a little nervous with the big names in the big surf, "I was shitting myself out there," Tonino said of the cleanup sets that came through during his heat with Taj Burrow –– they're all looking poised to make themselves North Shore fixtures in the future. They'll be giant killing at Haleiwa in the meantime.

We're off for Turkey day but it looks like Friday we could go all the way. A macking new swell and a little switch in wind direction could make for a classic final day. Stay tuned to for all the updates.[Car Rentals provided by Advantage Rent A Car.

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