EVENTS RUN: Six heats of Round Two (whoo-hoo)
CONDITIONS: F-ing shallow…
NATURE'S CALL: Bleed for me
PREDICTIONS: Bloody good surfing (and maybe some blood)

Mickey Picon's bleeding on the reef, having just dry-docked himself in an "all in" bid to defeat Jay "Bottle" Thompson. And up on the bluff overlooking the reef, Luke Munro can barely watch. His heat's coming up in a few minutes and, somehow, the tide keeps getting lower. Can it really GET any lower? A new moon. A rare tide. A jagged reef. Already fingers of coral are jutting up at the crucial end section of the wave. It's seriously dangerous…but then again, so is losing. And as one onlooker just put it, "There's a boat full of band-aids waiting for you at the end there, and their entire career on the line…might as well go for it."

Your faithful correspondent can barely stand to watch, either. There's two heats left, but I've already retired to the Bintang Lounge 'cause it's been a long day for a whole lotta not much. We arrived (somewhere) at seven AM, excited to wrap up the consolation Round Two and hopefully tear into the guts of what's been shaping up as a standout event for this year. So far, the Rip Curl Search has done it again. Great waves. Epic venue. Perfect timing. But by four PM in the blazing hot afternoon, we're only three heats into our six heat day, and organizers are still wondering if they're running. No, it's not a new 3-hour heat format. It's just that this surf break…perfect though it seems, can be pretty damn tricky. So, we waited. We ran an Expression Session. Enjoyed a long lunch. Had a freesurf session. Explored the tide pools. Went fishing… And finally, someone, somewhere, remembers there's a contest on and suggests we nail these pesky remaining six heats of Round Two to the wall 'cause there's a pretty sick weekend swell shaping up and tomorrow could be all time.

So, yeah, let's do this thing.

Up on the bluff, goofyfooters are high-fiving each other. Seriously. {{{CJ}}} Hobgood, Tommy Whittaker and Kai Otton are looking down on the racetrack runners tracing the gurgling coral heads and laughing (while cringing) as regular-guys Dane Reynolds and Danny Wills grapple with their nerves to stay upright over the chunks of reef skittering beneath their fins.

With two minutes left in the heat, Dane really hasn't had much of a proper wave yet. But neither has Willsy, who's leading thanks a nice, early, set wave 7-something. (Hmmm…should we really be running this thing? I hear the zoo is nice. Nevermind, we must press on.) A solid set finally appears, but it's Willsy's priority. He's too deep, but paddles into it anyway. The section closes out on him and Dane is already up and riding. He pulls into a first barrel…a second…a very shallow third…the wave closes out over the dry shelf and Dane emerges, still riding, onto the whitewashed reef. Sick. A total heat winner. Easily the 8-pointer he needs to win, if not a Perfect 10.

If it counted.

But since Willsy was already up and riding…behind the section, Dane's wave does not count. And he's eliminated.

"It's stuff like that that makes me question the legitimacy of pro surfing," says Dane, only mildly miffed by his disappointing result. "At least I didn't end it by doing nothing…though, I kinda did."

(Can we please start a letter writing campaign to encourage Dane to remain on tour? This correspondent is worried he may be loosing interest. But if Dane only gets one wave a heat, the WCT is still a much more exciting thing to watch.)

Moments later, Freddy Patacchia is putting on a clinic in the forehand advantage here today, disassembling a series of long, gurgling drainers with his back to any danger. Hack. Barrel. Hack. Barrel. Freddy is on fire. It's hard to tell who he's even surfing against he's catching so many sick ones. Man, it looks kinda fun out there.

And then, Pancho and Neco paddle out and, while they're going for it, man, it looks pretty shallow. Kinda scary. Hey, Luke, are you sure you don't wanna wear your booties out there?

But maybe your correspondent is just a reef-scarred regularfoot. Maybe he's just staring at Mickey Picon's bloody feet as he makes his way up the hill, grinning from ear to ear over his win. Maybe he's watching frothing, psycho, goofyfooter Mick Campbell put the screws to nervous, not-booty-wearing, regularfooter Luke Munro over some insanely shallow reef. Maybe he's just glad Round Two is over.

The swell is peering over the horizon. And Round Three kicks off with Bede, Damo, Freddy P. and Parko, and then it just keeps getting gooder.

Stay tuned, and send band-aids.

(1st advances to Round 3; 2nd finishes =33rd)

Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) def. Komang "Gogo" Suijaya (IDN)
Heat 2: Bede Durbidge (AUS) def. Owen Wright (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) def. I Made Garut Widiart (IDN)
Heat 4: Bobby Martinez (USA) def. Bruno Santos (BRA)
Heat 5: Jeremy Flores (FRA) def. Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 6: Adrian Buchan (AUS) def. Dan Ross (AUS)
Heat 7: Tom Whitaker (AUS) def. Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 8: Tim Reyes (USA) def. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 9: Ben Bourgeois (USA) def. Taylor Knox (USA)
Heat 10: Royden Bryson (ZAF) def. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 11: Daniel Wills (AUS) def. Dane Reynolds (USA)
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) def. Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 13: Neco Padaratz (BRA) def. Pancho Sullivan (HAW)
Heat 14: Mikael Picon (FRA) def. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 15: Ben Dunn (AUS) def. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 16: Mick Campbell (AUS) def. Luke Munro (AUS)

(1st advances to Round 4; 2nd finishes =17th)

Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Damien Hobgood (USA)
Heat 3: Luke Stedman (AUS) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Royden Bryson (ZAF)
Heat 5: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 6: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Michael Campbell (AUS)
Heat 7: Dayyan Neve (AUS) vs. Tim Reyes (USA)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 9: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 10: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Bruce Irons (HAW)
Heat 11: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Mikael Picon (FRA)
Heat 12: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)
Heat 13: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 14: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 15: Andy Irons (HAW) vs. Neco Padaratz (BRA)
Heat 16: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Chris Ward (USA)