The swell showed up! So did the wind, unfortunately. Between the breeze and the low tide, the contest didn't start until 11 a.m. That gave everyone a chance to take advantage of firing Rainbow Bay and Greenmount, which are more protected from the southerlies. And it was somewhere during the 50-yard barrel that Stephanie Gilmore got in front of the hill at Greenmount that the horn sounded at Snapper and six hours of competition began. It was a relatively conservative day, surfing wise, but Round 3 of the 2014 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast did manage to stir up a few pockets of drama.
Sharks…have been a hot topic in the past week. They killed an 11-foot great white just outside the Roxy Pro on Tuesday, and since then there have been numerous sightings within the shark nets during freesurfs and expression sessions. As the spotting helicopters and dinghys circled the lineup this morning, you couldn't help but wonder if the allure of "Snapper with only two guys out!" had worn off a bit.
Mitch Crews…was burned by Julian Wilson in the expression session yesterday. Twice. Rumor around the competitor's area was that Julian thought Mitch "was going too slow." If that's the case then Mitch solidified the tortoise and the hare fable by letting Julian go as fast and as pink as he pleased, all the while Mitch strung together a convincing heat. Many said it was the best they'd ever seen Mitch surf. But Mitch told me, "I just got such good waves. Anyone could have gotten through that heat with those waves."
Adriano…had priority and Jeremy caught a wave outside, belted one of the best turns of the day and then crept a little close to Adriano. Adriano stumbled on the drop and ran Jeremy over. Jeremy was charged with an interference and was thus only scored on one wave. The question is, did Adriano do it on purpose? If you took Jeremy out of the picture, is there any way in hell Adriano would have chosen that path down the face? I doubt it. I think he may have torn a page out of the soccer code of ethics and flopped. Jeremy thought so, too, saying in his post-heat interview: "He took off on me on purpose…It's the worst sportsmanship but I don't expect anything less from him." J.Flo reminds us that honesty, even when served bitter, still tastes better than canned responses.
Apples to apples
Nine of the 12 heats today featured like-stanced surfers. Mick beat Dane. Kelly beat Tiago. Nat beat Jadson. Miggy beat Owen. And so on and so on. Regular vs. Regular. Goofy vs. Goofy. It's always annoying to compare a backside snap to a frontside finner, so it was nice to have a break from that most of the day.
They say that tomorrow…
#makeitgolden. Also, #itson. It has to be. There are only two days left in the waiting period and they have 18 heats left between the guys and gals. Throw in half-hour breaks between the finals and that's 10 hours of competition. I talked to Josh Kerr this evening and he seemed to think the waves would be the same size tomorrow, with better conditions and winds. It also looks like the 2014 Roxy Pro Gold Coast will crown a champion. With the drama that unfolded today, might we expect a cat fight?