Imagine showing up to a party at the Playboy mansion and standing in line with 50 of your peers. Then, just as your about to waltz through the door, Hugh Hefner walks up with two silicone stars under each arm and tells you that only ten of you are going to live out every man's dream. Trade breasts for points and that's more or less whats happening in Haleiwa. With so much talent on the bubble of qualification and a limited number of spots, the guys are in a dog fight to fulfill their lifelong ambition. Highlights and humor, indulge! --Jake Tellkamp
Who's going to get a fist bump from the bouncer?
Conner Coffin strikes me as the type of person who would never storm a doorway to get into a venue. He would simply lean against the wall à la James Dean and sip straight whiskey from a flask that he received from his grandfather on his 21st birthday. Then, when all hope looked lost, he would casually walk up to the humungous human guarding the front gate and without saying a word, charm his way to the inside.
Conner Coffin nonchalantly belted the shit out of a wave for a 9.40 to advance out of Round 2. Then, he proceeded to beat the buzzer in round 3 with a last ditch effort as if the pressure wasn't present at all. Sitting at 13th on the rankings, he has one foot in the front door and will need to continue making heats to get his other inside.
The life of the party
Connor O'Leary went toe to toe with current world champion Gabs Medina on the funky left-handers. Both threw down high scores but it was the Triple Crown rookie who would get the highest heat score of the event thus far (18.24). There is a clear difference between those who are surfing to win and those who are surfing not to lose. Connor O' Leary exemplifies that.
You know who's not sweating the queue?
Jack Freestone. Not only is his girlfriend hotter than anything in Hugh's stable, the ‘QS ratings leader has a guaranteed a spot on tour for 2016. Jack embodies everything we want in a world tour rookie. He's powerful, progressive, and confident enough to make a dent on his first swing. Don't believe me? Give his recent edit a glance. Despite having his name the highest on the invite list, Jack chose to compete against the gate crashers but was unsuccessful. Not for lack of effort but for lack of waves with scoring potential.
Who's blue in the face?
Davey Cathels (8th), Soli Bailey (17th) Mitch Coleborn (19th), Joan Duru (20th) Patrick Gudauskas (22nd), Tanner Hendrickson (23rd) Evan Geiselman (24th) Carlos Munoz (26th) and Noe "Chronicles Of Mar-nia” McGonagle (31st) are now out of the draw and will be holding their breath to see how the rest of the field pans out. For Mitch, the loss must be beyond frustrating. The ‘QS veteran has been painfully close to qualifying the last two years but hasn't been able to seal the deal on the North Shore. Please don't blow it at Sunset, Mitch. We need to see you on the Tour!
The guy on crutches always gets in
In the 1988 World Series, Kirk Gibson hit a walk off home run during the bottom of the ninth inning with two injured legs. He limped around the bases to the roars of Los Angelenos. It was an iconic moment in the history of sport. Today, Stu Kennedy pulled a half-Gibson. With a deep reef cut on the bottom of his foot sustained during a Rocky Point free surf, Stu had to gobble a handful of pain pills and grimace through his heats. Fortunately, the drugs kicked in right before he hit the water and he was able to keep his qualification dreams alive.
Ripping the door off the hinges
You know that guy waiting in line who could kick the bouncers ass but doesn't, because true brawn isn't boastful? Zeke Lau is that guy. At 40th in the rankings, the powerful Hawaiian needs to get himself in the 21,000 point range in order to qualify. He currently has 10,410 points and both remaining events are worth ten thousand apiece, so a win could do it. Both venues certainly suit his dance moves so there's no trouble there.
Sneaking through the side entrance
Going left at Haleiwa is like entering a party through the backdoor in the alley -- an act done only in desperation. Nate Yeomans doesn't care as long as he gets inside. With seconds ticking away, Nate took off on a left hander and milked it for all it was worth, ending the wave clutching both legs in exhaustion. Rated 21st, Yeoman's is in a good position to jump up a few spots with his contemporaries unable to better their positions.
Door slammed in face
There's always that guy. The one who shuffles in behind his friend just as the bouncer clicks to full occupancy. Matt Wilkinson unfortunately was that sad soul left in the cold today. Needing a 5.91, Wilko came up just 0.2 points shy of the score required. It would be a shame to lose such a vivacious character off tour. Fingers crossed for him at Sunset and Pipe. --Jake Tellkamp