A storm knocked out Puerto Escondido's power last night. The swell was forecast to be late. And the WSL's production team literally worked through the night to get the webcast up and running. If you tuned in at 8:30am local time, you could still hear the reverbed echoes of them testing mics on the beach. "Test, test, test…"
But by 9am the offshores were humming, the webcast was streaming and huge swells bulged over the offshore canyon as they marched toward the shallow sand at Playa Zicatela. From there, you know what happened. You were watching. Either online or on CBS Sports Network. And while there wasn't a surplus of successful barrel rides over the first four heats of competition, the surfers' performances at one of the most challenging venues in the world were well-worth five hours of your Friday. (Jamie Mitchell, you are an animal.)
Bravo, WSL, for pulling this contest off. The 75-minute heats are great. The judging has been sound. My only complaint is the commentating team. Would have been nice to have at least one solid voice to anchor the broadcast. Note to Dave Stanfield: pretty sure Jimel Corzo's name isn't pronounced "Gmail."
Tune in tomorrow for the semis and final — the waves will be even bigger and better.