Sunset Beach electrified by the world number two!
Crazy weather in our delightful archipelago this week. Rain rain rain. Post storm glass-offs are firing. I had my first surfing shark encounter of my life yesterday. Cracked wise to the wife before paddling out. “Yep, sunset session at a river mouth after heavy rain. Super smart idea.”
Decent-sized black tip, somewhere between six and eight feet long, surfaced and thrashed a few feet away. Spooky! Line up cleared immediately. I nearly booked for shore myself, but one courageous soul reminded me that’d be stupid. They’re always there. I see them when I dive. It’s a little scarier when there’s zero feet viz, but no reason to panic.
We got the line up to ourselves for half an hour. It was very fun. I’m glad he was there to lend me some balls.
Today wasn’t nearly as good, but still very fun. Got in a good session, came home to see that Sunset looking pretty good too.
Sunset’s an odd wave, in the contest of competitive surfing. It makes for killer still photos, often disappoints on video. It’s impossible to appreciate how difficult it is to surf from behind a computer screen. Usually looks like a semi-mushy closeout. Provides mostly low scores. Doesn’t really present a lip to hit, only occasionally offers a makeable barrel.
But it’s another story from the lineup. Grinding power, massive amounts of water moving around. The pros may paddle out on six sixes, but there’s a reason the guys who love the wave appreciate a lot of foam. Deep water scary spot. Easy to imagine under-the-lip takeoffs, but a normal human needs a plank that’ll get them in early.
I tuned in in time to catch Zeke Lau sneak though the first quarter final heat with a buzzer beater 5 point something. Good for the local kid. Replay shows that Frederico Morais was ripping.
Slater’s still in it? Crazy stuff. Billy Kemper’s gonna do well. He’s got the solid wave comp scene dialed these days. Might be because six foot Sunset ain’t shit compared to Jaws. More than enough to intimidate us normal folks, just a small fun day to a true charger.
Quarterfinal two was all about Kemper and T. Gudauskas. Super committed turns. Kemper hammered that rail into the face, put every ounce of strength into some delightful gouges. Unfortunately for Kemper, while he dropped some beauts he couldn’t link them for the score. Jack Robinson, on the other hand, could. Kemper may be the better surfer at Sunset, but Jack’s the better competitor.
Meister and Slater slid into the semis during the next heat. I was distracted by Meister’s OAM sticker. I always forget that’s still a company.
Meister threw a frontside finner that came as a shock. You can’t do those at Sunset.
Who was it that did the reverse a few years back? I’m drawing a blank.
A wicked storm blew through during lunch, but it’s gone dead calm again here on Kauai. I’m having a hard time justifying watching surfing rather than going surfing.
Parko and Jordy spent most of the fourth quarterfinal putting on a rail clinic. Surfing so smooth, so pretty. But Ewing and Andre both found solid scores in the final five minutes. Ewing unleashed on a right, but with a 2 something back up he was done. But Andre got lucky. 8.17 for an out of control backhand off the top to carve to reo. I don’t know, I thought the score was a bit high. But I’ll give it to him. Andre needs the points to stay on tour, I think. Parko got knocked to third, Andre scraped into the semis.
Too bad that John John got knocked out in an early round. But he’s still got a shot at wrapping up the Eddie, the Title, and the Triple Crown in the same year. That’d be pretty sweet. Damn hard to repeat.
Though, as far as the Triple Crown goes, and I know I’m not the first to point this out, the fact that the final event is a ‘CT number does hand an unfair advantage to guys on Tour. Morais is on fire in Hawaii. Second at Haleiwa, looking like a win at Sunset is likely. But he’s gotta battle through the trials to get into Pipe. Just like Rick Kane!
I think that’s how it works. I’m never sure with the Pipe wildcards. Changes too often to be certain. I’ve got Eddie Rothman’s phone number written down somewhere. Maybe I should call him and ask.
I go back and forth with my feelings about Sunset. On one hand, it’s such a waterman wave that it would be great to see it on tour. It’d play spoiler every year, be a near guaranteed loss for all the beach break specialists. But there’s only so many comp days you can run, and it’s great that the less famous heads get multiple chances to shine. I guess I can take it either way. Change is good, but the current system works well enough.
Oowee! Gudauskas is playing tactics in the final minutes. Chasing Zeke Lau across the lineup, trying to keep him off a wave. I think there’s a lot of drama going on I don’t understand. Qualification points or something. Maybe one of our lovely readers can enlighten me in the comments.
It worked for Gardaflopulous. He and Morais are in the final.
Semi two is kind of dragging. Jordy got a smoker, not much else going on.
But Ross and Kaipo shared some knowledge that sheds light on the Triple Crown scenario. Apparently Morais gets a spot at Pipe because he’s leading the Triple Crown rankings. That’s good.
Kaipo’s good too. WSL needs to put him on desk duty more often.
I got stung by a bee a few nights ago. Inside my home, at around midnight. It was the second most unexpected sting I’ve ever got. The first was when I went hiking in Ojai and a wasp flew up out of a pit toilet and stung my ass while I was taking a shit.
I blame it on my landlady’s son. The bee, not the wasp. He keeps hives on the property, always leaves wax strewn around after he harvests. It’s kind of annoying. Not a huge deal, bees don’t bug me. The biggest problem is accidentally stepping on the gobs of wax and then having to scrape it off your shoe.
He always gives us free honey. Pretty nice of him. They sell the shit for ridiculous amounts of money. People claim the organic Wailua honey has all sorts of healing powers or something. I don’t really care for honey, honestly. But I like the idea of it so I’ve always got a few jars in the cabinet.
Fucking Slater. Never enters Sunset, gives it a shot and almost makes the final. Of course.
I thought he had it locked up, but Meister’s little snap to layback off the top combo was enough to sneak into second.
Slater almost got it back with an inside barrel, but no dice. Still…all hail the king.
I just noticed, Kaipo looks taller than Ross at the desk. Very interesting. Kaipo is a good guy, but not a particularly tall one. Is he sitting on a couple phone books of something?
Final’s in the water. Mel says Gudasuskaks needs a first or second to qualify for next year. Pretty slow start. Jordy got a good one. Plenty of sitting.
Morais waited it out, found a good one, surfed it well. 8.23 put him in the lead.
Mel set the wildcard situation straight. Morais only gets a spot in the Pipe trials. Still gotta battle his way into the main event.
Seventeen minutes left. Wind at my house is still dead. I’d much rather be surfing. Hopefully Morais will grab a ten in the next minute, I can call it for him, then bounce the fuck out.
No such luck. Meister and Jordy both found gems. Jordy’s layback was fucking nuts. Jordy in the lead with 15.06. Morais now sitting second.
Morais got a good one, but didn’t get the score. Jordy held the lead for the rest of the heat.
Jordy Smith wins the Vans Sunset Pro. Cool, great, hooray.
I’m out of here. Couple hours of sun left, I’m gonna go slide some waves.