The fog finally lifted this morning and the final heats of the Round of 144 were completed. The Round of 96 began and some of the bigger names started showing up to surf. Some of the bigger shocks so far are that Bruce Irons, Damien Hobgood and Sunny Garcia are all out already. There have been some good waves out there, but some of the heats are definitely getting better sets than others. The swell is still inconsistent. But the storm in Tahiti is promising some extreme end-of-competition action. Local boys Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach) and Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente) competed in the same heat. Both succeeded and will be moving on to the Round of 48. We’ll have to keep our eye on those two… Hope to get back down there tomorrow and get some pictures of the ladies in their next heats.
Originally I had gone down to the pier to take some photos of Kelly Slater in his first heat at the US Open. (Keep track of the heats here. Live video coming on Thursday.) But then a wicked fog bank rolled in and the competitions got stalled. I waited for it to lift for a bit, but it was holding on pretty tight. There was fog yesterday too, so the heats were really getting backed up. As it was, Slater wouldn’t be on for another 90 minutes even if the fog lifted. So I grabbed my board and went out for a quick session while the fog lifted. But the time I got back from my car, the beach was clear as a bell and the heats were back on. No matter though, I still had time for my Obligatory 3.
The waves were fun today, but like yesterday, I had to work extra hard not to outrun them. The faces would be great for drop-ins, but then the waves would mush out into these a-frames that would almost crumble at the peak. From there on out it was all about positioning to keep the ride going. And the water is still warm and trunkable, so it all made for a short but enjoyable surf session.
While out in the water, I could hear the horns beginning and ending the heats so I knew when it was time to pack it back up and get my camera. But when I got down to the beach, they’d switched the order up and Slater was no longer set to go in the first heat. Still, I did see Bruce Irons get fourth in his heat. Poor dude, just had no waves come his way. And I did take lots of photos, so those will be coming tout de suite.