Saturday In Surf City
1:34pm: I can't stand it anymore. Waves are pumping, I'm going surfing. I'll fill you in on the women's final later. Defending champ Malia Manuel is back in the final, and will face local girl Courtney Conlogue. Interestingly, at 14-years-old last year Malia was the youngest winner ever at the U.S. Open, and now, a year older and a year wiser and, well, a little more dangerous. Talk to you when I dry off.
12:04pm: The men's quarterfinals is set. Here's what you're looking at tomorrow morning:
Quarter 1: Brett Simpson vs. Nathaniel Curran
Quarter 2: CJ Hobgood vs. Pat Gudauskas
Quarter 3: Kelly Slater vs. Adriano De Souza
Quarter 4: Michel Bourez vs. Mick Fanning
11:16am: Rob's out, Michel Bourez is in. Right now Mick's leading Julian, but it's still tight. Sun is out, waves are still pumping. Just did a run through the crowd, it's frickin' packed. You know it's the final weekend because the donkey security guards are being butt holes. I just had to walk all the way around to get into the media tent.
10:31am: Up next, Rob Machado and Michel Bourez, then Fanning vs. Julian. More sickness in route.
10:24am: Kelly's second score comes it at 6:33...another tube. Game, set, match. How do you go out after this show? It's like The Who following Hendrix...dude's already torched his guitar, all you can do is smash your drum kit and hope somebody remembers. Poor Nic Muscroft. Poor, poor Nic Muscroft. Nobody knows he's even out there. I don't think the announcers have said his name once.
10:13am: Kelly just posted a 10! Sooooo gnarly. Horn went off to start the heat, he paddled into a bomb left, grabbed his rail. Heat was over in the first 45 seconds. He's loving it, definitely enjoying the circus atmosphere, performing for a crowd instead of some lone reef pass. It's like being at the World Series or something. Crazy energy around Kelly. Crowd's freaking out every time he takes a stroke. Simply amazing the draw he has.
10:06am: Kelly just jumped in the water. Got a standing ovation running down the beach.9:46am: CJ cruised through his heat. Done deal. Adriano and Aritz in the water now. It's like a full on World Tour event out here. You should see the beach. It's packed.
9:35am: CJ's dominating. Got that barrel and is sitting in the driver's seat, had Dan Ross comboed. Just talked to Pat Gudauskas. He almost missed his heat. He thought he was in Heat 4, but was in Heat 4. Rushed it down into the water. "Best Huntington I've ever surfed," he says.
9:05am:Nathaniel Curran made it. Gotta feel good to get on a little roll be after a long rookie year on tour. Pat's out right now. He's leading Eric Geisleman. Eric needs about a 4.00 to get back in it. Next is our boy CJ vs Dan Ross. Sun's starting to peak out.
8:49am: Waves are better this morning, a little more broken up. Still some big sweeping sets, but maybe a few more corners than yesterday, definitely potential for some good action. Local boy Brett Simpson and Matty Wilkinson are in the water right now. Brett started strong and got to work early. But Matty waited, sat, and got a left-hand barrel that got him an 8.5 and the lead. On his next wave Matty floated a closeout section and broke his board on the landing. That was it. Last second death float by Brett put him back in the lead. The win goes to a local boy. "I had a feeling I was going to break it, but you gotta do what you gotta do," he says.So the gauntlet's been thrown already. Some heavy heats today, can't wait to see Mick Fanning vs. Julian Wilson at the end of the round, that's a cracker for sure. Also rooting on Pat Gudauskas, he had a big heat yesterday. He's stepped up his game against CJ and Andy; he seems to have a little more man-surfing going on…all the better to make me feel even more inferior next time we surf together.
I'll keep you posted throughout the day.