You need to be perfect when you're surfing the lefts at Haleiwa, explained 2011 Reef Hawaiian Pro Champion Taj Burrow. The 33-year-old regularfoot from Western Australia won the first jewel of the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing yesterday.
"It's pretty difficult," said Burrow of the windblown, 4 to 6-foot waves at Haleiwa, "I wanted to be prepared for big turns on the rights or really focusing on the lefts because they're really tricky to ride. If you make any mistake you'll catch a rail and blow it."
The final day of the Reef Hawaiian Pro saw a lot less big maneuvers on the Toilet Bowl section and more vertical snaps and aerials into the wind on the slopey lefts. Haleiwa local and 2011 Clash of the Legends winner Ross Williams, 38, ranked the less than ideal conditions yesterday at Alii Beach Park as a three on a scale of one to 10.
"There's some really fun waves out there, but in our (Clash of the Legends) heat, it went flat," said Williams, who was awarded $10,000 for first place in the exhibition event, "I caught one wave in that heat, and most of our scores were counted from the day before."
According to Williams, who grew up surfing at Haleiwa, the swell yesterday was shifting north, which produced more lefts and less rights.
Great surfers always find a way to shine in lackluster waves and Taj Burrow stepped up to the challenge. The No. three ranked surfer on the World Tour stayed patient throughout the final and picked off the biggest waves of the set.
"It's pretty tough and you have to be selective," said Burrow who won with a two-wave total of 16.90 out of a possible 20 points. "I'm normally not that patient, but I tried to wait for those bigger waves even though I didn't do the most rad surfing ever on my nine (point ride.) I think the judges liked the size of the wave."
Burrow took out fellow Aussie Adam Melling, 26. While Melling would have preferred a victory, he was still psyched to make it as a finalist in Hawaii.
"I've always wanted to get into the final over here because it's such a unique place, and it's a hard place to surf," said Meiling of the North Shore, "I wanted to get the bomb rights, but I didn't want to wait. There were a lot of lefts coming in all day. I think I got a good backhand whip on me at times, so I use it to my advantage."
Melling finished above Brazil's Adriano De Souza, 24. The No. five ranked surfer on the World Tour looked in-form before the final, but had problems finishing his rides in the last heat yesterday, which earned De Souza third place.
Santa Cruz California's Nat Young, 20, was the lone goofy-foot in the final. Young didn't really have a chance to find a rhythm in the challenging conditions and finished in fourth place. Next up for the Triple Crown is the Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset, which could potentially start on Friday.2011 Reef Hawaiian Pro Finals
Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.90pts ; Adam Melling (AUS) 12.12.60pts ; Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.50 pts ; Nat Young (USA) 6.10 pts
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.84pts ; Nat Young (USA) 12.70pts ; John John Florence (HAW) 11.50pts ; Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 10.67pts
Heat 2: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 13.54pts ; Adam Melling (AUS) 13.16pts ; Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.30pts ; Roy Powers (HAW) 4.57pts
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.10pts ; Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 15.60pts ; Evan Geiselman (USA) 15.00pts ; Kolohe Andino (HAW) 6.90pts
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 17.77pts ; John John Florence (HAW) 14.27pts ; Kieren Perrow (AUS) 5.50pts ; Glen Hall (IRL) 5.20pts
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.50pts ; Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.30pts ; Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.20 pts ; Jesse Mendes (BRA) 9.17pts
Heat 4: Roy Powers (HAW) 15.00pts ; Adam Melling (AUS) 9.90pts ; Brett Simpson (USA) 7.33pts ; Granger Larsen (HAW) 6.83pts
Round of 32
Heat 1: Evan Geiselman (USA)11.33pts ; Kieren Perrow (AUS)10.73pts ; Hodei Collazo (EUK) 6.84pts ; Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 2.90pts
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (HAW) 11.84pts ; Nat Young (USA) 9.70pts ; Adrien Toyon (REU)9.27pts ; Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 9.13pts
Heat 3: Glenn Hall (IRL) 15.43pts ; Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 14.37pts ; Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 10.34pts ; Leonardo Neves (BRA)10.00pts
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 16.27pts ; Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.26pts ; Thiago Camarao 7.77pts (BRA) ; Daniel Ross (AUS) 7.70pts
Heat 5: Adriano De Souza (BRA) 12.67pts ; Brett Simpson (USA) 12.34pts ; Dusty Payne (HAW) 9.60pts ; Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.30pts
Heat 6: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 11.19pts ; Adam Melling (AUS) 10.73pts ; Dion Atkinson (AUS) 8.83pts ; Adam Robertson (AUS) 8.50pts
Heat 7: Roy Powers (HAW) 9.94pts ; Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.50pts ; Jadson Andre (BRA) 8.57pts ; Marc Lacomare (FRA) 5.83pts
Heat 8: Granger Larsen (HAW) 14.60pts ; Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.60pts ; Nathaniel Curran (USA) 10.84pts ; Aritz Aramburu (EUK) 7.93pts
CLASH of the LEGENDS
Heat 2 : Ross Williams (HAW) 14.50pts ; Shane Dorian (HAW) 14.44 pts ; Rob Machado (USA) 10.83pts ; Kalani Robb (HAW) 8.27pts