The ASP must be cursing their luck this year. For the first time ever they have a huge sponsor backing the tour, and for the first time ever the first five events have whimpered under uninspiring conditions. Sick barrels are down, hell wipeouts are down and most importantly web viewing stats.
But whilst the occasional surf fan is drifting away from live webcasts, for the surfing geek, yeah they exist, this season has been a let down when it comes to wave quality. The key behind this upswing in geeks, is that for the first time in years, the world title race is wide open.
No one wants to lose in round two, a 33rd (better known as a dirty turd), is the quick way back to the world qualifying series, and there are already a couple of surfers racking these up. It’s a scrappy round, but Taj Burrow, Mick Fanning, Nat Young and Kolohe Andino, all potential champs all got through.
The surprise/result of the round was Ireland’s Glen Hall beating top ten rated Josh Kerr. Hall, who is actually from Oz but surfs under an Irish passport, was clinical and deserving of the victory. Just a year on from breaking his back in this very contest, he looks like he belongs on the WCT.
Mick Fanning kicked off the round with a standard clinical heat, that’s surf speak for pretty dull. But as the tide dropped, barrels finally appeared and Nat Young threaded his way to the second heat win. But it was heat three that had the fireworks.
Michel ‘The Spartan’ Bourez, tour leader from French Polynesia smashed Frenchman Jeremy Flores with the heat score of the round. He made a couple of rediculous barrels, whilst J-Flo just kept getting clipped breaking boards as he did. Surfing like this, and with two event wins in the bag, people are starting to believe The Spartan could bring the world title home.
The remaining three heats of the day saw Felipe Toledo, Kelly Slater and Owen wright all progress. The rest of round three should finish tonight, with possible round four as well. Although the forecast then looks for a downsizing of swell so watch this space.