4/5/12: Contest is over. Mick Fanning beats Kelly Slater in the final. Slater pulled one of the most incredible airs ever and scores a 10 but can't overtake Mick. Guess who's #1 in the world again? KS 12. Which would probably be the most meaningful – cuz at 40 it means so much more than winning one at 39. The GREATEST needs to perform at 40. So did KS get ripped off? We don't know. Slater got a 10 for one move- probably the best air ever captured on video – the judges never had to deal with something like this – cuz all other single huge moves were justifiably only 7s or 8s or 9s. But this air deserved the 10. Mick was overscored on textbook right ended with a simple double grab air at the beginning if the heat. Some feel Mick was overscored on his 9.7 where he fell at the end, after Slater's 10, although that carve he did on that wave was way outside of Mick's old box of lines – and worth 8 points alone… Maybe the judges overscored a little on it cuz Slater's 10 was for only one move. It definitely was not comparing apples to apples. Mick won on wave selection and solid power surfing – and would have been way way ahead had Slater not made the air of the century thus far. It was literally the first heat I have felt that BOTH guys won. If I was the head judge I would have called it a draw and sent them back out for another hour…
Earlier in the contest – Kelly said in an almost puzzled tone after almost getting taken down by a safely surfed 9.5 – that to the judges it must be “about the carve”. Cuz the judges sure were not rewarding advanced surfing the way they have in the last year. SO Kelly turned it up even more – so they HAD to reward the airs. The competitors in general must have been asking “Why even try to be progressive?” 9.5? Really judges? I won’t name names cuz the guy who got it is a nice guy – but that wave was an 8. Maybe this was the last chance the judges had of throwing out good scores to their sentimental buddies in the name of the “carve” For one more contest the 6 point scores, that used to be 8s a few years ago, were once again 8s and 9s!
4/3/12: Kolohe went down to Bede Durbidge in round 2. Taj surfing in round 3 now. Taj goes down to Kai Otton. Carissa Moore and Malia Manuel are into the quarter-finals in the Womens.
4/2/12: Kolohe Andino vs Taj Burrow vs Nic Muscroft in heat 5. Just when we were about to go into a frenzy the wild card stole the show. Kolohe and Taj will get a second chance in round 2.
Photo: Surfline.com/Ed Sloan
Kolohe Andino and Taj Burrow checking their equipment hours before their heat together. Photo: Noah Alani