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Quiksilver Pro France: Fanning, Parko Make Early Exits

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

quiksilver pro france

It was a fairly brutal day for most of the usual suspects as action got underway at the ‘08 Quiksilver Pro France today. The call was made to run the event this morning as the approaching swell began filling in overnight. Wave size was in the 2-4 ft. range with absolutely beautiful weather conditions (in the morning anyways) in Hossegor.

Although both needed to make it at least to the semifinal round in order to guarantee that Kelly Slater has no chance of clinching the world championship in France, Joel Parkinson and Mick Fanning find themselves on the outside looking in following surprising Rd. 2 losses.

After falling to rookie-phenom Dane Reynolds in Rd. 1, current world no.4 Joel Parkinson was sent out of the event for good at the hands of Tahitian wildcard surfer Michel Bourez. This took place just moments after seeing fellow Coolie-kid and reigning world champ Mick Fanning be eliminated by injury replacement surfer Gabe Kling in the previous heat. “Mick has been one of my favorite surfers and I can’t really believe that happened,” Kling said. “It was so hard out there and him needing that small of score… I just got lucky but I’ll take it. I’m stoked to win though, he’s a reigning world champion.”

Andy Irons finds himself in a do-or-die Rd. 2 match-up against Brazil’s Jihad Khodr once action resumes tomorrow. It’s still super hard to tell what is going on with the 3x champ from Hawaii. Although the conditions were shifty and inconsistent, the 3x winner of this event threw up a meager 2.34 in a first round heat that saw Jordy Smith make his way to Rd. 3. I’m not gonna lie, A.I. is far and away one of my all-time favorite surfers to watch and is honestly just too damn good of a surfer to perform that way. Maybe he’s ready to go the way of his brother Bruce and resign from full-time WCT status, perhaps there’s an injury or something else going on, but here’s to hoping the only surfer to put fear into the mind of Kelly Slater can get back to the surfing that has made him one of the all-time greats to ever set foot on a board.

Speaking of Slater… he struggled at the beginning as well today, as he went down in his 1st round heat to wildcard contestant Joan Duru. His Rd. 2 match-up versus U.S. Open runner-up Tim Boal saw Slater battling from behind for most of the round. However with a late 9.0 score, Slater moved on to Rd. 3 and kept his hope of clinching #9 in France alive and strong. “This is a tough place for a contest,” Slater said. “It’s really amazing that Andy won this contest three times and got a second the year before that because the waves change so much and it really is the luck of the draw out in those heats. The guy who gets the best waves is going to win and it happens a lot here at this contest.”

And don’t think for a second Kelly doesn’t know right where the race for the world championship stands. Even he admitted the thought of clinching may have been creeping into the back of his mind. “It probably just has my head a little bit – thinking about it,” Slater said. “It’s hard to get that monkey off your back, thinking you had the chance to do something like that. I guess I have been thinking about it a little bit over the last week and I just haven’t gotten in sync so far. That heat I felt pretty good, still not great, but I got a couple of good scores – those lefts panned out for me and allowed me to get a couple big moves.”

With the swell expected to continue increasing, Rd. 2 is likely to resume tomorrow morning. The official call on competition status will be made tomorrow morning at 7:30. You can peep the action HERE.

Here are the rest of today’s results from the Quiksilver Pro France…

Quiksilver Pro France Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.67 def. Tim Boal (FRA) 15.00
Heat 2: Gabe Kling (USA) 12.07 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.00
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.00 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.67
Heat 4: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.00 def. Nic Muscroft (AUS) 9.44

Quiksilver Pro France Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Ben Dunn (AUS) 12.84, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.06, Leonardo Neves (BRA) 8.6
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 17.13, Jay Thompson (AUS) 15.2, Daniel Ross (AUS) 10.1
Heat 3: Roy Powers (HAW) 13.6, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.56, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 11.9
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.97, Jihad Khodr (BRA) 6.63, Andy Irons (HAW) 2.34
Heat 5: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.67, Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.40, Ricky Basnett (ZAF) 5.83
Heat 6: Tom Whitaker (AUS) 15.50, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 13.84, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.50
Heat 7: Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.16, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.60, Michel Bourez (PYF) 9.30
Heat 8: Joan Duru (FRA) 10.50, Kelly Slater (USA) 9.94, Chris Ward (USA) 9.90
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.67, Tim Reyes (USA) 11.50, Tim Boal (FRA) 5.77
Heat 10: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 15.00, Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.40, Gabe Kling (USA) 13.5
Heat 11: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.94, Kai Otton (AUS) 10.67, Mikael Picon (FRA) 10.34
Heat 12: Daniel Wills (AUS) 16.17, Heitor Alves (BRA) 4.74, Bruce Irons (HAW) 2.77
Heat 13: Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 13.80, Luke Stedman (AUS) 12.83, Damien Hobgood (USA) 12.10
Heat 14: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.16, Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.63, Mick Campbell (AUS) 12.10
Heat 15: Pancho Sullivan (HAW) 14.50, Ben Bourgeois (USA) 14.30, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.44
Heat 16: Dayyan Neve (AUS) 15.66, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 13.34, Luke Munro (AUS) 7.76

Posted in Surfing | 4 Comments »

Possible Saturday Start for Quik Pro, Great Match-Ups for Rd. 1

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

quik pro france

The holding period for the 2008 Quiksilver Pro France officially opened today, however the Atlantic Ocean just wasn’t giving up any love for the French leg of the ASP World Tour. Conditions at Hossegor were about as weak as it possibly gets today. The call for a lay-day was a pretty easy one to make for the event organizers, especially with a solid swell making it’s way there as early as tomorrow. With the possible 3-5 ft. swell on tap for Saturday, last year’s rookie of the year, as well as one of the hometown favorites Jeremy Flores could very well be taking to the water to lead off what is a fantastic 1st round of match-ups scheduled for the Quiksilver Pro.

Kelly Slater will get his march to #9 going in the 8th eat of Rd. 1 as he comes up against San Clemente, Ca. surfer Chris Ward and wild-card contestant Joan Duru from France. Kelly is obviously very aware of what needs to take place in order for him to move onto Mundaka with his 9th world championship in hand. “I know I have to win the event to clinch the title and a second won’t be enough, that’s the math,” Slater said. His past experience and lack of typical Slater success in France makes this an even tougher task for Slater. Slater has only one French ASP World Tour win to his credit 14 years into his career. “It is a great event but I got third place four years in a row which is pretty frustrating,” Slater said. “The first and only time I won here was in 1996, 12 years ago.”

This years U.S. Open of Surfing runner-up, as well as likely full-timer on the ‘09 Dream Tour Tim Boal, also from France, won the Komunity Trials to join Joan Duru and Michel Bourez as the final wildcard into the event. Boal will surf in another heat likely to produce epic surfing when he hoes up against Trestle’s runner-up and current world no.2 Taj Burrow and Huntington Beach phenom Timmy Reyes once action gets underway. Other top heats include Heat 4, featuring Andy Irons and Dane Reynolds, and Heat 7, which features Joel Parkinson and Dane Reynolds.

The official call for the beginning of the ‘08 Quik Pro France will be made tomorrow at 8am local time, stay tuned!

Quiksilver Pro France Heat Draw:
Heat 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA), Ben Dunn (AUS), Leonardo Neves (BRA)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Jay Thompson (AUS), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Roy Powers (HAW), Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 4: Andy Irons (HAW), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Jihad Khodr (BRA)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA), Taylor Knox (USA), Ricky Basnett (ZAF)
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Tom Whitaker (AUS), Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Dane Reynolds (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 8: Kelly Slater (USA), Chris Ward (USA), Joan Duru (FRA)
Heat 9: Taj Burrow (AUS), Tim Reyes (USA), Tim Boal (FRA)
Heat 10: Mick Fanning (AUS), Kieren Perrow (AUS), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 11: Kai Otton (AUS), Mikael Picon (FRA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 12: Bruce Irons (HAW), Heitor Alves (BRA), Daniel Wills (AUS)
Heat 13: Luke Stedman (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA)
Heat 14: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Mick Campbell (AUS)
Heat 15: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Pancho Sullivan (HAW), Ben Bourgeois (USA)
Heat 16: Dayyan Neve (AUS), Royden Bryson (ZAF), Luke Munro (AUS)

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2008 ASR Recap

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Twice a year the action sports industry comes together to showcase and display what they have in store for the upcoming year. ASR, the Action Sports Retailers tradeshow, brings together not only the big players of the action sports industry, but gives up and coming brands the opportunity to launch their brands to the industries who’s who. One major difference that’s notable this year is the absence of the major footwear companies. Brands such as Sole Technology (Etnies, ES, Emerica), and Globe have opted out of attending the show. Being that ASR is heavily influenced by skate and surf brands, the absence of these brands is quite apparent. But this may be a grand opportunity for other brands to step up and shine in their place. With such a void of the presence, other themes and brands are catching people’s attention.

Noticeable surf brands that were showing what they could bring to the table were your obvious contenders, Quik, Bong, Hurley, Volcom, and Lost. There were a lot of other notable brands that also were making an unexpected presence at the show as well. Smaller brands that focus on surf like Ezekiel, Lost, and Fox all made the push to showcase their spring lines.

Since the main focus of the show is to highlight the spring lines, there was no shortage boardshorts, swimwear, walkshorts, tanks and tees. Bright colors and geometric graphics still prove to hold strong and look to continue through until next year. Neons and fluorescent colors seem to still highlight the slimmer shorter silhouettes of boardies and shorts. Always leading the pack and pushing the envelope with the boardshorts is Billabong. All the boardshorts on display looked to be leaning toward the shorter length, veering away from the standard over the knee boardies that have been the standard in the industry for many years. Jumbo all over graphics, mixing geometrics with animal prints, the Billabong assortment proved to be new and exciting while stilling to their roots as clean and wearable boardshorts.

billabong boardshorts

One notably cool disply on the ASR floor was the Quiksilver compound. They had a total of 4 booths at the show to exhibit their range of men’s, core, and woman’s divisions as well as a full set up for Roxy. Between this massive layout they displayed their timeline in boardshort history. The lounge exhibit held cases of boardshorts from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and today to give buyers and visitors a like a brief history not only of what Quiksilver has brought to the surfing community, but how it shaped and set the standard for the industry throughout time. Most interesting of all was to see how the styles of today can truly be accredited to how things use to be as fashion has seem to come full circle within action sports.

quiksilver boardshorts

quik boardshorts

Though the show was much calmer this year, there was nothing subdued about the brands and activity that was still in attendance. It will be interesting to see how the industry moves into the Fall 2009 season. This week the east coast gets a taste of what is to come for the Spring 2009 season as we move to Orlando, Florida for Surf Expo.

Posted in Industry | 3 Comments »

Quiksilver Set to Dump Rossignol

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Rossignol LogoIn a move that has been forecast by many for quite some time now, Quiksilver is apparently set to finally part ways with Rossignol, the ski company they purchased for $300 million back in March, 2005. The writing has been on the wall with move for a while, never more so than with the removal of former Quiksilver President Bernard Mariette back in February. Mariette was at the forefront of the Rossignol acquisition.

With a binding offer being made by Chartreuse & Mont Blanc, led by Bruno Cercley, former CEO of Rossignol, for a proposed $100 million, Quiksilver is now ready to set itself free from it’s failed venture into the ski industry and get back to focusing on the core brands they have built their empire upon. “This offer is a compelling transaction for Quiksilver and represents the culmination of a thorough sale process. Once completed, we can fully concentrate our efforts on our core apparel and footwear brands Quiksilver, Roxy and DC.”- Robert B. McKnight, Jr (President/CEO) Quiksilver, Inc.

Posted in Brands, Snow | 1 Comment »

ESPN Out of Touch with Action Sports

Friday, May 9th, 2008

quiksilver x logoThe much publicized decision made by ESPN to file a lawsuit against Quiksilver over the letter ‘X‘ (silly, isn’t it?) is a decision that will continue to find ESPN and the X-Games painted into a corner all by themselves when it comes to the action sports industry.

In short, the lawsuit basically states that Quiksilver uses a stylized “X” emblem on clothing, labels and accessories that is “confusingly similar” to ESPN’s logo for the series of surfing and biking contests.

Aside from the fact that the basis of this lawsuit appears to be petty and childish, picking a fight with one of the biggest brands in all of action sports isn’t going to do anything beneficial for the continually sagging ratings of the X-Games. For most of us, Quiksilver is a brand that is near and dear to our hearts and one that we would side with over ESPN in a heartbeat.

It has been a gradual decline for the X-Games, but ESPN seems intent on speeding up the process of seeing the games go by the wayside altogether. We just witnessed how well the ‘let’s drop Vert, the event that put us on the map and gave us our signature moment’ decision went over with the masses. Hint: the decision was quickly reversed. They are even going as far as to infuse Hollywood actors into the games and having them judge sports that they know absolutely nothing about.

The thought process being used by the decision-makers at ESPN and X-Games over the last few years is highly questionable. With the direction they’ve taken it’s hard to know what their intentions for the future are. Surely these aren’t the types of decisions made by people who are at all in touch with what makes their fan-base tick.

x-gamesquiksilver

Posted in Brands, Industry | 10 Comments »

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Final Recap

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

quiksilver pro gold coastIf the ‘08 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast was any indication of how the rest of this years ASP tour will go, there is much to look forward to. The conditions all week at Snapper Rocks and D-bah were average at best. The competition itself however, was exceptional.

THE KING – When it was all said and done, it was a familiar face on the podium. With so much focus on many of the other surfers, he decided to give us all a reminder of what it is that makes him so great. The man has ice-water in his veins. In almost every heat he surfed at the Quik Pro he seemed to pull out huge scores right when he needed them most. He seems to be leaning toward not going to Bell’s, or so he says, but here’s to hoping he shows up. It is a completely different tour without Kelly, and we’ll all be better off if his lead-off victory at Snapper will fuel his fire to continue on in search for his 9th world championship.

THE OTHERS – Although I’m sure its of no consolation to Mick Fanning, Slaters uncommitted stance on surfing a full schedule in ‘08 combined with his runner-up finish at Snapper leave him in a solid position as he starts off his campaign to defend his title. In fact, if the ASP judges continue to reward Mick’s mechanical surfing as much as they did in the Quik Pro, Slater may be the only surfer capable of taking his crown. There is no denying the judges are quite taken with Fanning’s style.

Last years rookie of the year Jeremy Flores picked up right where he left off and has made it known that he deserves to be considered among the title for this year and years to come. He surfs like a young Kelly Slater and will start seeing more and more of the winners circle as he polishes his game. We all know he wants that world title more than anything and it’s only a matter of when he wins it, not if.

Both Parko and Taj came into this year with added pressure and while they killed it early on, both were looking for better results from their Snapper runs. The way they respond at Bells will tell us just how serious they are at making a legitimate title-run.

THE JUDGINGSlater won yesterday, but had Mick pulled off the 8.61 he needed to come out on top at Snapper there would have been a lot more made of the questionable judging. While I’m not sure it’s intentional, there seems to be some real issues with how each judge is scoring a wave. Slater opened his bag of tricks and was surfing creatively while Manning stayed with his conventional massive bottom turns and snaps. Mick’s conventional style scored very well and go towards demonstrating the issue that surfing is facing. Even the judges themselves seem to be at a crossroad when it comes to how they score each maneuver. It will be impossible for the style of surfing on tour to progress if the progression isn’t rewarded. Surfing is headed for a revolution of progression and innovation, and hopefully the ASP judges will begin to see that.

quiksilverkelly slater
asp world tour

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Kelly Slater Claims Victory at Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast

Tuesday, March 4th, 2008

kelly slater wins quiksilver pro goldcoastLeading up to the 2008 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast all of the talk and hype was centered around the ‘Coolie-kids’ as well as Jordy and Dane’s first full year on tour. That was just fine with Kelly as it took much of the focus and pressure off of him.

Eight-time world champion Kelly Slater started of this years ASP world tour on top with an unbelievably impressive performance at Snapper Rocks. Making this victory all the more impressive is the fact that Slater had to face 3-time world champ Andy Irons and then follow that match-up with a semifinal battle with last years rookie of the year Jeremy Flores just to make it to the final.

In the final, Slater overcame hometown favorite (as well as some hometown judging, but more on that later) Mick Fanning 17.94 to 15.23 to claim his second Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast title and position himself atop the ratings for the first time since claiming his last ASP World Crown in 2006.

Where does that leave the future of Slater as far as the tour goes? That seemed to be the question on everyones minds following his triumph. The way it’s looking, with it apparent that not even Slates knows if he’s going to be at the next stop at Bells, that question won’t be answered until the last few days leading up to the event.

So will he continue on to number 9? Who knows. But for now, Congratulations Kelly Slater, the 2008 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast Champion!

asp world tourwctkelly slater
quiksilver

Posted in Surfing | 1 Comment »

Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast: Round 3 Recap

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

kelly slater quiksilver proSnapper Rocks is definitely heating up. Round 3 of the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast came to an end yesterday and saw all of surfing’s heavyweights aligning themselves for a winning run at the WCT’s opening event. Misdirected swells and swinging tide have kept the conditions at Snapper fluctuating and was the motive for an extra five minutes tacked on to every heat. For surfers like Mick Fanning, Taj Burrow, and Andy Irons who came out absolutely firing, five minutes was all they needed to seal their spot in the 4th round. For others like Bruce Irons and Bobby Martinez, even with the extra five they could just not get their game going.

RISERS – There were several heats in round 3 that were over just as quickly as they started. Within minutes of making it out to the line-up for their respective heats, Jordy Smith, Fanning, Burrow, and Irons, and many of the other favorites found themselves with nearly insurmountable leads. This early aggressiveness was key in round 3 as the surfers who fell behind early spent the rest of their heats searching for waves that could produce the massive scores needed to compete. With Snapper breaking like it has been, it has made it quite difficult to tell which waves will set up for big rides and which will simply fade. Smith, Burrow, and Irons in particular really unleashed incredible performances in their heats. Taj’s 9.87 was wave of the day as he unleashed an assault of 15 or so brutal turns and snaps on an unsuspecting wave. This guy really looks to be in top form as we move into the 4th round. Slater, Parko, and Dean Morrison all looked as solid as ever in Rd. 3 as well.

DROPPERS – The struggles of Julian Wilson against Fanning was understandable. Before he even knew what hit him, Wilson was facing a combo situation as judges had heavily rewarded the world champ for his series of trademark ‘Fanning swoops’. Possibly cracking under the hype that has surrounded Jordy as well as surfing a break that does not favor goofies, Bobby Martinez really struggled to get anything going whatsoever while Jordy simply did what Jordy does and blew minds. With that being said, Bruce Irons gave what had to be the most disappointing as well as uninspired performance of the round. Paddling out into deteriorating conditions in what was the last heat of the day, Irons look disinterested from the outset. Adrian Buchan put together a solid, but not amazing combination of waves and held an early lead that someone of the caliber of Irons should have easily been able to overtake. But Bruce just sat and sat. It wasn’t until around the 12 minute mark that he finally took off on a wave. Even once up and riding for the first time in the heat, the disinterest was apparent and his body language screamed he would rather be someplace else. Irons finished his Quiksilver Pro bid with a meager score of 6.44 in his outgoing heat. The 3rd round also saw rookie Dane Reynolds get taken out by local Dean Morrison. Reynolds had one wave that scored very solidly, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Morrison’s knowledge of a break he has surfed thousands of times before.

KEY MOMENT – I’m not sure how many who were watching the webcast caught this, but the scoring of Andy Irons top wave in heat 15 surely has to raise the eyebrows of the ASP as well as everyone on the ‘CT. Iron’s wave was definitely on the more ‘unconventional’ side as he followed some vicious snaps with a straight-air and closed the wave off with a 360 off of the lip. He ended up with a 9.17 on the wave which seemed about right. It was how the judges ended up with that score that shows that even they are confused on how to score progressive surfing. Three of the judges gave Irons scores that ranged from 9.6-9.7, and the other two had it at 8.0. How is that possible? In all my life I don’t think I have ever witnessed a range of scoring that large while watching sports that use human judging to decide their winners. There is a clear philosophical difference on the criteria that is being used to score waves as evidenced by a nearly 2 pt. swing in scoring. Obviously there is confusion amongst surfings hierarchy on which direction the sport is moving and what constitutes a championship surfer.

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No Quiksilver Eddie Aikau for 07/08

Sunday, March 2nd, 2008

eddie aikauIt’s official, there will be no Eddie. The 23rd annual Quiksilver Big Wave Invitational in Memory of Eddie Aikau officially came to a close this weekend. In a year that will go down as the worst ever for waves on the North Shore, it never really had a chance.

The Eddie has always been more than just a big-wave contest. Aside from giving surfers from around the world a chance to prove themselves against the original “big-wave”, it provides a yearly opportunity for the surfing community to honor the legend that is Eddie Aikau.

Since it’s inaugural running in 1985, the Eddie has only actually ran seven times. Event organizers are as strict as any when it comes to making the call to hold the contest, as evidenced by the words of contest director George Downing;

Of course, we would love to have had the contest this year, but the one thing we’ll never do is compromise the standards we have set. It’s that 20-foot-plus standard that sets Waimea apart from other big-wave venues and that made the place special to Eddie.

I guess when you are honoring a man whose countless acts of heroism and big-wave prowess inspired the most famous three words in surfing, “Eddie would go”, compromising your standards is simply not an option. And that is what gives the Eddie the prestige that it holds. It’s more than just a big-wave event, it’s a tribute to a legend.

quiksilver

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Quiksilver Pro Rd. 2 Recap

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

The second round of the Quiksilver Pro found Snapper Rocks coming back to form following several days of small-surf and uncooperative conditions. Snapper wasn’t alone in returning to it’s form as 2 time world-champ Andy Irons opened up and let loose in the opening heat of the day to put a quick end to 16 yr. old trials winner Tamaroa McCombs run and avoid what would have been an absolutely disastrous T-33rd finish for A.I. in the inaugural event of the ASP Tour. In a stark contrast to his demeanor in and out of the water during the opening round, the former world-champ sounded quite pleased with the way he surfed Tuesday, and after posting a 9.70 to seal his spot in the 3rd round he has every reason to be.

I haven’t gotten a 9 in about six months so it felt unreal. I haven’t made heats in a while and I guess I just haven’t been into it. In the offseason I really had to think about that and now I’m really psyched. I want to be here and I want to do well. I like to win heats and it feels good. It’s my new buzz.

ROOKIE WATCH – The frosh class pulled off some very impressive victories Tuesday, setting up some interesting match-ups in the upcoming 3rd round. Jordy Smith surfed a flawless heat and Dane Reynolds fired away and both move on to face Bobby Martinez and Dean Morrison respectively. Julian Wilson narrowly edged out Pancho Sullivan to move onto the 3rd round as well. This was a particularly surprising result to me as I really expected Pancho to do well with the way he had been surfing as of late.

INJURY WATCH – Fred Patacchia was unable to get the his ankle back into good enough condition and Jay “Bottle” Thompson moved on as a result. Aritz Aranburu also wasn’t able to go, giving Neco Padaratz (my dark-horse contestant) an easy pass into the next round of action.

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