After a brief bout of morning sickness, with overcast skies and weak windswell discouragingly reminiscent of the day prior, the afternoon brought with it sunshine, a building SW, and semi-clean open faces. As the tides fluctuated throughout the day, peaks shifting and sets jacking up in places they hadn’t in previous heats, we saw many top competitors simply unable get the sets required to push them through to the next round.
But there was definitely no shortage of good surfing. The obvious stand-out heat of the day was Heat 8 of Round Five when 15-year-old Hawaiian Wildcard Carissa Moore took on WCT surfer Adriano de Souza, World Tour vet Shane Beschen, and Aussie James Wood. Although Moore’s waves weren’t enough to advance, she justified herself in the lineup, exhibiting the power and poise of one far beyond her years. She came out of the water just as happy and bubbly as she’d entered it, keenly aware that being both female and a teenager and surfing at the Men’s QS level, is a prize in itself. “I just had so much fun out there, it was just great to surf with those guys,” she said, beaming.
Shane Beschen also acknowleged Moore’s extraordinary competitive abilities. “I felt kind of bad taking waves from her,” he said after the heat. “But she’s alright—she’s got a big career in front of her.”
Beschen seems to be on fire this week, scoring three of the top 10 best scoring waves of the contest, as well as the overall top wave score of 9.87.
Apart from an audience’s fascination with young talent, sports audiences love a good comeback. Spectators at the event seemed to be abuzz with word of the competitive return of Richie Collins, who spent three seasons in the ASP top 10 in the late 80s, and after several wins this week, will go on to compete tomorrow in Round Six against young shredders Kiron Jabour, Tanner Gudauaskas, and Adriano de Souza.
With consistent surf and continuing sunshine predicted over the next few days, there’s a good chance the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro will only get better from here.