Andy versus Manoa. This was the heat everyone was waiting for. After their first round match up where the two highly competitive surfers went at it like a pair of caged dogs, today’s round three exchange was a tame affair. With the waves a bit inconsistent, Andy went for the smaller inside ones and gained momentum while Manoa, a heavy crowd favorite, waited out the back in vain. The most telling quote of the exchange was last night when Manoa asked a Billabong team guy if he was going to get fired if he beat Andy. The answer? Hell no, get out there and rip his throat out! That’s what competitive surfing is all about.
Slater versus trials winner Heiarri Williams was a good one. With nothing to lose and already making some bank, the 19 year old local trials winner gave Slater a run for his money with a couple long pig dog style tube rides before Slater kicked it up a notch and banged out tow rides that each scored over nine points. Kelly has been really low pro and has waited to surf until his heats. The strategy has worked and Slater is looking more than solid.
Danny Fuller just beat Taj Burrow to advance to round four. Fuller, who qualified after an injury to a WCT surfer opened a spot, is on a roll and his years of Teahupo’o experience is paying off.
Still to come: Round four of the men’s and a half day left to crown the ladies champion, which will most likely happen tomorrow.
Thanks to Billabong, the Maoni family, Air Tahiti Nui and the Tahitian Tourism Board for their gracious hospitality!