A fresh pulse of south swell greeted the remaining competitors at the Nike Lowers Pro on day 4. With two rounds of man-on-man heats to dust before tomorrow’s finals, an incredible day of surfing took place.
There were some high-scoring affairs and heartbreaking losses suffered. But after the dust settled, perhaps the most unexpected performance of the event was from Dane Reynolds.
Dane has been showing a new competitive fire that we aren’t accustomed to seeing from him. He won two early morning heats on days 2 and 3, in dominating fashion for a self admitted anti-morning person. Equally shocking is the fact that Reynolds has been employing heat-tactics– hassling, paddle battling, and getting backup scores– all things that he’s refused to do in the past. Dane scored a 9.8 against Granger Larsen for a wave he normally would have blasted to the skies on. But after falling on several airs and needing a score, he connected a series of turns, loosening his fins for the highest single wave score of the event.
Still, Dane says he didn’t feel confident until his last heat today, where he had a combined heat total of 18.63. During a post-heat interview he commented:
Jodie Nelson: “You’re surfing with a lot of style and confidence. You seem really poised. What’s the difference with this event?”
Dane: “I’ve been feeling really sketchy this whole event… I’m not sure what happened but this afternoon I felt a lot better. Finally.”
Dane will now face a red-hot Gabriel Medina in quarterfinal 3. Medina beat Brett Simpson in nail-biting fashion today in what Shea Lopez called one of the best heats ever at Lowers.
Expect the contest to finish Saturday, May 4.
patrick hourihan’s photos from the event here.