This thing is getting serious. Up to today, Lowers has been smiles, a few carefree heats, some shaved ice and bro-shakes. But today something changed. As we got deep into the Open division faces started to change. Tears leaked from flooded eyes and pens began protesting. Big names started going home. And a few favorites got the scare of a lifetime. Tanner Gudauskas summed it up as we stood listening to the results of his round one Open Mens heat, where he found himself the not-so-proud owner of a triangle in an early round match up. Luckily for Tanner he squeaked it out and looked up obviously a bit shaken, “ Oh my god, that was so eggy.”
It wasn’t going to get any less eggy for his next heat. As I sat on the rocks with Dusty Payne who had just made his quarter final, he told me what it’s like to sit in the little pack of guys waiting for a set. “It gets so tense sitting there if no waves are coming. Then a set comes and you just put your elbows up and get gnarly.”
In the heat of the day by far Tanner Gudauskas found himself in a full-on scrap to the last second against a fired up Casey Brown who had the RVCA crew in a frenzy on the beach. Eric Geiselman, who obviously spent the day working out any kinks he had and came out on all cylinders, Chas Chidester who has everyone wondering who let him out of his cage, and Wes Larsen made a lot of fans with back hand hacks. Casey Brown busted out one of the first claims with a simple fist pump after throwing down a 9.75, sending Gudauskas, Geiselman, Chidester and Larsen into an Oh-my-God scramble in the last 2 minutes. Everyone on the cobblestone bleachers was in a frenzy as sets stacked up out the back. Each surfer got an opportunity. Tanner lit up a medium one for a 4. Geiselman buttered one up for a 6. And Chidester slipped up on a tail-free slide. As all the surfers came in on their stomachs the judges calculated what happened. Tanner looked as bit on edge as he was hearing everyone else’s scores. He squeaked it for a third. Geiselman in second and Casey Brown took the win. Kyle Ramey, who was lost at sea most of the heat got one after the buzzer that would have been an 11. At least he got out some tension.
And if I haven’t been clear enough about how good the Open boys division is today I saw two 13-year olds put on a show of the Curren vs. Slater magnitude. Luke Davis of Capo Beach drew out some of the most beautiful forehand cutties I have ever seen. Honestly. Davis went wave for wave with Kolohe Andino who honestly is Taj Burrow in miniature. I could have made a signature film for these two with this heat on film. Okay I’m late for the final day and after the week of surfing I’ve seen, I can’t even imagine the things I’m going to see today. I’m going to see the WCT 2017 title race go down today in miniature. See you on the cobblestones.