Sunset Beach: Day 3

posted by / News / December 1, 2008

Pat O’Connell gave Yadin Nicol a little challenge yesterday afternoon: paddle out with him in the 35-knot, victory-at-sea conditions at Sunset, and he’d be the better for it when he surfed his heat today. “We won’t even check it,” said Pat as he drove a dubious Nicol to the Sunset parking lot about 3 p.m. “Just suit up, grab your board and see what happens.”

So, after telling Randy Rarick to call the coast guard if he didn’t turn up for his heat the next day, Yadin pulled out a chippy little 6’9” and followed Pat out into a sea of foam.

It was ugly out there.

Big, roaming teepees moving in the wrong direction. Lines of whitewater stacked to the horizon. And a whipping wind that blinded you with every stroke. After about 45 minutes of bobbing and weaving and eventually getting washed to the inside, Pat motioned Yadin to go in. But Yadin shook his head. He motioned back out, so they gave it one more go. And within five minutes, Nicol was outside in the saddle for a heaving, 10-foot wedge that escorted him straight across the Bowl and to the beach.

That’s the kind of preparation that gets you through the tough heats at Sunset. Prove your love, and it will be kind to you. Take extended naps when the round is called off for the day, and it will pull the rug from under your dreams. And as Nicol came through with a respectable second-place finish today, he’s now one of the few left with dreams intact and a shot at ASP World Tour qualification. As far as the other hopefuls go, well…they now have a whole ’nother year of ratings sheets, beachbreak dribble and six-stars to worry about. Brett Simpson is one of those hopefuls who didn’t come through today – came up a point shy in a heat that easily could have gone the other way. “What can I do?” said Simpson, probably still numb to it all. “I thought I might have had it, but whatever. It’s Sunset.”

This same Sunset gave Garcia another hall pass into the round of 64. His ever-growing entourage got to enjoy a relatively low-stress heat where the six-time {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown champ hacked his way to a first-place finish. After his win, he was out of there as fast he arrived, headed straight back to his Papailoa bat cave to recharge for his next battle. Saffa/Oz transplant Shaun Gossman – also in the mathematical running – surfed an impressive heat and won as well.

But the rest of the accolades went to surfers who have no pressure at all on them. Chargers like Kieren Perrow, safe within requalification parameters, went out and caught the waves you normally only wish you were on. His ultra-late drop to grab-rail-carve attempt in a solid 8-foot bowl section was the ballsiest maneuver of the event so far. “No one even wanted that one!” he marveled. “Two guys were ahead of me, in the spot, but they went right over it. I was, like, ‘Really?? Thanks!’”

Freewheeling charger Hank Gaskell also impressed. Effortlessly pinballing from rail to rail on the best waves of the heat. And Wildman Ricky Basnett – who’s always an unknown entity – turned out the surprise performance of the day with some wicked re-directs on the inside bowl.

With a too-big-for-Sunset swell scheduled for Tuesday and leftovers scheduled for tomorrow, it may be a couple of days before the World Cup resumes. But until then, whether it’s dying windswell or washthroughs to the horizon, you know where you can find Yadin Nicol.

Out there.


2008 Triple Crown Coverage:

STOP #1 – REEF HAWAIIAN PRO
REEF HAWAIIAN PRO DAY 1
REEF HAWAIIAN PRO DAY 2
REEF HAWAIIAN PRO DAY 3
REEF HAWAIIAN PRO DAY 4
REEF HAWAIIAN PRO DAY 5

STOP #2 – O’NEILL WORLD CUP / ROXY PRO
O’NEILL WORLD CUP / ROXY PRO DAY 1
O’NEILL WORLD CUP / ROXY PRO DAY 2
O’NEILL WORLD CUP / ROXY PRO DAY 3

STOP #3 – BILLABONG PIPELINE MASTERS / BILLABONG PRO MAUI
WAITING PERIODS STARTS DEC 8th

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