Mick is a merciless competitor.

Sometimes you just need to watch a wave or two to understand that how hungry and determined someone is. It was all over Mick Fanning who displayed so much pensive energy he just wanted to unleash in his heat against CJ Hobgood. He banked a quick 8.67 followed by an 8.83 for his second and third waves of the heat leaving Clifton chasing a score. Mick has the hunger, and he also has the smiles. Seems like the man is on a mission.

Gabby shows some real hunger.

As does Gabby. His performance against Matt Wilko was inspired, and cause for much celebration amongst his extended entourage. Rumour has it that Gabby has signed 19 sponsorship deals in Brazil, is on national television every single day, and has up to 27 members in his entourage. That’s going to put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the current world champion. Most world champions, and successful surfers have figured out that less is more, that a simple approach is the way forward, and that the most uncomplicated daily regime is the best regime for success. Still, none of that mattered in his heat against Matty Wilko as he took to the skies on his backhand in the zipping waves, blasting multiple backhand airs on the tricky set waves. His giant fully inverted backhand air rotation that saw him tweaked out and extended produced a massive 9.6 score and was pure acrobatics. It was the legendary stuff that saw him to his world title and Charlie and the rest of the family were ecstatic. It had been a long time between drinks and they were celebrating like it was a world title victory.

Kelly is looking ravenous.

It was a strange affair when Kelly surfed off against Kolohe. The wind had disappeared; both surfers were pushing as hard as possible, yet there was something amiss. What was it? Kelly was showing some serious emotion. It was great! When King Kelly starts showing emotion then the rest of the surfers need to be very afraid. There were the questioning hands open, palms up expression to the judges, splashing of the water, and there some fairly vigorous shaking of the head in absolute dissent and disbelief. The situ at hand was a priority given to Brother that Kelly seemed to believe was a sketchy call. It was a crucial priority, with few waves coming through and even less with scoring potential. Not that it affected the end result. Kelly slipped ahead of Kolohe with a final wave and a critical, sweeping cutback to white water bounce that saw him advance. Kelly loves J-Bay he hangs with good mates here and it’s probably what sees him through these crucial heats. On a side note Kelly was fairly critical of the call this morning. Granted, the first two heats were abysmal, and sent Joel and Dane home, but the conditions did improve and the heats after that saw sublime conditions reeling down the point.

Kolohe throws a tantrum.

The emotions were rife in the heat though, as Brother climbed onto his pedestal. Lost to Slater. Punched his board again and again. Ten times at least. Then stomped on his board and broke it. He then proceeded to throw his vest onto some random kid as if to say, ‘Just try ask for a signature, punk.’ As mentioned, we at Tracks are all for emotions and hearts on sleeves and outbursts – we even foreshadowed one would happen at this event – but if you’re going to have a meltdown let’s just try and keep it classy.

The Spartan strikes back.

Oh, and one other surfer on point is Michel Bourez. The Spartan went to town on one wave in his heat against Bede Durbidge, unleashing a number of those trademark forehand power hacks and some more power turns to sneak ahead of Bede on a tied heat count-back. Michel spoke to Tracks about the injury his suffered at Teahupoo. ”It was probably ten to fifteen feet out there. It was one of those days when anything could happen, from the barrel of your life to the wipeout of your life and I was trying to get the barrel of my life. Instead the wipeout came through. I paddled for a 12-footer, didn’t make the drop, nosedived, and the wave took me and sent me straight onto the bottom. I broke my hand and I broke a vertebrae. It took me two months to get back on my feet.”

Yet Michel was surfing just like the Spartan of old and if you know the Spartan then you’d know that his body torques need a certain large percentile of bodily elasticity.

“I was riding the 6’0 the whole time since I have been here, and this heat was the first time that I rode my 5’11,” said Michel. “I didn’t expect it to feel that weird at the beginning, but I got used to it after the two 6 pointers, so by then I was ready for big turns and then that’s when the 9’5 came through. Was I sore? In the moment you don’t really think about the pain you know. There were a number of times when my head was supposed to go one way, but it didn’t, so I just had to figure out how to balance and how to make it right, and that’s exactly what happened in my heat, and I got the 9.5.

Recap: Heat Analyser

J-Bay Open Round 3 Results

Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.50, Owen Wright (AUS) 15.40

Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 15.50, Italo Ferreira (BRA) 12.83

Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.94, Freddy Patacchia Jr. (HAW) 8.40

Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) 16.87, Adam Melling (AUS) 8.03

Heat 5: Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 15.13, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.40

Heat 6: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.17, Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.90

Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.50, CJ Hobgood (USA) 13.83

Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.07, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.07

Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.16, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.27

Heat 10: Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.83, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.33

Heat 11:Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.67, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.67

Heat 12: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 17.83, Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.23

Round 4 Match-Ups

Heat 1: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS)

Heat 2: Nat Young (USA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Adriano de Souza (BRA)

Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Gabriel Medina (BRA), Kelly Slater (USA)

Heat 4: Keanu Asing (Haw), Michel Bourez (PYF), Alejo Muniz (BRA)