Poor old Jay Davies. Just when coming up against Kelly Slater in the second round at Fiji was starting to look like a somewhat less daunting task for a wildcard who’s already beaten Gabriel Medina and Mick Fanning this year…. Well, Cloudbreak started pumping and Kelly flicked the switch on his wave magnet, putting the heat almost out of reach within the first 10 minutes by pulling into two of the best barrels of the event so far. And that was before he got a 10! Strictly speaking because he didn’t get a 10 — the score ultimately came in at a 9.93 — but everyone apart from the two miserly judges who gave him 9.8’s thought he should have done. A few days ago Kelly sat down with Ronnie Blakey and gave the Dawn Patrol morning show a backside barrel-riding tutorial; this was the masterclass demonstration.
But note also when Cloudbreak was pumping. Not so much during the first three heats of the day, when the waves had slowed down considerably since the morning freesurf; and certainly not in the heat after Davies and Slater’s, when Owen Wright and Aritz Aranburu fought it out in frustrating and heavily wind-affected conditions, prompting the Commissioner to put the contest on hold — but in Heat 4 alone, and only where the bald man in red happened to be sitting. It was vintage Slater. Watch the 9.93 above, and his 8.77 — caught within moments of the buzzer signalling the heat’s start, while the adverts were still playing on the webcast — below. Watch more highlights from yesterday, including Dane Reynolds going ham, here.