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Morning commuters were shocked and outraged when they saw the extent of the latest act of vandalism perpetrated on Steamer Lane's famous bronze surfer statue during the night.

 

Friday. Santa Cruz, California. 

It's 6.47am. In the lineup on the last peak at the Lane before Inidcators, Jarrad Howse is grinning, blonde bowl cut flopping happily as he paddles. Just outside him, Damien Fartenhart and Jay' Bottle' Thompson are also having a morning's limber up before the heats start. A chilly dawn is brewing out on the horizon, while 3ft sets with occasional beefier ones are plopping along the mid-tide reef point reluctantly. Yadin Nicol, who also happens to grinning reaches Howse.

"Are you like, gonna win fifty grand then or what?" asks Nicol, in semi-bewilderment.

"If I make two more heats," responds Howse confidently, "yeah."

"Get faaaaaaaaaaaaaaarked," exclaims Nicol, shaking his head.

They are of course referring to the Cold Water Classic series that someone is going to win here in Santa Cruz, a series champion of all the CWC events from Tasmania, Scotland, SA, Canada and here will be collecting 50 thousand dollars this weekend. No wonder Howse looks happy. 

Later that morning it's the heat everyone wants to see. Coolest surfer of all time, not so coolest of all time, not old enough to be cool and not cool enough to be sponsored. (Curren, Jordy, John John, Shaun Ward). Jordy seemed very relaxed before his heat. It must be nice to do the odd QS here and there just for a laugh.

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Does my bum look big in this? Big Jordy blazed thru the heat, as did Shaun Ward. Curren and Florence didn't.

You get all sorts of people hanging out in this town. The worst kind are the ones hanging out by the portaloos. Today I spotted Belgium's Sam Lamiroy taking a quick break from all the web and beachcasting. 

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I dropped the kids off at the public toilets nearby, which took longer than usual. In fact, when I came out, it seemd like decades had passed. I saw Sam again, this time on a bike. He looked like he'd aged further whilst I was on the job.

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The swell continued to pick up through the day and some great scores were posted, particularly the Yadin/Seabass heat. Check back for the videos from today to be posted shortly. It's supposed to be 6-8ft plus tomorrow and pumpos. Now do this one, now do that one un! UN!