With a shark sighting early in the day and an appearance by 10-time World Champion Kelly Slater, there was no shortage of excitement during the first round of competition at the Rip Curl Pro Search surf contest at Ocean Beach.
The day started out with fairly clean surf and a slight off-shore wind that helped surfer Joroy Smith snag an unprecedented four barrels to win Heat 4. Meanwhile, Dusty Payne of Hawaii, who was also in Heat 4, left the water early after reportedly seeing a 15-foot shark in the lineup.
The sighting follows a shark attack that left a surfer badly injured in Monterey on Saturday, but there was no delay with the competition.
Shortly after, Kelly Slater was the obvious crowd favorite as he ran to the water’s edge with a small mob of photographers and fans nearby. He won the heat in slightly deteriorating conditions, nearly securing his 11th ASP World Championship. If he finishes 9th place at this event, the championship is his to take.
Slater will move on to Round 3 with the rest of the surfers who finished first in Round 1 today. After his heat, he said he looks forward to body surfing with famed body surfer Mark Cunningham at Fort Point if conditions are right and “getting lost in the city” when he has some free time. So far, he’s only spent time at the beach today and during a free surf last night at Ocean Beach.
Surfers who finished in 2nd or 3rd place in their heats will move on Round 2, under way now at Ocean Beach.
Round 1 Heat Results
Heat 1: Adam Melling (AUS) 12:50 Taylor Knox (USA) 10.80 Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.50
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.60, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.43, Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.00
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS), John John Florence (HAW), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Dusty Payne (HAW), Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 5: Owen Wright (AUS), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Dillon Perillo (USA)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Kai Otton (AUS), Dean Brady (AUS)
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS), Tiago Pires (PRT), Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 9: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
Heat 10: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 11: Mick Fanning (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Chris Davidson (AUS)
Heat 12: Josh Kerr (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)