The first heat of the morning is always a bit of a crapshoot. Judges are cagey with scores and competitors are forced to surf without a roadmap laid down by previous heats. In his Round Three, Heat 1 loss to Jack Freestone, Kelly Slater admittedly "over-frothed," telling Barton Lynch afterward that he'd "released his inner Tom Carroll," referring to the 2x World Champ's raging surf stoke.
But the bigger takeaway might be Jack Freestone's new found restraint. Was it the extra length of his equipment that forced him to finish his rides or was it a conscious decision? Freestone's known for his free-wheeling, progressive approach in smaller surf, which is great when you're filming with Kai Neville. But, in purely competitive terms, dialing it back a notch to finish rides on your feet pays dividends in the long run. There's no doubt Freestone has the talent to make podiums on the CT, the question now is does he have the composure to make the subtle adjustments necessary in order to get there.