The South Pacific is notorious for its powerful but pulsing swells. If you're out of rhythm it can be incredibly exasperating. But when you've found the groove, it can feel like gliding through space. Matt Wilkinson found his mojo against Julian Wilson in Quarterfinal No. 1, coasting into three straight 8-point rides in the opening 10 minutes.
"We started way up top, then I made an escape away from Jules for my first wave," said Wilkinson, "then on the way out I got that second one, and then the third one I thought it was the best wave I've seen all event." Wilson never gave up, however, and closed the gap in the waning minutes, making for a nervous finish to an outstanding open. "Nice start, scary end," said a grinning Wilko.