By all accounts it was a nightmare scenario for Ezekiel Lau in his second heat as the Hawaiian was staring right at elimination until the dying moments. With only a sub-average score on the board and seconds on the clock, Lau needed something big to turn the tide.
The Ultimate Surfer winner stood up on a wave that looked insignificant at first, but as it hit the inside section the horizon cleared for Lau with a nice wall building under his feet. A couple of decent turns later, he still needed an exclamation mark and launched into a hail mary rotation above the lip, landing nearly on dry rocks, which ultimately was the score as Lau advanced in second position.
"That last wave was crazy," he said. "I was looking at my watch with 40 seconds left and needing an 8. I knew if the wave came I'd just have to surf it as well as I could. Midway through the wave I actually heard my requirement and I thought, ok if this thing stands up I just need to go to town on it. I didn't realize how close I was to the rocks, only when I claimed it standing on dry rock."
The dramatic finish almost eclipsed a very solid performance by Joao Chianca, who dominated the heat from start to finish to reach Round 3 of the Challenger Series for the first time in his young career.