Two perfect 10s within one week, on two different continents.
Last week Kolohe "Brother" Andino won the Quiksilver USA Championships at Trestles by posting a perfect 10. And now, just a couple days later, he notched another perfect 10 at the Mr. Price Pro Ballito in South Africa. There's likely a surf geek out there who can point to some past champion who posted multiple 10s at a string of events in the past, but consider this: the Trestles wave -- three airs punctuated with cutting edge turns -- was the pinnacle of high performance surfing. Today's 10 was a throaty, two-section, belching barrel. Brother has a full hand.
"That wave was amazing," Andino said. "I wasn't sure if I would make it out but I made that first section, pumped hard and made the second one. That wave was so good I was freaking out. I cannot believe I made it."
The hollow ones were all the talk for the start of the round of 96 today, as a four to eight-foot swell graced the event, claiming no less than ten surfboards. Andino called it some of the best waves he's ever surfed.
The other perfect 10 went to Florida's Cory Lopez, who dropped off the ASP World Tour in 2007, but is within spitting distance of getting back on. His was on his backhand and he had to fight to come through the last foamy section. His Floridian friends, however, did not fare as well. CJ Hobgood, Gabe Kling, and Eric Geiselman, all fell. One of the biggest waves of the day was tamed by California's Austin Ware, who is back around the No. 82 slot on the ASP's world ranking.
It was a good day for most heavies, as they enjoyed better conditions than most star, Prime, and even World Tour events. Kieren Perrow, Pat Gudauskas, Josh Kerr, and Jordy Smith all survived. Smith was joined by six other South Africans in this morning's action and five of them advanced, including perennial lion-killer, Sean Holmes. Last year, Smith won this contest as a warm up for the Billabong Pro South Africa, where he got his first elite World Tour win. Since the barrels weren't open in the late heats, he took to the air.
"I knew conditions would change from the minute I arrived. Ballito seems to do that in the afternoon, so I was just glad to make my heat," Smith said, "I watched some incredible heats this morning, there was some inspiring surfing and it was good to see so many South Africans go through."
Eventually, conditions did deteriorate, halting round one. The swell is forecasted to continue for several days. There are several careers that may hang in the balance at this valuable Prime event, so close to the ASP season cutoff. Andino's, not so much.