UPDATE: Round 2 will not run today. Likely 8AM start tomorrow
Balaram Stack headed off against Kelly Slater and Daniel Ross during 35 minutes of inconsistent waves; inconsistent for everyone but Kelly who absolutely dominated during the heat. Every wave seemingly opened up perfectly for him and he set the tone for the other athletes.
Kelly used a short epoxy quad fin board which provided lots of float and speed through the marginal waves. A layman would think he had a motor plugged into that board. Slater was able to pull rights and lefts that the other athletes didn’t even consider and worked his way to inside sections that appeared all but closed out.
The Aussie, Daniel Ross, surfed well in the conditions – scoring a 6.4 and a 5.2 putting him in second place.
Balaram too his credit threw for some big airs but was never able to quite get his board back under him.
If they run round 2 today – which will be called around 3PM, Balaram is now matched up against Mick Fanning in an elimination heat. Mick Fanning is the one-time WCT tour and one of the most fit athletes of the top 32 with over 10 years of tour experience. It will be quite a challenge for Balaram, but wave conditions have picked up all day providing many more opportunities for the 20-year-old.