From my point of view it’s been a really mixed bag of waves in Hawaii this December though overall conditions have been below average with a string of wet, windy cross swell driven days. As these images highlight there’s been exceptions around the contest so far, often in the evening but most notably during the afternoon of the 13th. Standing on the beach during the last few heats of Round 2 that day many fans around me were vocal in how unfair it would be to run potentially title deciding Round 3 heats in such fluky conditions. Only an hour later while I was preparing to swim out I was hearing the exact opposite while general disbelief that it was called off ensued. Make no mistake though, right before the call was made that day watching a set break wide of the entire reef it was a no brainer after a difficult morning.

I don’t think I’ve seen surf change so dramatically in such a short period of time as I did that afternoon. Lumpy wash through sets turned into clean drainers within 30 minutes and by mid afternoon the nasty cleanup sets had abated entirely. Water photographers were almost spared the tricky late afternoon glare from the water with a light cloud cover though it was not to be. The sunny haze combined with so many surfers in the lineup, many riding in from second reef it was hard to know who was who until after the fact but it was undoubtedly the best seat in the house.

-All Photos Ed Sloane