A dense fog and rising swell greeted competitors and spectators on day 2 of the L.B.I Skim Jam presented by Surf Shack. Nevertheless, the morning started off quickly so as to avoid the forecasted afternoon onshore wind with heat A of the professional semi-finals kicking off just after 9:30 A.M.
Although the better waves seemed to peak up on the point just 10 yards north of the competitors area, competitors were wise to stay close to the judging stand and deal with the “troughy” conditions created by the morning high tide as the dense fog greatly skewed the vision of the judges. This first heat saw the dramatic elimination of favored pro Morgan Just, who was coming straight off his win at the WCS only 1 weekend prior, as his left hamstring tightened up in an all-too-familiar fashion for him and threatened to ruin the rest of his season should he continue to finish his heat. Morgan took the safe route and bowed out mid-heat. Meanwhile John Akerman continued to wow the crowd in his pro debut with his perfectly executed 3-shuvs out to and on his waves. The other standout in this heat, as well as the contest overall, was Steven Bradford, with his aggressive style and clearly superior amplitude in the smaller surf which propelled himself and Akerman into the final round. That left fellow gulf-coaster John Howell who’s third place finish sent him forward to fight for the 5th place position in a consolation round against the 3rd place winner of heat B.
Heat B saw the unlikely stacking of 14-time world champion Bill Bryan, local favorite Chris Marciniak and obviously dangerous competitors Woody Harris and Brad Domke. Bryan started off with a bang, landing critical aerial maneuvers one after another while Brad Domke used his impressive technical ability to put together both amplified airs and combination tricks. Woody Harris searched his way through the fog to find the waves he needed to beat Marciniak out of the battle for the third place spot in this heat, which saw first and second places fall to Domke and Bryan.
Shortly after the results of the semi finals were announced, spectators gathered ’round for the professional final heat of John Akerman, Bill Bryan, Brad Domke and Stephen Bradford. Bryan started off strong once again, landing several maneuvers in a row and throwing his hands in the air to the excitement of the early morning crowd. Domke was quick to answer back with his strategy of amplified 180 and 360 airs on his backhand and long liners with combination tricks on his forehand. Bradford started slow but finally found his rhythm mid-heat when he landed the most exciting maneuver of the competition, an enormous backside aerial on a very critical wave, much to the approval of the spectators and athletes alike. Akerman held strong in this stiff competition and showed the crowd he was ready for professional competition with consistent wave judgment and completion of tricks, though it would not prove to be enough to overpower the momentum of the seasoned veterans in this final and left him with a strong 4th place finish. Bradford’s second-half momentum would prove to be enough to propel him into the second place spot, though not enough to overpower the flare and amplitude of Bill Bryan who would emerged victorious, leaving Domke a third place finish.
1. Bill Bryan
2. Stephen Bradford
3. Brad Domke
4. John Akerman
5. Woody Harris
6. Jonathan Howell