In his very first do-or-die heat on the Championship Tour (CT), Zeke Lau couldn't have asked for a bigger initiation test. He was matched up against Filipe Toledo, the 2015 Quiksilver Pro winner, perennial event favorite, and World Title contender. Zeke adapted to the tricky conditions, and surfed with his usual dose of power. After taking the lead, he dominated the priority chess match at heat's end to lock down his first big upset win.
And he wasn't done yet.
In Round Three he drew Jordy Smith, another huge favorite and World Title contender. As soon as the buzzer sounded, heir match turned became an instant classic. Just hours after a massive rain squall tore the lineup apart, huge gaping barrels were spinning off the rocks with glassy perfection.
Lau opened with an incredible 10-point ride -- a huge standup barrel -- and kept Smith on the ropes up until the very end. But Zeke would also learn a valuable lesson. Needing an 8.5 to turn the heat, Smith got his own incredible tube to survive Zeke's epic challenge and take the win.
Still, as their smiles indicated afterward, there were no losers in that heat.