Kolohe Andino and Pat Gudauskas: once a heat ends, priority rules no longer apply | Photo: WSL

This is the true story of one of the weirdest priority interference situations that have ever taken place in pro surfing history.

It all happened during the 2018 Quiksilver Pro France. Kolohe Andino and Patrick Gudauskas were battling it out for a spot in Round 4 of competition, in Hossegor.

With a minute and 30 seconds to go, Andino had a comfortable lead over his fellow California surfer - a two-wave total of 13.10 points against Gudauskas' 5.13.

Pat needed an 8.77 wave which, given the conditions on offer at the beach break, would be difficult to get.

To make things even harder, Kolohe had priority and was in control of the heat. All he had to do was to hinder his opponent from taking on any wave with scoring potential.

As the heat reaches its final moments, both surfers paddle for the same wave - Gudauskas needed a miracle, Andino just had to steal his rival's opportunity.

The crowd hears the countdown: "five, four, three, two, one..." And the horn blows.

The Buzzer Suspends All Priorities

Both surfers reach the shore, but Kolohe seems angry and exchanges a few words with his coach, Mike Parsons.

Apparently, he had just lost the heat due to interference. How could that be? He had priority. The explanation came later and can be found in the World Surf League (WSL) Rule Book.

Article 161.14 says that "once a heat has ended all priority ceases. If a surfer is riding on a wave as the heat ends they can't be interfered with by any surfer (even if that surfer had higher priority before the heat ended). If an interference occurs, the violating surfer will receive a priority situation interference."

In other words, Kolohe Andino caught the wave one or two seconds after the buzzer, so he lost priority. And because he interfered with Gudauskas' wave, he received a priority interference and lost the score for his second best wave.

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