Wrong again, it was an equipment issue not a skill issue.
A quick answer is that in such conditions the shortboards can't get in early enough, and have trouble getting around the sections, and the longboards not only have trouble taking off due to the offshore but have such poor control and speed that by the time they get their act together the curl is long gone. This applies to the top riders as well.
Positioning for takeoff was also very difficult as the waves were getting constant backwash due to the high tide.
Bottom line is that the shoreline was packed with surfers watching but not entering the water. A certain reluctance also existed as the waves had been 20ft plus the previous day and it was huge first thing in the morning also, so people were waiting for it to drop and clean up but spent too much time watching and waiting when it had already done so... because it was still too difficult to ride on their gear.