Though the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles has been on standby status for the past few days, Round 1 saw plenty of explosive action and some surprising big name upsets we did not see coming. Competitors have been training hard throughout the waiting period, tearing apart the waves of the Southern California region and getting in plenty of practice.The world’s top surfers awoke to fun 3-5 foot clean conditions for Round 1 and the excitement that the ASP World Tour was back in town was evident. With a tonne of local spectators, the day saw plenty of action as well several huge upsets including; 2013 event champion and tour veteran Taj Burrow going down to Adrian Buchan and Travis Logie, Kelly Slater being defeated by the local Tanner Gudauskas and Carlos Muniz making history by out-surfing current World Number 1 and 2014 Teahupo’o champ, Gabriel Medina.
Defending event champion Taj Burrow struggled to find his composure in the second half of the first heat of the competition, after posting a strong first score of 7.67. The veteran couldn’t pull together a winning score combination or match the antics of Adrian Buchan and Travis Logie and was pushed to Round 2, where he will once again get a chance to prove himself to the judges. After his impressive winning performance last year, Burrow is eager to once again push through to the final Rounds.
The Gold Coast’s Mick Fanning overcame the dangerous surfing of Miguel Pupo and American Brett Simpson in Heat 2 of Round 1. The reigning World Champion traded small scores with the others for the first half of the heat before paddling into a perfect shaped wave and executing several incredible manoeuvres for a 7.17, sending Pupo and Simpson directly to Round 2 for one final chance to stay in competition.
Tahitian, Michel Bourez was able to out-surf popular contenders Filipe Toledo and Jeremy Flores in Heat 3, moving directly through to Round 3 and pushing the others towards the elimination round. Bourez attacked the right handers like no tomorrow, throwing out powerful turns and hacks and impressing the judges. “I was talking to my coach before and was thinking maybe it’s better just to stick to my game and go 80 percent, but I couldn’t do that,” Bourez said. “You never know surfing against Toledo because he can throw airs so easy. I guess I got lucky he didn’t get the score.”Joel Parkinson overcame Raoni Monteiro and fellow Australian Kai Otton in Heat 4 as the waves continued to produce fun and punchy conditions. Parkinson tore apart the punchy a-framed waves at Trestles, proving to the ASP judges why he remains close to the top of the competitive World Championship Tour (WCT) ladder.
Heat 5 saw another of the three major upsets, as local surfer Tanner Gudauskas defeated 11 time World Champion Kelly Slater and Aussie Matt ‘Wilko’ Wilkinson with his powerful backhand approach at his home break. “I don’t usually go right — I’m like a Zoolander surfer — but it felt good,” Gudauskas said of his winning ride. As for the crowd roaring on his behalf, ”I over-froth in general so I really got to watch it down here.”
Heat 6 immediately followed with the third major upset, as current World Number 1 went down to Carlos Munoz. Munoz made history with the tremendous outcome, becoming the first ever Costa Rican to win a ASP World Tour heat, and his face showed it all, filled with pure happiness and disbelief. “I cant believe how everything happened,” said Munoz after his win. “I got this chance, I prepared myself mentally. When I heard the score, I started crying. I heard everybody screaming, and I knew I needed a score. I gave my heart to that [last] one, so I’m glad the judges liked it. I can’t believe it.”The dangerous competitive Brazilian Adriano de Souza wowed spectators yet again, as he turned the Trestles line up into his playground and defeated Aritz Aranburu and Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz in Heat 7. Hawaiian Fred Patacchia pushed Kolohe Andino and Jadson Andre to elimination Round 2 in Heat 8, coming a surprise to some given the recent attention his younger rival has been getting over the past few weeks. “Kolohe’s a really nice kid,” said Patacchia. “But I really, really wanted to beat him after he beat in me in Tahiti, and I did it!”Californian Nat Young scrapped past veteran C.J. Hobgood with a narrow win of jsut 0.47 in Heat 9, impressing the local crowds. “I’ve had the same confidence all year: it was nice getting those early results but lately I’ve been struggling,” Young said of his mentality coming into the event. “I just want to get back to what I was doing.” His determination to do well at Trestles is clearly evident, as we wait to see what he can do in Round 3.
Aussie Owen Wright’s performance in Tahiti was simply incredible to say the least, and it looks like Trestles will be much the same way as he out-surfed fellow countryman Julian Wilson and Spain’s Alejo Muniz with a steady win of 17.43.
South African ripper Jordy Smith was a stand-out in this year’s Billabong Pro J-Bay event, and Trestles was no different as he overcame Tiago Pires and Josh Kerr in Heat 11 with his controlled and styled approach. “I was waiting in the lineup and there was an amazing wave I was able to work with,” Smith said. “I made some mistakes with priority so I’m stoked to make it through.”
The outstanding performance of Hawaiian John John Florence showed up Australian’s Mitch Crews and Bede Durbidge in the final heat of Round 1, with a winning score of 15.27. The Hawaiian secured a few mid-range scores and was then going for his usual explosive aerial tactics, though could not stick a high score. “For consistency I guess I have to stop trying to go all out on every turn I try,” Florence said with a sheepish smile. “Nothing I do out there is conscious. It just sort of happens.”
With a predicted swell ready to hit Trestles in the next few days, get ready for more explosive action from the world’s best surfers! One thing is for sure, if you are taking part in the ASP Fantasy Surfer League and had some smaller name surfers on your team, you’d be quietly cheering right about now as we approach the elimination rounds!
*All imagery by ASP