The 2012 Hurley Pro kicked off competition Sunday in two-to-four foot waves at Lower Trestles, bearing witness to a sensational day of surfing as the ASP Top 34 completed the opening round of competition.
Stop No. 6 of 10 on the 2012 ASP World Championship Tour, the Hurley Pro at Trestles marks a proven crucial stop in season, with the event victor ultimately winning the ASP World Title the past four years.
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, reigning 11-time ASP World Champion and defending five-time Hurley Pro at Trestles winner, built momentum throughout his opening heat to advance directly to Round 3 over fellow veterans Tiago Pires (PRT), 32, and Taylor Knox (USA), 40.
“I’ve got to be honest, I’m not surprised it was a slow one because I had Taylor Knox in my heat,” Slater said. “He’s had the most restarts ever at Trestles before for some reason. I wanted to win that first one because I haven’t been surfing that much lately. I surfed all day yesterday and I’m kind of tired today. The last few weeks I haven’t surfed a whole lot and I’m trying to figure out new boards.”
Current No. 4 on the ASP WCT rankings, Slater spent the day Saturday honing in new equipment, opting for a four-fin setup in Round 1 despite historically having little success on similar equipment at Trestles in the past.
“I’m looking for whatever everyone else is – just a fresh feeling and something that feels natural under your feet,” Slater said. “I love the four-fins, but generally they don’t work that well at Lowers for me. I don’t know why that is, they tend to work better in hollower waves for me, but I rode a quad yesterday and it felt good so I’m sticking with it.”
Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, two-time ASP World Champion and ASP WCT frontrunner, unloaded his renowned forehand attack on the long righthanders of Lower Trestles to secure a Round 1 win. While the Australian has been in deadly form this season, the Gold Coast native admitted the battle for the No. 1 position is only just heating up.
“The race is really tight,” Fanning said. “With everyone counting a few good results and in a really good rhythm at the moment, Joel (Parkinson), Kelly (Slater), John John (Florence), Taj (Burrow), you’ve got to just keep trying and just keep plugging away.”
Fanning, a former Hurley Pro at Trestles winner (2009), admitted several surfers in this draw (ranging from veterans to rookies) will be tough to contend with at Lowers, but feels equally comfortable in the lineup himself.
“You’ve got to just look at track records and Kelly (Slater) is probably the gnarliest guy, he just knows the wave so well,” Fanning said. “Then there are guys like John John (Florence) and Kolohe (Andino) lives here and surfs amazing out here, so those are probably the main guys I look out for.”
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, into his first full year on tour, took out a hard-fought heat that saw a series of tight paddle battles against veteran C.J. Hobgood (USA), 33. Medina was trailing Hobgood in the final minute of the bout, but launched a massive backside air-reverse to earn an excellent 8-point ride and advance directly into Round 3.
“That was a hard heat,” Medina said. “I got a couple of waves, but it was kind of hard to find the good ones. I’m just stoked to make it because it was a hard heat against C.J. (Hobgood), he got a couple of rights and got two 8s. I knew I needed to go big and I got the last wave and decided to go for the air and I made it.”
Medina, who was one of only two goofy-footers to win Sunday, was also victorious at April’s ASP Prime Nike Lowers Pro and is a strong favorite at Lower Trestles this week.
“Lowers is always like this with rights and lefts and it’s pretty perfect,” Medina said. “I prefer the left because it lets me do my airs on the first section and I can finish with another one and the rights, I can do 8 turns on the same wave, it’s just that kind of wave.”
The Hurley Pro at Trestles holds a waiting period from September 16 through 22 and is webcast LIVE via www.hurley.com/hurleypro
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.30, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.10, Brett Simpson (USA) 7.94
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.00, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.57, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.37
Heat 3: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.66, Tiago Pires (PRT) 10.90, Taylor Knox (USA) 8.10
Heat 4: Dusty Payne (USA) 12.47, Kai Otton (AUS) 12.00, John John Florence (HAW) 9.00
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 14.16, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.87, Evan Geiselman (USA) 12.50
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.60, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 14.60, Conner Coffin (USA) 12.16
Heat 7: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 17.57, Owen Wright (AUS) 17.17, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 11.67
Heat 8: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.20, Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.63, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 8.00
Heat 9: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.20, Kolohe Andino (AUS) 13.30, Jeremy Flores (PYF) 12.70
Heat 10: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 16.50, Adam Melling (AUS) 13.57, Julian Wilson (AUS) 9.66
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 16.30, Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.87, Heitor Alves (BRA) 13.83
Source: Hurley Pro