The opening day of the 2011 Hurley Pro at Trestles saw the world’s best surfers tear into high-performance two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves at the iconic pointbreak of Lower Trestles, and the event’s top seeds dominated against the new addition of ASP Dream Tour surfers brought on via the midyear rotation.
Stop No. 7 of 11 on the ASP Dream Tour, the Hurley Pro at Trestles has played a crucial role in determining the ASP World Champion over the past three years, with the event winner building momentum in to the back half of the year.
Julian Wilson (AUS), 22 carried momentum from last week’s equal 3rd place finish in New York and dismantled both the lefts and rights at Lower Trestles to earn both the day’s highest single-wave score of 8.93 (out of 10) as well as the event’s highest heat-total of 17.60 (out of 20).
“This is my first World Tour event at Trestles and I’ve been looking forward to this my whole life,” Wilson said. “Those three-man heats, you want to get busy at the start because you can’t sit where you want to sit. You end up just scratching and that’s what happened in my heat. It’s a different strategy, kind of a dog fight, and you’ve got to make due with what you get.”
Michel Bourez (PYF), 25, rebounded after an equal 25th place finish in New York and opened up today with rail-to-rail power surfing and finished with a clean reverse on his opening ride at Lowers, earning an 8.50 (out of 10) for the effort and commanded the heat throughout its entirety.
“I feel great and my board works well,” Bourez said. “It felt like a long wait to get that win but it came through,” Bourez said. “I’ve been working a lot with my shaper over the last few years and it’s going well. In the last event I lost pretty quickly and I’m happy to get that first round win today.”
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 23, dominated the Lower Trestles right-handers this morning, unloading a furious combination of tail-drifting turns and gouges to take a powerful Round 1 victory over dangerous new ASP World Tour addition John Florence (HAW), 18, and Brazilian Heitor Alves (BRA), 29.
“I was so excited in my first event on tour, I was the same age as John John (Florence) and I’m sure he’ll beat me a few times out here for sure,” Flores said. “That 8 was my first wave in the heat and it was kind of fun. There was a little wind on the wave and I could kind of release my tail. My board is going good and I was just trying to fit my turns in. I’m happy.”
Owen Wright (AUS), 21, current No. 2 on the ASP World Title Rankings, took an impressive come-from-behind victory on his last wave with a series of air reverses and forehand wraps to overtake dangerous local talent Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 25, and Hurley Pro Trialist Conner Coffin (USA), 17, in the dying minutes of his heat.
“I had a bit of a battle out there,” Wright said. “I’m pretty happy to have made it through this first round because I haven’t won a Round 1 heat in awhile. I really had nothing going on for me coming into the last five minutes and that wave really didn’t offer much at all and I just had to milk it as much as I could. I just caught the score so I’m pretty wrapped.”
Wright, who earned his maiden ASP World Title event victory last week in New York, is in dangerous form in the hunt for the 2011 ASP World Title and has now changed his focus to Lower Trestles after taking time to enjoy his Inaugural win on the East Coast.
“Winning in New York was amazing,” Wright said. “I’ve been working really hard to get a good result and it felt good to really got one. I just lapped it up and enjoyed the moment and now I’m here this week and feeling fully recovered from New York and I’m ready to go.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning four-time Hurley Pro Trestles Champion and current leader on the ASP World Title Race, took out his Round 1 heat with last-minute heroics to overtake former ASP Dream Tour veteran Rob Machado (USA), 37, and passionate Hawaiian Fred Patacchia (HAW), 29.
“Rob had the biggest wave in that heat and he was way inside and I just let him go where he wanted,” Slater said. “He was looking left and started to go right and the left was good, but I was out of position and didn’t get it. That last set came in at the end and Rob said he was going to go right and that wave cleaned it up and I got the one behind it. It feels good to get the win. I was frustrated. I haven’t surfed since New York and was lucky to get the win.”
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, who has recently relocated to Southern California, looked at home in the Lower Trestles lineup and locked in to two righthand set-waves and combined an impressive repertoire of forehand maneuvers to relegate ASP Dream Tour rookie Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17, and progressive standout Dusty Payne (HAW), 22, to Round 2.
“I’m happy, it’s kind of high tide, but I’m really happy with my performance,” De Souza said. “Round 1 isn’t important and I’m really happy to surf with Gabriel (Medina). He’s amazing in conditions like this. I just enjoyed myself and hopefully I can keep going in Round 3. We just had fun out there. Round 1 is no-losers and we’ve just started the journey. We just had a good battle out there and I hope Gabriel does well, he’s a Brazilian and we all pull for each other.”
Hurley Pro at Trestles event organizers will regroup tomorrow morning at 7am local time to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
The Hurley Pro at Trestles is webcast LIVE via http://www.hurley.com/hurleypro/
HURLEY PRO TRESTLES ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 11.96, Travis Logie (ZAF) 11.53, Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.00
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.43, Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.13, John Florence (HAW) 9.43
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.66, Adam Melling (AUS) 12.36, Chris Davidson (AUS) 9.80
Heat 4: Owen Wright (AUS) 13.60, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.37, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.87
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) 14.57, Rob Machado (USA) 13.50, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.40
Heat 6: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.67, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.10, Tiago Pires (PRT) 12.13
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) 13.70, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.50, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 10.80
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.40, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.50, Kai Otton (AUS) 9.83
Heat 9: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.17, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.87, Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.77
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.60, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.33, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.53
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.00, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.90, Daniel Ross (AUS) 6.75
Heat 12: Brett Simpson (USA) 12.40, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 11.94, Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.90