LOWER TRESTLES, California (Sunday, September 13, 2009) – The world’s best surfers took to the water today for Round 1 of the Hurley Pro Trestles, and despite the presence of a challenging south wind, the ASP Top 45 lit up the three-to-four foot (1 metre) rights and lefts on offer at Lower Trestles.
Event No. 6 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Hurley Pro Trestles saw the completion of Round 1 and the opening two heats of Round 2 today, with some major upsets as well as big scores going down in the challenging conditions.
Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 8, wasted no time in reestablishing his dominance at the famed break, opening with a 9.00 and a 9.50 in the first five minutes of his Round 1 heat. Slater detonated on his forehand, blending lightning-fast fin throws with perfectly executed reverses in his relegating of Adrian Buchan (AUS), 26, and former ASP World No. 2 Rob Machado (USA), 36, to Round 2 of competition.
“I think those two waves were probably two of the best that broke all day,” Slater said. “There haven’t been too many rights all day, but I was able to grab a couple of really good ones to start out. I didn’t think I was going to better a 9.00 out there so I came in and went for a board change to try something a little different towards the end of the heat.”
While several competitors struggled with the onshore/side shore wind today, Slater tapped into his Floridian roots in order to navigate today’s challenging conditions, acquiring the day’s high heat total (18.50 out of a possible 20) en route to his advancement to Round 3.
“Today is definitely more like Florida and less like California,” Slater said. “It can definitely be challenging and you have to change your approach to how you do maneuvers. I have some pretty good boards at the moment so that’s helping.”
Bede Durbidge (AUS), 26, former event winner (2006) and current ASP World No. 11, was another strong performer this morning, utilizing an impressive backhand repertoire to best Californian Tim Reyes (USA), 27, and returning compatriot Luke Stedman (AUS), 33, in Round 1 of competition. While the well-built Australian hasn’t enjoyed the same success as last season yet, Durbidge looks to build on a strong showing in California.
“It’s always good to come back to Trestles,” Durbidge said. “I have so many good memories here and it’s always nice to come back. I love the wave; it’s just so fun to surf. It’s not Lowers at its best today, that’s for sure, but I’ve had heaps of surf like this before and I’m ready for anything. Hopefully we’ll get some good surf for the end of the waiting period.”
Aside from the dominance of Slater and Durbidge, the collective victory at today’s Hurley Pro Trestles came from the new faces on tour.
Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 24, former ASP World Junior Champion (2005) and current ASP World No. 17, led the 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookies today, scoring a major upset over current ASP World No. 2, C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, in Round 1 of the Hurley Pro Trestles.
“It’s definitely good for my confidence to beat a guy like C.J. (Hobgood),” Bacalso said. “I had a slow start to that heat and I was pretty nervous, to tell you the truth. I hadn’t surfed a heat in about a month and a half, and I’m sure everyone is in the same boat. I blew it on my first wave and saw guys riding waves out the back, and thought, ‘oh great, I’m going to get smoked,’ but I was able to come back.”
Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, another rookie on the 2009 ASP Dream Tour, bested an in-form Jordy Smith (ZAF), 21, and veteran Greg Emslie (ZAF), 32, in their Round 1 bout, bashing the lefthanders with unmatched power on his backhand.
“The wind died down a little and I saw a few good lefts come in before my heat, so I thought that was the option,” Bourez said. “It ended up working out and I’m happy to get that first heat win.”
Brett Simpson (USA), 24, wildcard in the Hurley Pro Trestles, caused a big upset this afternoon, taking down perennial threat Taj Burrow (AUS), 31, and lethal Australian Dean Morrison, 28, in Round 1 of competition. Needing a score with the clock dying, Simpson hooked into a roping a lefthander, punctuating with an electric backhand reverse to the tune of a 7.07 out of a possible 10, taking the win and advancing directly to Round 3.
“That wave came out the back and I thought Dean (Morrison) was going to catch it,” Simpson said. “It looked really good and as I stood up, it ran and I knew I needed to do something big. I figured if I pulled it, I’d get a good score, and if not, it wasn’t like I was letting an amazing wave get away from me.”
Simpson, who took down the prestigious ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Hurley Pro Trestles last July and is hunting down a spot on next season’s elite ASP World Tour, is recovering from a bone chip in his ankle, but today’s performance spoke volumes about the young man’s tenacity.
“I’m feeling much better and I’m trying not to worry about it (the injury),” Simpson said. “The more you think about it, the more it messes with your head, so I’m just focusing on going out there and catching the best waves and surfing well. It felt good to win that heat because there were some big names out there. I knew Taj (Burrow) was always going to put up a good fight and Dean (Morrison) was going to sit and wait with his guns out there and wait for the bombs and he’s lethal. My goal was to stay busy and try some new-school maneuvers and try and get some scores. Psyched I got through and looking forward to having fun in the event.”
Burrow, currently ranked No. 4 on the ASP World Tour, would continue today’s run of bad luck, being eliminated from the Hurley Pro Trestles by the wildcard Machado in the final heat of the day.
Surfline, official forecasters of the Hurley Pro Trestles, is calling for today’s fetch of Northwest swell to drop slightly before tomorrow and are still tracking a south swell for later in the week.
Officials will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am to assess conditions for a possible 8am start.
When competition resumes, up first will be former ASP World Champion (2001) C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, up against 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie Marlon Lipke (DEU), 25, in Heat 3 of Round 2 at the Hurley Pro Trestles.
Highlights from today’s Hurley Pro Trestles will be available via www.hurley.com/hurleypro/
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
HURLEY PRO TRESTLES ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Michael Picon (FRA) 13.67, Ben Dunn (AUS) 9.67, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 9.50
Heat 2: Damien Hobgood (USA) 7.27, Dustin Barca (HAW) 6.80, Drew Courtney (AUS) 5.43
Heat 3: David Weare (ZAF) 9.43, Bobby Martinez (USA) 8.64, Dayyan Neve (AUS) 7.10
Heat 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.83, Chris Ward (USA) 8.67, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 4.43
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.34, Tim Reyes (USA) 11.00, Luke Stedman (AUS) 7.97
Heat 6: Dane Reynolds (USA) 14.84, Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 11.47, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 6.16,
Heat 7: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 11.90, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 11.66, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 10.27
Heat 8: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.83, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 9.83, Kai Barger (HAW) 7.83
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.50, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 14.00, Rob Machado (USA) 9.67
Heat 10: Brett Simpson (USA) 14.24, Taj Burrow (AUS) 11.34, Dean Morrison (AUS) 8.10
Heat 11: Chris Davidson (AUS) 13.96, Tiago Pires (PRT) 13.77, Taylor Knox (USA) 11.76
Heat 12: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.67, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.87, Greg Emslie (ZAF) 11.14
Heat 13: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 11.97, Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.33, Jihad Khodr (BRA) 8.86
Heat 14: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.66, Jay Thompson (AUS) 11.47, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 8.87
Heat 15: Tim Boal (FRA) 14.10, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 12.83, Mick Campbell (AUS) 7.16
Heat 16: Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.57, Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.44, Roy Powers (HAW) 4.17
HURLEY PRO TRESTLES ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 12.16 def. Kai Barger (HAW) 9.93
Heat 2: Rob Machado (USA) 15.16 def. Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.00
HURLEY PRO TRESTLES REMAINING ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Marlon Lipke (DEU)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Phillip MacDonald (AUS)
Heat 5: Bobby Martinez (USA) vs. Luke Stedman (AUS)
Heat 6: Tom Whitaker (AUS) vs. Nic Muscroft (AUS)
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Drew Courtney (AUS)
Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 9: Mick Campbell (AUS) vs. Greg Emslie (ZAF)
Heat 10: Kieren Perrow (AUS) vs. Jihad Khodr (AUS)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) vs. Aritz Aranburu (EUK)
Heat 12: Dean Morrison (AUS) vs. Nathaniel Curran (USA)
Heat 13: Tim Reyes (USA) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 14: Chris Ward (USA) vs. Jay Thompson (AUS)
Heat 15: Dayyan Neve (AUS) vs. Josh Kerr (AUS)
Heat 16: Dustin Barca (HAW) vs. Ben Dunn (AUS)