Drenched in beer, dripping saltwater, and cloaked in a Hawaiian flag, Fred Patacchia, the 2009 Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro champ, searched through the onslaught of fans and media that swarmed the 27-year-old Hawaiian as he was hoisted onto the brawny shoulders of friends and carried up the beach for his victory lap.
"Where's my wahine? Where's my wahine?" bellowed Patacchia from his makeshift throne, seemingly more concerned with the whereabouts of his lady than the paparazzi buzzing beneath him.
"I'm right here, Fred! I'm right here!" yelled a fresh-faced brunette beauty, quickly emerging from the throng of spectators and into Fred's soaking embrace. The two held each other for a short moment, smiled, and kissed as the crowd cheered and whistled in approval.
It was a fitting end to the final day for the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro.
For the past five days, Lowers played host to some of the world's best surfers for one of the most heralded and iconic events in California surf lore. You couldn't have asked for better conditions for the final as a healthy swell drifted into the Lowers surfscape, lighting up the fabled peak with a steady supply of head-high-plus sets, giving the two finalists, Ben Bourgeois and Fred Patacchia, all of the means necessary to showcase their repertoire at one of the world's most performance-oriented waves.
The two had met previously in the final last year where Bourgeois edged out Patacchia and took the win. This year, Fred had other plans in mind. From the outset, it was clear that there would be no stopping Fred as the lad went completely ape-sh-t on the left-handers, tearing apart the peak with surgical precision and posting a two-wave combined score of 16.84 to seal the win over Bourgeois
"Benny's [Bourgeois] been surfing so good lately, I knew it was gonna be hard to beat him. But I got a few good waves under my belt and got in a good rhythm. I felt really confident out there," said Patacchia, post-heat.
When asked about what he would do with the $20,000 prize money, Patacchia responded that he'd be heading to Vegas on his own personal mission to stimulate the economy. Along with a pocket full of dough primed for the roulette wheel, Patacchia will also take home a heap of 'QS ratings points courtesy of the 6-star PRIME event—not that he needs it as he's currently sitting comfortably in the number-three position on the ASP World Tour.
For the Oakley Pro Junior, it would be another Hawaiian goofyfooter standing tall on the winner's podium at day's end as Maui's Kai Barger dominated his four-man heat with a slew of 9- and 8-point rides. On his highest-scoring wave, Barger went past vertical on an overhead bomb nine consecutive times, setting the stage for a stranglehold over his competition that would prove to be deadly as the 19-year-old appeared leagues more savvy and developed than his counterparts throughout the final.
After making his victory march up the beach and into the judges scaffolding, Barger was handed a cell phone and was told he had a call. It was his mother on the line. Barger talked passionately for a moment, jumped up and down, and smiled for the duration of the call before hanging up.
"Yeah, that was my mom on the line," said Barger. "She's so psyched! She doesn't drink…but she said that she's gonna be partying tonight."
For his win, Barger took home $2,500 in prize money and will be seeded into the prestigious Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge held in Bali later this year.
This was Barger's second big win in the span of a few months as he took home the prestigious World Junior Championships title in Narrabeen, Australia in January.
"I'm so stoked because I felt like people would be wondering if I didn't back up my win from Worlds with another big result," said Barger.
Along with Barger, the runner-up finisher, Davey Cathels of Australia, also earned a coveted invite into Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge in Bali.
6.0 Lowers Pro Final:
1 – Fred Patacchia (HAW)16.84
2 – Ben Bourgeois (USA) 14.10
6.0 Lowers Pro Semifinals Results:
Heat 1: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 13.17 def. Tim Boal (FRA) 7.60
Heat 2: Ben Bourgeois (USA) 15.80 def. Nathan Yeomans (USA) 14.66
6.0 Lowers Pro Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 15.00 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.83
Heat 2: Tim Boal (FRA) 14.96 def. Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 11.94
Heat 3: Ben Bourgeois (USA) 15.77 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.67
Heat 4: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 16.50 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA)
Oakley Pro Junior Final:
1 – Kai Barger (HAW) 18.60
2 – Davey Cathels (AUS) 16.13
3 – Dillon Perillo (USA) 15.94
4 – Kiron Jabour (HAW) 15.33
Oakley Pro Junior Semifinials Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Kiron Jabour (HAW) 15.06, Kai Barger (HAW) 14.94, Dege O'Connell (HAW) 9.56, Andrew Doheny (USA) 9.05
Heat 2: Dillon Perillo (USA) 17.90, Davey Cathels (AUS) 15.44, Nat Young (USA) 14.54, Chris Friend (AUS)
Oakley Pro Junior Quarterfinals Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Davey Cathels (AUS) 16.00, Chris Friend (AUS) 15.87, Cory Arrambide (USA) 15.50, Evan Thompson (USA) 14.94
Heat 2: Kai Barger (HAW) 15.50, Dege O'Connell (HAW) 11.77, Albee Layer (HAW) 10.76, Luke Davis (USA) 10.13
Heat 3: Davey Cathels (AUS) 16.00, Chris Friend (AUS) 15.87, Cory Arrambide (USA) 15.50, Evan Thompson (USA)
Heat 4: Nat Young (USA) 14.67, Dillon Perillo (USA) 13.07, Spencer Regan (USA) 12.77, Victor Done (USA) 7.47