Trestles: Day 3

Lowers offers up rippable faces and ramps for the third day of competition

Julian Wilson, midway through one of the most progressive moves of the day, and the highest scoring ride of the event. Photo: Lowe-White

It doesn't take much of a swell for Lowers to turn into the high-performance wave park that has been setting the standard for over 20 years now. The modest increase in swell today was just enough for those that wanted to project into the lip or high into the air (Kerr, Julian, Simpo, Adriano) to cut loose. While those who would rather use all that face to carve all over the place (Kelly, Parko, Mick) could put on quite a show as well.

All the varied action in the water has led to some very close heats that were extremely difficult to select a clear-cut winner. More than ever, the judges have been challenged to differentiate and decide how to score the many different styles of surfing on display. The two surfers who have combined the best of both worlds thus far, and are still going in the comp are Taj and Owen.

When Owen paddled into an end-of-the-heat bomb needing a 9, he never thought air for a second. Instead he methodically/surgically/brutally placed every turn in the perfect spot. It was a work of art, well above the other 8-point plus rides of earlier in the heat, and very deserving of a 9.77. Surfing that good, while on the wave face, will always get scored. Knock on wood.

Taj surfs at a much faster speed than everyone else—always has. He now buries his rail from start to finish when he’s not in the air. He's been the future of surfing for 10 years or more already. Now that he's added the power, Taj is showing us were the next 10 years or more needs to head. I'm thinking Taj for the win tomorrow.

Except Kelly threw down the two most radical, tight, arcing carves I've ever seen today, on a board that looked to be an extension of his feet, directly wired to his brain. One hundred tail-pop, air reverses on slopey faces dosen't add up to one of those turns. And if anyone is making the final tomorrow, they will have to contend with the very non air-friendly morning conditions of Lower Trestles.

It started of Slowers the first two days, with everyone being extremely on edge—whether it be a last ditch struggle to put your name up there in the World Title race, or even a confused webcast viewer trying to figure out why the rides he sees and the scores dropping aren't adding up correctly in their heads (get yourself a twitter account and start following every surfer you can find, or just Kelly, and you will see how truly subjective the sport of surfing actually is). For as long as I can remember, my friends and I have watched every heat, closely examining every ride, score given, and then expressed our opinions—sometimes in the form of vulgarities hurled towards the judging panel. Sorry. Social media has opened up those conversations to the world.

So tomorrow, as the swell peaks and 11 very capable surfers attempt to pry the Lowers title from Kelly, embrace your inner sports fan, cheer for what you like, and let 'em know what you don't—have an opinion. With the world shrinking capabilities of the internet, online forums, social media, and comments below this post should crackle with debate. Even if you've never surfed and live in Istanbul, you have an audience, and as a fan your opinion matters more than mine. I still get my clothes and boards for free.

Kelly Slater, in a holy alliance with his board throughout the day. Photo: Lowe-White

With Lowers peaks varying from vertical ramps to slopey faces, there was something for everyone to work with. Photo: Lowe-White

You know you've got a tough heat when a 15-point total puts you in third. Alas, such was the case when Mick Fanning came up against Julian Wilson and Joel Parkinson. Photo: Lowe-White

Damien Hobgood came up just short against Owen Wright in an all goofy-footer Round 4 match-up. Photo: Lowe-White

Josh Kerr was pushing the competition on the progressive front with a variation of airs, including a massive bigspin in his Round 4 heat. Photo: Lowe-White

Julian Wilson showed his extensive repatoire today with full-rail carves and slob grabs such as this. Photo: Lowe-White

Owen Wright has nothing but momentum coming into this event, and with a ticket to the quarterfinals he shows no signs of slowing. Photo: Lowe-White

In what had to be the most intense heat of the day, Joel Parkinson threw down an at-the-buzzer high score to barely topple Julian Wilson and earn his way to the quarters. Photo: Lowe-White