Finals Day at Lowers

WSL Commissioners Kieren Perrow and Jessi Miley-Dyer gambled on Mother Nature yesterday when they agreed to postpone the finals and bet on a hurricane swell to trickle in for the next 48 hours, and the daring paid off in the currency of glassy walls and rippable shoulders for the end of the Hurley Pro and the Swatch Women's Pro.

Sage Erickson

Sage Erickson, fresh from her 'QS win in Spain, knew she could boost her odds of requalification with an upset against points-leader Tyler Wright in the morning's first heat. Photo: Ellis

Tyler Wright

Wright, opting for a clean left. Apart from a slow start in Round One, Wright's road to her first World Title looked as inevitable as ever at Lowers. Photo: Burgess

Tyler Wright

Tyler Wright. Photo: Ellis

Sage

Erickson's best performances on Tour have historically always been when she's on the requalification bubble, and she put out another valiant effort in her semifinal against Wright, falling short by less than a point. Photo: Ellis

Tyler

Tyler Wright, making short work of the Lowers lefthander. Photo: Ellis

Steph Gilmore

Steph Gilmore, the stylish six-time world champ, hadn't won an event since 2014, at the Cascais Women's Pro in Portugal. Her opening rounds at Lowers were the most confident she's surfed all year, though, and her focus looked unbreakable during her semifinal match-up against
Nikki van Dijk. Photo: Ellis

Nikki van Dijk

Van Dijk stretches for the forehand hack. Photo: Ellis

Van Dijk

Van Dijk, looking to throw another one to the lip. Photo: Ellis

Steph

With style and function and smooth forehand wraps on repeat, Gilmore pocketed two 9.0+ scores against Van Dijk and landed a spot in the final. Photo: Ellis

Tyler

Tyler Wright's patience paid off after waiting for nearly half the heat to take her first wave against Steph Gilmore. Photo: Ellis

Steph

A late 9.13 from Gilmore drew cheers and bated the breath of the crowd, but it wasn't enough to overcome Wright, who took her fourth 'CT win of the year. Photo: Ellis

Gilmore & Wright

Gilmore and Wright, caught laughing after an Aussie-exclusive final. Photo: Ellis

Tyler

Wright, walking on a cobblestone red carpet to be congratulated by the throngs of fans on the beach. Photo: Ellis

Lowers

Lower Trestles, a split-peak canvas. Photo: Ellis

Tanner & Tom Gudauskas

Throughout the event, all eyes were on local boy Tanner Gudauskas, the San Clemente wildcard who took down some of the WSL's top seeds. Gudauskas, posing with his dad, Tom. Photo: Burgess

Filipe

Filipe Toledo, zoned in before his semifinal heat against Jordy Smith. Photo: Ellis

Filipe

To no one's surprise, Toledo relied upon his aerial repertoire in the semis. Although it wasn't enough to best an in-form Jordy Smith, Toledo went home with a few of his most dominating heat wins on Tour, and one of his best event results of the year so far. Photo: Ellis

Jordy

Smith, cranking a classic forehand wrap that helped him advance to the finals against Tour veteran Joel Parkinson. Photo: Ellis

Tanner

Guduaskas, taking a moment before heading out into one of the most exciting heats of the day. Photo: Ellis

Tanner

Aggressive and lightning-quick backside hacks like this one helped put Gudauskas on the board during the opening minutes of his semifinal heat. Photo: Ellis

Tanner

Although he lost to Parko by only one-tenth of a point, Gudausakas (naturally) never stopped smiling. If anything, he’s more stoked to finish out his year strong on the ‘QS in order to qualify for the 2017 World Tour. Photo: Ellis

Parko

Parko was looking strong, smooth, and lively throughout the entire event, but after not catching a wave for the first 15 minutes of the final, fans were worried he peaked too soon. It was a turn like this one, at the heat’s halfway mark, that proved fans wrong and put him back in the race against Jordy Smith. Photo: Ellis

Jordy

Smith, drifting the fins en route to a score in the excellent range. Photo: Ellis

Parko

Parko’s precision and perfectly timed power carves earned him his best event result since 2014, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the heavy-footed South African. Parko, making a last ditch effort before the horn sounded. Photo: Ellis

Jordy

Smith, hoisting the winning stick that led him to the top of the podium. Photo: Ellis

Tyler

A scene we've grown accustomed to seeing on the women's Tour. Tyler Wright, called to the stage once more. Photo: Burgess

Jordy

Jordy Smith, reclaiming the Hurley Pro trophy after winning the event in 2014. Photo: Ellis