After three extremely competitive (you could even go as far as saying groundbreaking) days of surfing here at Lower Trestles, we have seen kids as young as 17 years old awe spectators with their performances, executing multiple maneuvers on a single wave that were previously considered a rarity in competition.
Of the 12 remaining surfers in the event, nine are 25-or-under, and seven of those nine are Brazilian. The two Americans in that group, Tanner and Kolohe, reside just a short bike ride away here in San Clemente. This is Tanner's first event since an ankle injury that kept him out of the water for six weeks, but he's consistently blown his competition out of the water with a mix of old-school power and ne- school progression that very few surfers could ever match. Kolohe barely squeaked through his previous heat yesterday when he was pushed to the limit by Dusty Payne in a wave-filled heat. Kolohe's response was one groms around the world will be talking about in school for days to come, as he put his board and body into positions rarely seen before in a surfing competition--multiple air-reverses on a wave, a big slob grab air, and the very first stalefish air-reverse I've ever seen in a contest.
The odds now favor a Brazilian winning this event, more specifically youngsters Miguel Pupo, Jadson Andre, Gabriel Medina, and relative unknown Jesse Mendes. Of course they still have to get past a few fired-up Americans who not only have more experience with the lineup at Lowers--like previous Lowers champion CJ Hobgood who still has a few tricks up his sleeve--but will also have the full support from a crowd consisting of family and friends hoping to see one of their own hoist the $40,000 check.