By Shea Lopez
Change. That's been the war cry for the ASP in 2010. Lost in all the World Tour confusion of mid-season cuts, new formats, and judging overhauls was the introduction of the Prime series. For surfers either looking to qualify or just stay on the World Tour, the Prime series events are a must to attend. A new points system has placed such a high value to the Primes that it is no longer necessary to chase every 6 star halfway around the world all year. The implementation of the new Prime series creates a World Tour caliber event with many of the World Tour surfers— and every surfer with aspirations of making it to the World Tour—on hand and in a singlet. For the upcoming 6.0 Lowers Prime event, a staggering 36 of the 45 World Tour surfers will be competing. When you add the world's best young surfers to that group at a world-class wave, this comp could very well be the best event of 2010.
If the judges want to see and score big moves, there is no better wave than Lowers. With the perfect combination of power to generate speed, crumbly lip to project off of, and a marshmallow landing strip, progressive surfing and the new judging criteria will be put to it's biggest test yet.
Going back longer than I care to remember, surfers have yearned for the judging to catch up to the level of surfing performed. Without proper reward for risk, many explosive surfers scaled things back to the judging criteria. For the veterans competing, this brings both opportunity and a test to their careers. I'll use my brother, Cory, as an example: He'll finally have the opportunity to surf a heat at Lowers in the same way he freesurfed the place daily as a grom. The test will be if he can break his old habits by surfing up to the new criteria and stay ahead of a strong rookie class looking to make up for a slow start this year.
For a number of California-bred rookies, they'll finally be able to surf a heat in familiar waters. After a long stay in Oz and a quick blast to Brazil, you can rest assured that the Cali contingency appreciate being able to drive their own car, sleep in their own bed, and field a million questions about the World Tour from friends and family.
Among the new crop of rookies, Nate Yeomans has started the year as slow as possible with three 33rds. If there's ever a setting for Nate to break out of his rut, it's gonna come from his homebreak at Lowers. San Clemente is proud of their surfers, so expect a very focused and locally supported effort from Nate and local fans.
For Huntington's Brett Simpson to find some traction, he'll need to get back to basics. Grinding out multiple heats at Lowers should help him settle down and just surf. A simple routine of catching good waves and completing his rides will see him win almost every heat. When you have that much talent and endless possibilities to the waves you ride, the basics can be forgotten in the process. For Simpson, Lowers couldn’t come at a better time.
For Pat and Tanner Gudauskas, the pair seems to be quite comfortable at home surfing on the World Tour as rookies. At Lowers they'll be practically in their backyard competing. You know they want to take home that big 1st-place check so they can add a pool to the family backyard.
With a phenomenal webcast planned for the Nike 6.0 Lowers event, you can plan on viewing surf-movie-caliber rides every heat. Complete with slow-mo replays and expert analysis, the Prime series is stepping up as a Dream Tour of it’s own. The only thing left is a dreamy south swell to turn Lowers into Heaven on Earth.
The 6.0 Lowers Pro begins on May 4 – 8 / photo credit: Grant Ellis