Floridian battles back from year-long injury and takes out the stacked 6-Star Prime at Lowers
Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 29, won the ASP PRIME 6.0 Lowers Pro over ASP Dream Tour No. 13 Chris Davidson (AUS), 33, in two-to-four foot (1 metre) surf at the famed cobblestone pointbreak of Lower Trestles after the world's finest surfers pushed the performance barriers of competitive surfing throughout the entire week of competition while reveling in the firing south swell.
Andrew Doheny (Newport Beach, CA), 17, clinched the biggest win of his career when he won the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior.??The shift to the ASP One World Rating attracted more than 30 ASP Dream Tour competitors and the globe's hottest up-and-coming surfers to the iconic pointbreak of Lower Trestles while the ASP Pro Junior competitors flocked to the Oakley Pro Junior to gather points towards their regional ratings in an attempt to qualify for the inaugural ASP World Junior Tour.
Kling quietly navigated his way through the early rounds of competition before gaining momentum in the final day of action. The Floridian talent unleashed a furious backhand attack on the Lowers lefthanders and combined his heats with a repertoire of powerful carves and rail gouges on his forehand to eliminate current ASP Dream Tour No. 2 Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, in the Quarterfinals, and former three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (Hanalei, HI), 31, in the Semifinals before taking out the 6.0 Lowers Pro title over Davidson.
"There were no easy heats out there and I felt like I just kept squeaking it through," Kling said. "I didn't even win a heat until it went to man-on-man. I kind of peaked at the right time and had a lot of luck on my side. This is the biggest win of my career."
The Floridian regular-footer's 6.0 Lowers Pro win will help to catapult Kling to the higher rung of the ASP One World Ratings, substantially helping his chances of qualification for next year's ASP Dream Tour.
"This gives me so much confidence with 35 of the 45 guys from the tour here," Kling said. "It's huge for me, this is definitely the biggest win of my career. This is Lowers with the best guys and this win is just huge."
The ASP PRIME victory was especially sweet for Kling, as today's win comes after a full rehabilitation from a severe knee injury sustained in the beginning of the 2009 season which sidelined the standout competitor for eight of the 10 events on the 2009 ASP World Tour.
"Last year's injury adds to this win," Kling said. "I was out for eight months and sitting on the couch and watching everyone surf when it was my year on tour, it was a pretty disappointing year for me. The injury makes this win that much sweeter."Davo. PHOTO: Jimmicane
Davidson, who posted some of the event's highest scores throughout 6.0 Lowers Pro competition with lightning fast surfing and massive gouges and fins-free turns, won every heat leading up to his Final matchup against Kling, but was unable to find a rhythm in their bout and finished runner-up.
"I'm not disappointed with my performance, but I'm a little disappointed with the way that I played out the Final," Davidson said. "I shouldn't have let him have that one left and I shouldn't have gone on that little right and then he got that bomb. I was just out of rhythm and didn't really play a smart final, but all compliments to Gabe. He surfed really well on the waves that he got. I knew it was going to be tough and I'm stoked to make the Final."
The wily Australian has kicked off his 2010 ASP Dream Tour campaign in strong form and feels that his Final appearance at this year's 6.0 Lowers Pro is only going to add to his momentum after such inspirational surfing displayed by his fellow competitors throughout the week.
"I've been feeling really good this year," Davidson said. "I've got a couple of ninths and just to come to America, there is so much talent here, it's good to come here and make the Final against all of these guys after everyone was ripping so hard all week. I'm just trying to take the good out of it and I'm psyched to move on."A.I. PHOTO: Jimmicane
Andy Irons (Hanalei, HI), 31, who is a former three-time ASP World Champion, dispensed amazing performances heat-after-heat, but stumbled in the Semifinals against Kling after breaking his board in the early minutes of their bout and was unable to recover throughout their heat. Irons finished equal third overall.
"I knew it was going to be a good heat," Irons said. "Gabe (Kling) has been having a good contest, he took Jordy (Smith) out in the last round and I knew he wasn't going to be a slouch. As soon as my board broke, it just kind of broke my whole deal. That's my board that has gotten me back into a good rhythm and when it broke, I kind of felt like my dreams got crushed right there and it was kind of hard to pick myself back up."??Irons, who is currently competing as a full-time competitor on the ASP Dream Tour after a one-year sabbatical, looked at his impressive finish at Lowers as a step in the right direction to help build his momentum as the ASP World Title Race season progresses.
"I haven't made more than three heats in about two years, so to make the Semifinals, that's a great result for me," Irons said. "Although I would have liked to be in the final, I'm going to walk away from the beach psyched and it's a great result before going into J-Bay."
Doheny clinched the Oakley Pro Junior, his first ASP Pro Junior victory, over a stacked final field including reigning ASP North America Pro Junior Series Champion Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 18, Dylan Goodale (Kauai, HI), 19, and Tyler Newton (Kauai, HI), 19, with an impressive 17.10 out of 20 heat total after moving through an elite early round field including current ASP Dream Tour surfer Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, and reigning ASP World Junior Champion Maxime Huscenot (REU), 19.
"I don't even know what to say, this doesn't feel real," Doheny said. "I hope it's not a dream. This was the hardest draw because there were so many good international guys competing. It's been an awesome event and it's been inspiring to see all of the top pros like Andy (Irons) surfing."
The impressive victory posted by Doheny catapults the young Newport Beach native to second overall on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, increasing his chances towards qualification for this year's ASP World Junior Tour.
"Hopefully this puts me in good position for the rest of the year," Doheny said. "I really want to qualify for the World Junior Tour, so hopefully it's on. I'm going to try my best."
6.0 Lowers Pro Final Results:
1- Gabe Kling (USA) 16.50?2- Chris Davidson (AUS) 11.77
6.0 Lowers Pro Semifinals Results:
Heat 1: Chris Davidson (AUS) 14.93 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.53?Heat 2: Gabe Kling (USA) 12.86 def. Andy Irons (HAW) 12.64
6.0 Lowers Pro Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.27 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.44?Heat 2: Chris Davidson (USA) 14.93 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.40?Heat 3: Andy Irons (HAW) 18.57 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 11.93?Heat 4: Gabe Kling (USA) 16.50 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.77
6.0 Lowers Pro Round of 16 Results:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.77 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.33?Heat 2: Heitor Alves (BRA) 14.43 def. Nic Muscroft (AUS) 12.00?Heat 3: Chris Davidson (AUS) 13.06 def. Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 7.50?Heat 4: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 13.90 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.17?Heat 5: Andy Irons (HAW) 13.33 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 12.60?Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.94 def. John John Florence (HAW) 8.40?Heat 7: Gabe Kling (USA) 12.90 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 10.60?Heat 8: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.67 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.10
Oakley Pro Junior Final Results:
1- Andrew Doheny (USA) 17.10?2- Nat Young (USA) 15.40?3- Dylan Goodale (HAW) 14.17?4- Tyler Newton (HAW) 13.60
Oakley Pro Junior Semifinals Results:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA) 17.33, Tyler Newton (HAW) 12.33, Evan Thompson (USA) 10.44, Conner Coffin (USA) 10.34?Heat 2: Dylan Goodale (HAW) 16.46, Andrew Doheny (USA) 14.84, Evan Geiselman (USA) 14.83, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 8.53Really into their style. Luke Davis and Kolohe Andino. PHOTO: JimmicaneFinalist Chris Davidson on a the road to joy. PHOTO: TarasCJ Hobgood put on some of the most entertaining performances of the contest by showcasing a variety of maneuvers. PHOTO: TarasOwen Wright was an obvious favorite to win the event, but ran into a slicing Andy Irons. But not before some inspired sliding. PHOTO: TarasInnovation in a jersey. Josh Kerr's variel. PHOTO: TarasStandard operating procedure for Jordy Smith. He was taken down in the quarterfinals by contest winner Gabe Kling. PHOTO: TarasIf you haven't noticed, Adriano De Souza has been on a tear, and continued with a semifinal appearance at the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro. PHOTO: TarasNat Young backside blow tail in the final of the Oakley Pro Junior final. PHOTO: TarasJadson Andre. PHOTO: TarasSeabass made quite a statement throughout the event with turns like this. PHOTO: TarasAce Buchan was a definite threat to win with solid turns like this the whole event. PHOTO: TarasAdriano De Souza. PHOTO: TarasAndy Irons broke his magic board to start the semi, but did still manage to do some damage on his back up here. PHOTO: TarasAndy Irons returned to being a bull in a china shop at the Nike Lowers Pro. It was awesome and worth a semifinal finish. PHOTO: JimmicaneGabe Kling en-route to winning the biggest QS you can find: 6-Star Prime. PHOTO: JimmicaneFinalist and Narrabbean's pride and joy, Chris Davidson. PHOTO: JimmicaneAfter sitting out almost the entire season last year, Gabe Kling responds with a win in one of the most stacked events of all time. PHOTO: TarasThe last time Gabe was chaired up the beach it was because his ankle was tweaked. This time was much more enjoyable. The 2010 Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro Champion. PHOTO: TarasFinalists: Davo and Kling. PHOTO: JimmicaneThe first of many drinks on the night. PHOTO: Jimmicane