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Shane Beschen (San Clemente, CA), four-time past champion of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) at Lower Trestles (1992, 1993, 1996, 2003), set his sights on an unprecedented fifth event title today, dominating his Round 5 heat in the 6.0 Lowers Pro in clean three-to-four foot (1 metre) surf at Lowers Trestles.
Beschen, competing in his fourth heat of the 2008 6.0 Lowers Pro this afternoon, drew current ASP World Tour stalwart Adriano de Souza (BRA), Australian upstart James Woods (Lennox Head, AUS) and event wildcard, 15-year old Carissa Moore (Honolulu, HI).
"There was a lot of hype surrounding the heat with Carissa (Moore) in it because she was the first girl to surf the event, but I just went out and tried to surf it like any other heat," Beschen said. "I think everyone was looking at it the same way - we all just went out there and surfed."
Beschen dominated the heat, locking in the highest heat total of the event, an 18.10 out of a possible 20, for his blistering backhand assault and swooping forehand carves.
"I started out a bit slow but got that lefthander that allowed me to open up and that's when I started picking up the momentum," Beschen said. "Adriano (de Souza) was ripping as well and I got a really good righthander at the end to edge past him at the end. My equipment is feeling really good and I'm happy to get through another heat."
Shaun Ward (Huntington Beach, CA), the only returning finalist from last season's ASP WQS event at Lowers, scored a solid victory in his Round 5 heat this afternoon, coming from behind in the dying moments to post an impressive 16.53 out of a possible 20.
"That was a weird heat because I started out really strong and then I was out of position for about 15 minutes," Ward said. "Thankfully that wave came through at the end and I was able to get a good backup score. The surf is really fun and there is supposed to be more on the way. I've been training like crazy, so bring it on."
Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 2006 Macy's California Trifecta Champion and current No. 35 on the ASP WQS, was another standout local this afternoon, netting and impressive 16.34 out of a possible 20 to advance through to Round 6.
"It was one of those heats where the waves came to me," Yeomans said. "That south started to pulse through and we had some good sets. I was able to line up a few and get some good maneuvers in."
Yeomans is coming off one of the first international legs of the 2008 ASP WQS season, and will look to put his years of experience at Lower Trestles to good use at the 6.0 Lowers Pro.
"The goal every year is to qualify for the ASP World Tour," Yeomans said. "It's still early in the season and I've gotten a few okay results, but need to have a breakaway result. We're on the road so much this year that it's nice to have an event at home and looks like we could have good swell for it so I'm pumped."
Kiron Jabour (Haleiwa, HI), 17 years old, advanced through his fourth heat of the 6.0 Lowers Pro this afternoon, dispatching of past event champion Dustin Cuizon (Ewa Beach, HI) and Gabriel Villaran (Lima, PER) in the process.
"I try not to think about who I'm competing against out in the water and just focus on my surfing," Jabour said. "I've had a pretty good run so far and I'm just hoping I can get waves and get through heats."
Jabour will continue his 6.0 Lowers Pro campaign tomorrow in addition to starting his run in the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior.
Tomorrow will see the 6.0 Lowers Pro continue with the completion of Rounds 4 and 5 before the start of the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior.
All 6.0 Lowers Pro action is being webcast LIVE via www.Nike6LowersPro.com