“It’s as good as it gets out there,” said Kolohe Andino just after his pre-heat warmup session at dawn Tuesday morning. Andino, the 17-year-old local from San Clemente is one of the elite Top 32 surfers in the world who’ve come to surf the prime rated event.
Combine the perfect conditions with several star-studded heats in the opening round of 98, and it’s shaping up to be a memorable day for pro surfing with several “can’t miss” heats that include the likes of Andino, fellow Californian Dane Reynolds, defending champion Miguel Pupo, as well as former world champions CJ Hobgood and Mark Occhilupo.
Occhilupo, 46, has landed in California nearly 30 years after he set it on fire back in 1983, igniting the modern era of professional surfing playing the loveable Australian foe to America’s sweetheart Tom Curren. Amazingly, Occy is coming in hot, having just finished 3rd place at a prime-rated event in Western Australia.
Reynolds, who’s stepped away from full-time competing, will be facing Brazilian upstart Felipe Toledo, tour veteran Kai Otton, and the acrobatic Mitch Crews.
Andino will be up against his longtime sparring partner Evan Geiselman, along with Aussie Brent Dorrington and Tim Reyes of California.
Occy will be surfing against fellow Aussie Ace Buchan, and Puerto Rican Dylan Graves.
You can watch the event live all week at Nikelowerspro.com