Americans Make the Most of 6.0 Lowers Pro!
The 6.0 Lowers Pro wrapped yesterday, with Hawaii's Fred Patacchia taking out defending champion Ben Bourgeois, of North Carolina, in glassy 4-foot walls. For Patacchia, this 6-star PRIME WQS was a nice exercise. Though the ASP World Tour star has very little need to surf qualifying events this year (his current 4th place spot on the ASP rankings means he's in little danger of missing the cut so far) he took the opportunity to sharpen his blades in preparation for The Hurley Pro, the ASP's only stop in Mainland U.S., slated for September. "It's a good warm up for the Hurley Pro," says Patacchia. "I just want to stay in contest mode. I'm having a fairly decent year this year so I just want to keep it going."
For Bourgeois, who fell off the ASP World Tour last year, this was a solid step back to the big leagues should he decide he wants that. But the 30-year-old California transplant is busy working on a handful of other surf related projects this year, and getting back to the top, while certainly tempting, doesn't seem to be his first priority. "I'm doing a boat trip to Panama later this year, and just cruising at home in Carlsbad."
So the real drama at Lowers was down in the trenches of the WQS rankings, among those trying to break through for the first time to the next level. There were a number of Americans hoping to make the most of the huge points on offer at this 6-star PRIME event.
Dusty Payne entered Lowers in the number 16 slot' The young
Hawiian is hoping to stay on the incredible roll he's been enjoying ever since
taking out last year's Oakley Pro Junior Global Challenge in Bali.
Nate Yeomans, one of San Clemente's native sons, entered the Lower's
event ranked 21, while Dane and Tanner Gudauskas, two more San Clemente
standouts, entered ranked 33rd and 35th respectively. Yeomans has been enjoying plenty of success in WQS events of late.
He became the first WQS surfer ever to threepeat at last year's Oakley Newport
Pro. But unfortunately, none of those wins netted Yeamans many points, since they were only 2
He earned just 500 points for each of those 2-Star victories. In 6-Star PRIME events surfers who finish = 97th earn 525 points. That illustrates just how important these events are, and why Americans have been begging for an event of this weight on mainland shores for years. This was the first ever 6-Star PRIME event in California.
"It's about time," says Bourgeois, last year's winner. "I'm really stoked Nike stepped in and turned this into an event that really matters this year. This is one of the best venues you can possibly have for a contest, so it should be."
Another U.S. hopeful looking for a solid result was Brett Simpson of Huntington Beach. Simpson narrowly missed the world tour cutoff last year, something he's desperately trying to avoid this season. Entering the event ranked 4th on the WQS, it was so far so good. But Simpson had the unfortunate luck of running into super freaks Dane Reynolds and Rob Machado in Round of 48. Though his = 37th finish was a setback, the results on the rankings don't reflect it yet. He remains in the Top 5 for now, but the foundation he'd built up has weakened.
Tanner Gudauskas and Dusty Payne, on the other hand, capitalized. Both advance all the way to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by world tour stars Tim Boal and Patacchia respectively. Gudauskas now finds himself rounding out the Top 10 on the WQS, while Payne is clawing even higher, all the way to number 7 in the rankings.
Of course, Yeomans' effort was the real justice served at Lowers. The perennial California standout made good on his Trestles run, beating the likes of Rob Machado and C.J. Hobgood en route to the semifinals. His equal 3rd place finish netted him 2625 points, rocketing him up into the number 6 slot on the WQS rankings. Post Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro, there are now three Americans in the Top 10, with Patrick Gudauskas and Austin Ware both hovering in the Top 20.
The war ahead is long, but the Americans can (and should) be happy with their stellar defense at home. Consider this battle won.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
April 28, 2009 - May 2, 2009