Five lessons learned at the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro

As expected, the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro lived up to its billing as a the premier battleground between gen next and gen now. But that was hardly the only story. As we step away from another unforgettable event at Trestles, here are five things we learned at the 6.0.

1. These aren’t your daddy’s Brazilians
For way too long now Brazilians have been the butt of our collective jokes. There’s been no shortage of reasons: their history of abrasive styles, ridiculous claims and incessant froth all frayed nerves and raised the wince factor. But at Lower Trestles the new breed of Brazilians — no less than a half-dozen strong — announced themselves as world class talents worthy of serious respect. We already knew about Adriano de Souza, Heitor Alvez and Jadson Andre. But Alejo Muniz, Willian Cordoso, Miguel Pupo, Thiago Camareo, and Gabriele Medina each earned some Prime Time spotlight, and deservedly so. They’re all aesthetically pleasing, highly entertaining, and genuine nice guys. Oh, sure the froth and the claims are still there, but it’s a lot easier to take when they back it up.

2. Kolohe Andino is the real deal…

It’s not an easy thing living up to hype when you’re a highly-paid 17-year-old about to appear in national commercial spots. Kolohe Andino doesn’t seem phased. The kid seems to have ice in his veins. With the likes of his landmark stalefish reverse he made the quarterfinals and jumped to 81 in the ASP World Rankings. And now that he can enter any Prime event he wants (you need to be in the Top 96 to lock in a Prime event seed) and he’s got three empty slots to fill for his top eight results, you expect him to climb higher. That’s right, tomorrow really is sooner than you think.

3. 2011 really is Prime Time…
While we’re on the subject of tomorrow. Last year at Lowers the ASP’s looming hack down of the top 45 that was getting all the attention. This year it’s all about the looming reshuffle of the new and improved Top 32 coming in September. Fact is, there will be new blood entering World Title events, just in time to play spoilers for this year’s title race. And Prime events are as exciting as they get. The best part is those knocking on the door of the “big city” tour no longer have to compete in obscurity. This IS the world tour. They have a nice bright stage where they can show the world they’re ready, win some good money, while knocking down the same guys they’ll have to get past if they’re to win a title some day. Whether the surfers realize it or not, everyone wins here.

4. Variety is the new spice of ASP life…
Nobody has a tougher job than ASP judges, who are served up daily doses of shit from fans and competitors alike. Such is life in the world of a subjective sport. But the judges do deserve some credit for acknowledging–even demanding– to see a variety of moves from competitors. One-trick ponies may make a few heats, but they won’t last long. We saw the full spectrum of approaches at Lowers, from the hard carving swoops of Taylor Knox and Willian Cardoso, the tail wafting of Julian Wilson and Alejo Muniz, and the acrobatic grabs of Kolohe, Jadson and winner Miguel Pupo. But each of them did a solid job of adding other ingredients.

5. This was good as gold…
Yes, Tanner Gudauskas would have loved to have won in front of his home-town crowd today, but he and Kolohe sent their own messages this week, which won’t be forgotten. And it’s hard not to cheer for Pupo when you hear his story. His dad doesn’t speak any English, and today was the first time he was on hand to see his son compete at this level. Mr. Pupo is a shaper. He’s shaped magic sticks for his son for years, while working for the likes of Matt Biolos in Brazil in the past. The father-son moment was a pretty special one, arguably it was as golden as 30-thousand dollar spike Miguel walked off with.