Lower Trestles kept intact its uncanny gift of producing quality conditions for major surf contests with rippable head-high sets under sunny skies on day one of the Foster’s Cup, a 2-star Association of Surfing Professionals’ (ASP) World Qualifying Series event and the first stop on the 2002 Foster’s Pro Surfing Tour. Leading up to the Foster’s Cup, Southern California had been suffering through one of its worst surf droughts in recent memory. But Lower Trestles, considered one of the best high-performance contest waves on the planet, worked its magic yet again, providing welcome 2′-4′ lefts and rights groomed by moderate offshore winds. The swell continued to build as the tide over Lowers; famed cobblestone point began dropping by mid-morning.
The Men’s Shortboard Round of 192 featured the hottest young crop of American surfers hoping to advance into later rounds and meet the likes of current ASP World Champion CJ Hobgood, 2000 ASP World Champion Sunny Garcia, and ASP veterans Taylor Knox, Pat O’Connell and Mike Parsons leading into Saturday’s final day. Standouts on day one included a talented cross-section of US talent, including Jamie Meistrell (Torrance), Dane Gudauskas (San Clemente), Jeremy Sherwin (Encinitas), Adam Virs (Ventura), and Gavin Sutherland (Hawai’i).
Meistrell, 18, whose family founded and operates Body Glove, was competing in only his second professional surfing event. Meistrell said he was stoked to surf the world class Trestles wave with just three other surfers. Meistrell plans to continue trying his best on the Foster’s Pro Surfing Tour this season before taking on the family business.
Gudauskas was among the many surfers who were surprised to see head-high surf this morning. “We surfed San Clemente Pier yesterday and it was flat as a board,” said the 16-year-old local standout whose twin brother Pat is also a Foster’s Cup contestant. “I was stoked to get some good waves, everyone’s ripping. It?s a great wave no matter if you go left or right. It?s our first year on the pro tour and we?ll see how it goes.”
Hawaiian native Gavin Sutherland is best known as an aerial specialist, and has spent the last month in California gearing up for the summer air show circuit. “I feel great getting first in my first heat,” said Sutherland. “The waves are really good, nice and open. Once you get around the first section, you can just click away. I’ve been surfing Trestles for the past two weeks, and this is definitely the best day so far. It’s like the first real day of summer — sunny and three to four feet.”
Moving faster than anyone on the first day of competition was Adam Virs, who picked up where he left off last November when he won the last major pro surfing contest in California, the PSTA Championships at his home break in Ventura. The regular-foot (left foot forward) immediately took charge on the long rights of low tide Lowers, opening with a 5.5 out of a possible 10 points, then besting that with a ride featuring no less than three nearly flawless combinations of top gouges to wraparound cutbacks with no loss of speed to warrant an 8.5 from the judges. He followed that up with a strong backside vert attack on a left that added up to the highest heat score of the day, 20.75 out of a possible 30.00.
“At home we’ve only been surfing the beach breaks, the points haven’t really been doing it,” said Virs. “To go out there and get a couple of turns like that and keep my speed up, it felt good. It’s more in the mind than the legs. It’s the first time I’ve surfed a point for nearly two months. After doing well at Ventura, I feel I can do anything now. And we’ve got this early south swell, it was getting breezy earlier and now it’s glassed off. It’s a beautiful day.”
The Foster’s Cup marks the first North American appearance of the Foster’s Pro Surfing Tour, a long-term alliance between Surfing America and the famed Australian beer maker. Created by the Surf Industry Manufacturer’s Associationn (SIMA), Surfing America is the nonprofit governing body for pro surfing in the USA. The Foster’s Cup event is being produced in conjunction with the PSTA by Jeff Grell of SnowSurfing, Inc. “Foster’s is the number one Australian beer exported around the world, and whenever anyone thinks of Australia and the Australian lifestyle, they think of the ocean and the beach and surfing,” said Foster?s spokesman James Mullahy. “We think it’s a natural tie-in to get involved with surfing. With the Foster’s Pro Surfing Tour we can really build on what we’re trying to do with the Foster?s brand in the US.” The Foster’s Cup will be televised as a half-hour show on the Outdoor Life Network and will air four times, beginning on May 20 at 8:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
Official event product sponsors include the new Subaru Baja, Paul Mitchell Salon Haircare, Balance Bar, and Outdoor Life Network. Event title sponsors include Foster’s and Havaianas. Industry sponsors include Ocean Pacific, Surf One, Mountain High Resort, Sticky Bumps, Transworld Surf Magazine, Peak Sunscreen, and Surf Quest Media.
For press information about the Foster’s Cup event contact Gary Taylor at 760-803-1957. (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information on the Foster’s Pro Surfing Tour, contact Bill Sharp at 949-548-6740. (e-mail: SurfNewsEd@aol.com).
Complete results can be found at www.aspworldtour.com, and www.prosurfingtour.com