Nike Lowers Pro: Day 1 Highlights
Event favorites and last year’s champion ko’d early at Lowers.
Last Friday I went down to Lowers to soak in the pre-Nike Lowers Pro vibe, snag a few waves, and conduct interviews. From the ripping grom to Cory Lopez to Pine the construction worker setting up the scaffolding, everyone I talked to was calling for Kolohe to win the Nike Pro at his home break. And if it wasn’t Kolohe it was his Nike stablemate Julian Wilson or perhaps 2012 champ Miguel Pupo.
So much for predictions.
One by one, the event favorites dropped. Kolohe Andino, done in by his buddy Evan Geiselman. Julian Wilson, knocked out after a boneheaded interference. Last year’s winner, Miguel Pupo, unable to get past Glenn Hall and Kai Barger. Brazilian phenom Gabriel Medina nearly suffered the same fate as the Julian but the judges didn’t call an interference on him and he went on to smoke his competitors for a near perfect heat.
Speaking of smoking, the waves were on fire today at Lowers. Perfect, overhead peaks out of the south were groomed of any imperfections created by the local eddy as they passed through the kelp beds. In the early afternoon, as the tide got higher and the gentle breeze turned offshore, it got really, really good and the performances followed.
It was almost torture watching guys like Tanner Gudauskas, Mitch Coleborn, Cory Lopez, Glenn Hall, CJ Hobgood and John John Florence rip apart the short, rampy lefts and long, smashable rights.
With plenty of swell stacking up, the Nike Lowers Pro figures to be a showstopper (and work stopper) all week.—JC
ASP Press Release: Shock Upsets Amidst Standout Performances at ASP PRIME Nike Lowers Pro
LOWER TRESTLES, San Clemente, California (Tuesday, May 1, 2012) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME Nike Lowers Pro kicked off in clean three-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at Lower Trestles and saw shock Round 1 eliminations unfold alongside standout performances from several of the event’s top seeds.
The ASP PRIME Nike Lowers Pro attracts several elite ASP World Championship Tour surfers and the finest up-and-coming pedigree to Lowers’ flawless surf. Competitors search for the crucial points up for grabs towards their ASP World Ranking and the event consistently provides the perfect platform for a high-performance showdown.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, opened his Nike Lowers Pro campaign in striking form with a near-perfect heat. The talented Brazilian lofted several airs on his forehand and quickly displayed his versatility when he dismantled a long right, earning the day’s highest single-wave score of 9.87 out of 10, while attaining the day’s highest heat-total of 19.27 out of 20. “That was a fun heat and a good way to start for the rest of the comp,” Medina said. “In the beginning of the heat I was catching too many lefts and I thought, ‘maybe I can get a right.’ I got that one and got the 9, so it was a good heat.”
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 23, carried the torch for the Lower Trestles local contingent, unloading a series of ferocious forehand turns to take one of the day’s highest single-wave scores, 9.27 out of 10, en route to an exceptional heat total of 16.77 out of 20. “I’m stoked because at that point the heat was going so fast, there were a lot of waves and I didn’t have to think about it,” Gudauskas said. “I just like surfing Lowers and that always adds to the psych. It was good to get the ball rolling and I’m just having fun watching everyone surf.”
John John Florence (North Shore, HI), 19, looked at home on the groomed walls of Lowers, unloading a variety of committed carves, and tail-free turns while attaining some of the day’s top scores. “I’m super stoked to get that first heat out of the way, the waves are super fun and you kind of have nerves coming up before the whole event,” Florence said. “I’m stoked the waves were really fun and that I got to surf there with just four guys out. It’s really a skate park, you stand up and it looks like you can do whatever you want out there. I kind of just go with the flow and things worked out.”
Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, put on arguably the most impressive performance of opening day competition, posting a 9.70 for a huge frontside air-reverse, but a costly interference mistake saw the progressive Australian fail to advance out of Round 1. “My last three events here, I’ve lost because of interference,” Wilson said. “It’s frustrating because the waves are so good. I’m not 100 percent now, but that’s no excuse. It’s hard, it’s my sponsor’s event and you always want to do well for them.”
Glen Hall (IRL), 30, was responsible for a major upset today, eliminating defending Nike Lowers Pro Champion Miguel Pupo (BRA), 20, in a hard-fought Round 1 match up with a flurry of rides unfolding in the dying minutes of the heat. “It’s scary when you’re in the water and hearing scores go down and you knew everyone just took off on a good wave because it’s Trestles,” Hall said. “Every heat’s hard and obviously Pupo is amazing and Kai got his too.”
Evan Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 18, was responsible for an upset of his own, eliminating close friend and local favorite Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, CA), 18, with his Round 1 victory. “Any time you enter a PRIME the heats are always pretty stacked,” Geiselman said. “It’s weird, I’ve been drawing Kolohe (Andino), every event he surfed, I’ve had a heat with him. It’s been fun. That heat was pretty slow and I actually haven’t made it out of a heat in a PRIME yet, so that gives me a bit more confidence for the later rounds.”
Geiselman, who is hungry to join the ASP World Championship Tour for 2013, knows a top performance in the ASP PRIME events this year will be a mandatory key in achieving his success. “If you want to qualify you have to do well in the PRIMES,” Geiselman said. “I’ve had a couple of results in the Star events, and I’m really looking to get a good result in the PRIMES.”
The Nike Lowers Pro holds a waiting period from May 1 through 5, 2012 and will be webcast LIVE at www.nikelowerspro.com. For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org
Nike Lowers Pro Round of 96 Results:
Heat 1: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 13.76, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.56, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.97, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.83
Heat 2: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.16, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 10.50, Jay Quinn (NZL) 10.40, Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.20
Heat 3: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.60, Tim Reyes (USA) 12.84, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.57, Brent Dorrington (AUS) 7.93
Heat 4: Gony Zubizaretta (ESP) 14.60, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 13.94, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 13.54, Nic Von Rupp (DEU) 12.97
Heat 5: Glen Hall (IRL) 14.30, Kai Barger (HAW) 13.94, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.87, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 12.40
Heat 6: Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.73, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 12.63, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 12.20, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 9.57
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.17, Nat Young (USA) 12.04, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 10.67, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 7.20
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) 16.53, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 14.03, Joan Duru (FRA) 11.40, Dean Morrison 11.00
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.03, Cory Lopez (USA) 14.37, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 12.46, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 10.37
Heat 10: Gabe Kling (USA) 14.03, Raoni MOnteiro (BRA) 13.63, Tonino Benson (HAW) 12.67, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 9.60
Heat 11: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 16.77, Adrien Toyon (REU) 15.43, Joel Centeio 14.43, Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 12.34
Heat 12: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 16.10, Jeffrey Lukasik (USA) 14.76, Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.45, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 13.94
Heat 13: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.27, Heath Joske (AUS) 14.27, Chris Ward (USA) 12.76, Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA) 9.00
Heat 14: Charles Martin (GLP) 14.43, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.10, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.93, Maxime Huscenot 10.84