The 2003 Foster’s Cup–held April 22—26 at Lower Trestles in San Clemente, California–attracted over 200 competitors, ranging from local hometown heroes to top amateurs and WCT surfers alike. Lowers is highly regarded as one of California’s most contest-friendly waves. The fact that a prime World Championship Tour (WCT) event runs every year in September just goes to show the true quality and standard Lowers is known for.
This year, the springtime waves ranged from three- to five-foot wind swell combined with either very mixed-up or light, glassy winds–perfect for incredible high-performance surfing. Days two and three held the best-quality conditions for competition. As the week trudged along, the waves became smaller and more inconsistent. By the final day, the swell had subsided to one to three feet with very long lulls making it difficult to keep up wave count–crucial in some heats.
At any event there are always the favorites, whether it be a WCT guy, NSSA champion, a former event winner, or the local guy who just shits on everyone in the water. This year had them all.
In semi number one, the surfers were Tim Reyes and Shane Beschen (both from California), and Kaipo Jaquias and Joel Centeio representing Barbers Point on the island of O‘ahu. With all surfers accumulating wave scores over eight points in previous heats, who would be the true standout in this one was impossible to predict. An all-regular-foot affair made the heat very exciting to watch. Beschen and Centeio started the match off early with high scores and good rhythm and controlled the first part of the heat. Just past the halfway point, Jaquias slaughtered a wave to bits and looked to be back in the hunt. But with the waves still very inconsistent, it was hard for Reyes and Jaquias to keep things close, and they finished third and fourth respectively.[IMAGE 1]
In semi two, it was Nate Yeomans and Chris Ward from San Clemente, Ben Bourgeois representing North Carolina, and frequent Lowers ripper and the ever-so-smooth Roy Powers out of Kaua‘i. Wardo was on fire and never looked back. He was going for broke–you could see it in his surfing and was reflected in his scores. The real battle was for the number-two spot in the final. A fast and fluid Powers, needing a five in the last minute, took out Yeomans and Bourgeois with a left and sealed it with a well-surfed 6.5. “I remember that left,” said Powers. “I got it at the end of the heat, and it proved to be the difference.”
The final consisted of two Hawai‘ians and two Californians. Shane Beschen and Chris Ward are two of California’s best high-performance surfers, with countless hours of experience at the cobble-rock point. They were up against two of Hawai‘i’s rising stars–Roy Powers from Hanalei, Kaua‘i and Joel Centeio from Makakilo on O‘ahu. From the start, Wardo was unfortunately unable to get the right waves and looked a little out of rhythm–he finished with a strong fourth place. Powers surfed exceptionally well, pulling off the most technical moves of the final–a lightning-quick backside reverse off the top on a left and a flawless frontside double grab on a right. With them he earned third overall and gained an early boost for this year’s WQS ratings. Joel Centeio proved that he is a true force to be reckoned with–don’t be fooled by his smile. His second final this year, with the first one in ten- to fifteen-foot waves at Pipeline. Centeio destroyed Lowers rights with his patented frontside carves from takeoff to kick out. He also lit up the wedging lefts and finished this year in second.[IMAGE 2]
Eventual winner Shane Beschen blew up. He showed that he was the best surfer of the final by killing it from start to finish. The turning point of the heat was when he took off on a nice right set, went straight uup, threw the tail out sideways with ease and control, and proceeded to link his turns all the way to the beach. The end result was a nine-point ride and the 2003 Foster’s Cup. With the win, Beschen jumped into the lead of this year’s WQS ratings and looks great for the 2004 WCT.–Shibats