The thing that stuck out to me the most today at Lower Trestles for the 6-Star Prime rated Nike 6.0 Pro was how much better the WCT guys are than the your standard, mid-level WQS'ers. Dream Tour dudes that you may never have heard of, France's Tim Boal for instance, made their competition look slow and uninspired. Not to say some of the guys who don't dream about a tour weren't blowing up, Mitch Coleborn, Evan Valiere, Rob Machado, Nat Young, and particularly Nate Yeomans (who had just arrived home from South Africa) were holding it down for the QS crew. With a fresh southwest swell brewing, the surf at Lowers should be firing tomorrow; make sure to log on to http://www.nikelowerspro.com/ tomorrow and watch the action live!
Mitch Coleborn. Photo: Straley
SAN CLEMENTE, California (Wednesday, April 29, 2009) – The second day of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star PRIME 6.0 Lowers Pro offered improved two-to-three foot (1 metre) conditions to the event's top seeds and saw Lower Trestles local Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 27, lead the field through to Round 3.
All surfers competing in the ASP 6-Star PRIME 6.0 Lowers Pro are looking to capitalize on the ample ratings points on offer at the premier event. The ASP WQS contest's PRIME status offers the maximum amount of ratings points towards each surfers qualification campaigns for the coveted ASP World Tour, making the stop at Lower Trestles significant for each surfer's 2009 overall rating on The Grind.
Yeomans put his local knowledge of Lower Trestles to good use when he destroyed a long righthand wall with several beyond-vertical blasts to post the day's highest single wave score of a 9.47 out of 10. The talented goofy-footer continued to dominate his heat when he bashed another impressive score and earned the day's highest heat total of 18.24 out of 20.
"I was actually positioning myself for the left because I saw everyone scrambling for the right and I was able to get underneath them," Yeomans said. "I knew it was going to be a nice right, and I was able to get a couple of good turns and it had a nice wall so I was able to ride it all the way through. I knew it was going to be a good score, so when I heard the 9-point-score, I was like, yeah, I like that!"
The San Clemente native is hoping that he can utilize his familiarity of the cobblestone reef to post a top result at the 6.0 Lowers Pro. Yeomans has had a successful competitive history at previous ASP WQS events at the location in past years and is out to capitalize on the contest's ASP 6-Star PRIME status to help his cause towards qualification for the ASP Dream Tour.
"I've yet to make the Final out here and I had a bad event here last year, but I made the Semifinals the two years before that," Yeomans said. "It's always been a good event for me and now that it's a 6-Star PRIME, it really counts for qualification for the World Tour. It's definitely one of everyone's favorite places to surf, so I'm glad that it's a 6-Star PRIME."
Adriano de Souza (Guaruja Sao Paulo, BRA), 22, displayed world-class surfing today at Lower Trestles, explaining why the young Brazilian is a top competitor on the ASP Dream Tour. The explosive regular-footer issued several critical backhand turns on two steep Lowers walls to earn one of the day's highest single-wave scores of a 9.33 out of 10. De Souza's precise backhand attack on his next wave helped him attain an impressive heat total of 17.83 out of 20 while advancing confidently in to Round 3.
"The conditions are a little bit small, but it's still really good," De Souza said. "I've been surfing Trestles everyday and to surf there with only three other guys out is great. Luckily, I was able to grab the two best waves in that heat, so I'm stoked."
The San Clemente, California transplant permanently moved to the famous surf-town from his home in Brazil and his impressive performance at his new home-break shows that De Souza has been spending his fare share of time at Lower Trestles.
"I moved here in January, just in time for the cold," De Souza said. "It's freezing and right now it's not proper Lowers, but I've learned a lot of things about Trestles that I didn't know before."
2009 is De Souza's fourth year on the ASP World Tour and he definitely noticed a big difference in competing in the four-man ASP WQS setup versus the man-on-man competition that he has become familiar with.
"The 'QS and World Tour events are so different," De Souza said. "Going from the man-on-man format with priority to a four-man heat feels like madness, especially at low tide Trestles, when there's not a lot of waves, but it's still good and it's a good warm-up for me for Tahiti since there are so many good guys in the contest."
Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 17, who is a wildcard in the 6.0 Lowers Pro, displayed some of the most progressive backside surfing in the event when he blasted the day's second-highest single wave score of an amazing 9.43 out of 10 on a Lowers right. The goofy-footer did a massive backside reverse on his opening maneuver and followed the wave through to the inside to earn the score.
Ben Bourgeois (Wrightsville Beach, NC), 30, won the 6.0 Lowers Pro last year when the event was an ASP 4-Star contest, and was back in top form again today. The East Coaster convincingly won his Round 2 heat when he blasted a 17.26 out of 20 heat total.
"I got off to a good start and got a seven." Bourgeois said. "It kind of takes some pressure off when you get a good one off of the bat because you can relax a little bit more. I got a pretty good right and knew I could start to stay away from the rest of the guys. That's the kind of heat that I really wanted to have out there and it doesn't always go that way, so it was nice."
Competition is no longer the main focus for the former ASP Dream Tour surfer, but Bourgeois is still reveling in the top-level competition at the 6.0 Lowers Pro.
"I'm only doing events in the states this year and have just been traveling," Bourgeois said. "It's killer that this event is here though. I live in Carlsbad now, so it's right in my backyard and it's good to be surfing with these guys on their level because there are so many good guys in this event."
Tomorrow's action will see Round 3 run in its entirety before kicking off the opening round of the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior.
The opening Round of 48 heat will see ASP World Tour surfer Fred Patacchia (North Shore, HI), 27, Orange County standout Micah Byrne (Huntington Beach, CA), 27, Brazilian William Cardoso (BRA) and San Clemente local and ASP World Tour surfer Chris Ward (San Clemente, CA), 30, take to the water at 8am local time. For all of the LIVE action log on to www.nike6lowerspro.com
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org
6.0 Lowers Pro Round of 96 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 5: Damien Hobgood (USA) 13.60, Simao Romao (BRA) 12.26, Stuart Kennedy (AUS) 11.13, Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 10.17
Heat 6: Eric Geiselman (USA) 14.23, Dylan Graves (PRI) 13.93, Marco Polo (BRA) 11.93, Leigh Sedley (AUS) 8.67
Heat 7: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 14.84, Evan Valiere (HAW) 13.83, Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.46, Kirk Flintoff (AUS) 9.47
Heat 8: Tim Boal (FRA) 12.93, Mike Losness (USA) 8.47, Casey Brown (HAW) 8.43, T.J. Barron (HAW) 8.37
Heat 9: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.73, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 15.43, Shaun Ward (USA) 13.80, Federico Pilurzu (CRI) 13.80
Heat 10: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.17, Neco Padaratz (BRA) 13.13, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 10.97, Kieran Horn (USA) 7.23
Heat 11: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.43, Jay Thompson (AUS) 11.03, Warwick Wright (ZAF) 8.17, Teppei Tajima (JPN) 8.15
Heat 12: Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 12.73, Flynn Novak (HAW) 9.70, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 9.33, Matt King (USA) 7.02
Heat 13: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17.83, Gavin Gillette (HAW) 14.77, Paul Fisher (AUS) 14.53, Brad Ettinger (USA) 12.04
Heat 14: Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.20, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 11.92, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 11.14, Evan Geiselman (USA) 8.95
Heat 15: Ben Bourgeois (USA) 17.26, Charlie Brown (BRA) 13.43, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 12.53, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 10.77
Heat 16: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.17, Torrey Meister (HAW) 12.33, Cory Lopez (USA) 11.83, Dustin Barca (HAW) 7.73
Heat 17: Taylor Knox (USA) 14.77, Marcio Farney (BRA) 14.50, Kai Barger (HAW) 12.90, Luke Cheadle (AUS) 9.17
Heat 18: Austin Ware (USA) 16.83, Brett Simpson (USA) 12.70, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 12.23, Jason Miller (USA) 10.53
Heat 19: Rob Machado (USA) 14.53, Daniel Ross (AUS) 11.30, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 8.83, Ola Eleogram (HAW) 3.66
Heat 20: Dane Reynolds (USA) 17.07, Chris Waring (USA) 16.97, Anthony Petruso (USA) 10.42, Parrish Byrne (AUS) 9.77
Heat 21: Nat Young (USA) 17. 76, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 16.40, Ricky Whitlock (USA) 11.16, Darrell Goodrum (USA) 10.20
Heat 22: Alain Riou (PYF) 13.67, Luke Dorrington (AUS) 13.23, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 12.17, Hank Gaskell (HAW) 11.10
Heat 23: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 18.24, Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.00, Jesse Heilman (USA) 12.40, Sean Moody (HAW) 9.00
Heat 24: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.67, Marcelo Trekinho (BRA) 11.54, Tonino Benson (HAW) 8.36, Shea Lopez (USA) 12.20