It's the dawning of a new tour. One that includes only 32 surfers (36 if you count the wildcards), a brand new format, and a World Title race that's tighter than the pockets of every CEO in America. My FASL team took a complete tailspin in Tahiti. Picks I thought were solid turned out to be as surprisingly pitiful as the waves at Chopes. But hey, a win is a win for the likes of Andy Irons, hot on the comeback trail.
2009 World Champ Mick Fanning didn't win an event ’til he won the biggest prize purse in surfing history last September at the Hurley Pro Lower Trestles. That should give you an idea of how up for grabs the World Title is. With Andy's first win on tour since the 2007 Rip Curl Pro Search, he's put himself into the top ten, number seven to be specific. And in case you forgot, remember that blazing semifinals appearance he put up at Lowers this spring during the 6.0 Lowers Pro?
That event saw the demolition of Lowers lips by many a World Tour competitor—CJ Hobgood, Dane Reynolds, Jordy Smith, Adriano de Souza, Owen Wright, Ace Buchan, Chris Davidson, and more all tore the place apart. Let us not forget that Kelly has put himself only 250 points behind Jordy Smith. Taj is sitting at number three and last year's champ Mick Fanning is quietly holding down the six spot—a very dangerous man. Lowers is a good proving grounds for determining who can start distancing themselves from the pack.
But to start pulling away it will be done under a brand new format. With the 36-man draw everyone will be surfing more heats, which means it'll be a better representation of who's on top of their game each day the contest runs. Here's the finalized heat draws:
HURLEY PRO at TRESTLES ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Dane Reynolds (USA), Chris Davidson (AUS), Luke Munro (AUS)
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS), Taylor Knox (USA), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Gabe Kling (USA)
Heat 5: Jordy Smith (ZAF), Kai Otton (AUS), Rob Machado (USA)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA), Luke Stedman (AUS), Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 7: Bede Durbidge (AUS), Jeremy Flores (FRA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
Heat 8: Bobby Martinez (USA), Michel Bourez (PYF), Daniel Ross (AUS)
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA), Jadson Andre (BRA), Dusty Payne (HAW)
Heat 10: Andy Irons (HAW), Tiago Pires (PRT), Tom Whitaker (AUS)
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS), Owen Wright (AUS), Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 12: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Damien Hobgood (USA), Kieren Perrow (AUS)
And here's what the new format looks like:
ASP WORLD TOUR 36-MAN FORMAT:
Round 1: 12 three-man heats, 1st advances to Round 3, 2nd and 3rd to Round 2
Round 2: 12 man-on-man heats, 1st to Round 3, 2nd is Equal 25th place
Round 3: 12 man-on-man heats, 1st to Round 4, 2nd is Equal 13th place
Round 4: Four 3-man heats, 1st advances to Quarterfinals, 2nd and 3rd to Round 5
Round 5: Four man-on-man heats, 1st advances to Quarterfinals, 2nd is Equal 9th
Quarterfinals: Four man-on-man heats, 1st advances to Semifinals, 2nd is Equal 5th
Semifinals: Two man-on-man heats, 1st advances to Finals, 2nd is Equal 3rd
Final: One man-on-man heat, 1st and 2nd
Just like last year, this year's Hurley Lowers Pro will play a huge role in how the rest of the season plays out. Less surfers, more surfing, and tons of excitement to be coming from Lowers again this year.—Ryan Brower
The holding period for the 2010 Hurley Lowers Pro is September 12-18 and can be seen live at hurley.com/hurleypro/live.cfm. Plus stay tuned to transworldsurf.com for exclusive coverage of the entire event as we get out of the office for a few days and explore our favorite backyard wave.
If you haven’t gotten your Fantasy Action Sports League team squared away yet what the hell are you waiting for? Check out our editor’s picks below and here’s some useful tools to get the most out of your team:
Surfer’s FASL performances: fantasyactionsportsleague.com/surf/athletes
ASP World Title Rankings: aspworldtour.com/rankings/asp-mens-world-ranking/
Chris Coté, Editor In Chief
Winner: Dane Reynolds—he nearly won did it last year and will for sure do it this year.
Best Rookie Performance: Pat G will flair up at home.
Shocker: Hurley CEO Bob Hurley will up the prize money to $250,000.
Casey Koteen, Managing Editor
Winner: Jordy Smith. The big guy is feeling it, and is ready to go into a world title race with his childhood hero, Kelly Slater.
Best Rookie Performance: Tanner Gu…, oh wait. I think the lone Gudang on tour, Pat, is going to post his second good result of 2010.
Shocker: A shark sighting will clear the water ala J-Bay
Aaron Checkwood, Photo Editor
Winner: Mick Fanning. The winner is gonna surf a lot of heats with a lot of turns and Mick's the consistent man to do it.
Best Rookie Performance: Matt Wilkinson. He seems to be gaining confidence fast—especially after J-Bay. He has a very strong backhand that suits the rights well.
Shocker: Waves AND good weather.
Justin Coté, Online Editor
Winner: Mick Fanning. White Lightning has been so close all year, it will finally come together at Lower Trestles where his patented frontside hack will get him a win.
Best Rookie Performance: Jadson Andre is gonna look like a late 80s Christian Fletcher with all the airs he's going to be doing on the lefts at Lowers.
Shocker: California will break out of it's "Bummer Summer" and the sun will shine on upon perfect conditions at Lower Trestles.
Ryan Brower, Editorial Assistant
Winner: Dane Reynolds. He was in the final last year and went mental at the 6.0 Pro earlier this year. Jadson and Jordy got their first tour victories at home, and Dane will finally get his first tour victory at the closest stop to his home.
Best Rookie Performance: Pat Gudauskas. He rodeo flipped his way to staying on tour at Teahupoo and Lowers is his homebreak—he will avenge Tanner's falling off the tour.
Shocker: Not quite a shocker after their performances earlier this year at Lowers, but AI and Chris Davidson are going to go deep into this event.
Jeff Baldwin, Former World Tour Surfer And Current TW SURF Sales Turkey
Winner: Andy Irons on momentum/confidence/boards. Look for Chris Davidson though as a dark horse to win.
Best Rookie Performance: Adam Melling (if they don't overscore Jadson Andre's one trick airs).
Shocker: Adriano because he's the only guy in the top that hasn't had one this year.