Above: Day four photos from jackenglish.com
Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro: Day 4 Highlights
The spectacular surfing continued today at Lower Trestles, as the surf continued to fire despite concerns that the swell was beginning to dissipate. Rippable chest to head high walls stood up along the cobblestone point, and as the crowds began to thicken it was evident the weekend was approaching and we were nearing the business end of the draw.
Handing out jerseys to the competitors all week has given me an up close and personal look at how each of the surfers prepares for their heats, and a little insight into their mindset as they get ready to hit the water. Most guys are rocking their headphones, listening to their music of choice to set their focus, and either talking with their coaches about strategies or doing some form of warm-up workout routine. The competitors area is all bros and high fives, especially the Brazilian corner where the camaraderie is thick, which may help explain why they have had such a solid showing this year, but when it comes time for their heat, each competitor gets locked into their headphones and goes on "me against the world" mode. It's basically all friends until they hit the water, then it's time to get serious, and today it was about serious ripping.
The Oakley Pro Jr. got underway in fine form this morning, showcasing the talents of the future stars of the surf world. Seaside Pro Jr. Champ Evan Geiselman set the level in the first heat of the morning with crisp backside tail-drifting snaps and clean frontside air reverses, displaying his versatility in the perfect conditions. Santa Barbara's Conner Coffin was impressive as well, surfing with solid rail carves and fluid style to advance behind defending event champion Andrew Doheny. Other worthy performances came from Santa Cruz star Nat Young, Hawaii's Keanu Asing, and La Jolla's Jacob Halstead. But as the Oakley Pro Jr. Quarterfinals lined up, a super stacked heat came together including World Junior Champ Jack Freestone, who nailed a big air reverse in the closing seconds to oust Geiselman and finish second to overall event superstar, Kolohe Andino.
"Brother" has been in devastating form all week, finally pulling on his Oakley Pro Jr. jersey after blitzing the Nike 6.0 Pro event the last few days. His early 4th Round heat (non-elimination 3 man heats where 1st goes straight to the Quarters) in the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro continued where he left off from yesterday, wearing the MVP yellow jersey due to his stalefish air reverse in his 3rd Round heat against Dusty Payne. "I'm really amped to have made the Quarters," said Kolohe. "It's great to be surfing against all of these (WCT) guys. But I really feel that heat against Dusty was the best heat of my life, I'll remember that one forever. I'm just so stoked Mother Nature has been working with me and I keep getting good waves, but I still just have to take it one heat at a time." At just 17-years of age, it's hard to believe the veteran competitive mindset he is carrying into these heats, but the progressive surfing is a quick reminder of the power of his youth.
Another incredible performer, and currently the only undefeated surfer left in the event, San Clemente local Tanner Gudauskas has been on a rampage this week. His familiarity with the Lowers lineup is an advantage, but not as big of a factor as his positive outlook. "I kept looking for the lefts, but just ended up in position on that right and it worked out well for me, the rights seem to be treating me well," stated Tanner. "My whole vibe this event has just been to have as much fun as possible, not thinking about points or anything, just going down being psyched to get amongst it, and it's great having all of the boys around to keep it positive for me. The level at this event has been incredible, it's fun to be a part of it, I'm frothing!" If "treating me well" is how he wants to define explosive vertical combinations of backside lippers I guess he is allowed to be humble about his performance, since his surfing isn't just doing the talking, it's yelling it across the beach.
But the Brazilian contingent is still in force, with Junior Faria defeating two of his countrymen for a spot in the Quarters. "I'm just looking for the rights and am focused on my first turn, making sure I go big on my first trick since I know that's what the judges and the fans want to see, then from there just finish my wave off. This is my best result ever so this is really going to help my rating this year," he explained. Also winning his 3-man heat was Miguel Pupo, with impressive frontside air reverses and smooth surfing. "My plan was just to go for it, to go big and win so I could go straight through to the Quarters, and that's what happened for me so I'm stoked!" He continued "I was looking for the rights but so were Thiago (Camarao) and Timmy (Reyes), so the lefts were just empty and open for me so I took advantage of it and it ended up working out."
Tomorrow will finish up the final day of the event for both the Nike 6.0 Pro and the Oakley Pro Jr., and we will see if Kolohe can maintain the blazing form he has displayed all week, and make it another double win in the Junior and Pro events like he did at the recent Vans Pier Classic in HB. See you in the morning, Brother.—Zach Keenan
Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro Non-Elimination Round of 12 Results:
Heat 1: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.83, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.54, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.14
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.70, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.70, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.26
Heat 3: Junior Faria (BRA) 13.20, William Cardoso (BRA) 12.50, Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) Tim Reyes (USA) 12.80, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 10.80
Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro Elimination Round of 12:
Heat 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.60 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.23
Heat 2: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.53 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.97
Heat 3: Thiago Camarao (BRA) 16.93 def. William Cardoso (BRA) 13.57
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.50 def. Timmy Reyes (USA) 9.33
Oakley Pro Junior Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Dylan Goodale (HAW) 10.77, Tayler Brothers (USA) 9.97, Luke Davis (USA) 9.17, Taylor Thorne (USA) 8.07
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.10, Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.00, Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.06, Doug Van Mierlo (USA) 9.86
Heat 3: Nat Young (USA) 14.00, Andrew Doheny (USA) 12.53, Dane Zaun (USA) 10.26, Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.63
Heat 4: Keanu Asing (HAW) 12.60, Conner Coffin (USA) 10.63, Victor Done (USA) 10.14, Jacob Halstead (USA) 6.87
Oakley Pro Junior Round of 32 Results:
Heat 3: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.66, Taylor Thorne (USA) 13.50, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 12.30, Albee Layer (HAW) 8.27
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.73, Dylan Goodale (HAW) 11.07, Kaito Ohashi (JPN) 10.04, Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 5.80
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) 14.56, Victor Done (USA) 11.27, Colin Moran (USA) 8.73, Nick Rupp (USA) 8.63
Heat 6: Andrew Doheny (USA) 11.84, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.17, Dylan Kowalski (USA) 9.74, Ian Crane (USA) 9.67
Heat 7: Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.27, Dane Zaun (USA) 6.83, Chase Wilson (USA) 6.34, Balaram Stack (USA) 6.07
Heat 8: Jake Halstead (USA) 14.04, Fredirico Morias (PRT) 13.63, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.00, Nathan Carvalho (HAW) 10.43
Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro
ASP PRIME Event (Men's)
Oakley Pro Junior
ASP 5-Star (Men's)
San Clemente, California / USA
May 3 – 7, 2011