World Championship Tour wildcards usually have a snowball's chance in hell of getting past their opponents. Although on day 1 of the Hurley Pro Lower Trestles, wildcard surfers Tanner Gudauskas and Carlos Munoz must not have gotten the memo regarding their underdog status. The two hail from different countries, got into the event through different paths, and don't surf anything alike, but one thing they did have in common Thursday at Lowers was giant-killer status.
“I can't believe how everything happened,” said an elated Carlos Munoz. The first Costa Rican to surf in a World Championship Tour (WCT) event, Munoz was matched up against current world No. 1 Gabriel Medina, and tour veteran Adam Melling. A last minute ride saw Munoz—the winner of the Hurley video trials—bag a win over the seemingly unstoppable Medina and more experienced Melling. "I heard everybody screaming [dozens of frenzied Costa Ricans lined the beach during his heat], and I knew I needed a score. I gave my heart to that last one, so I’m glad the judges liked it. I can’t believe it! When I heard the score, I started crying,” said an emotional Carlos Munoz in his post-heat interview. Expect an even more vocal and psyched pack of Ticos on the beach when Carlos surfs again in Round 3.
"It's a good feeling to win but there was definitely an element of luck out there," said Tanner Gudauskas, downplaying his win over six-time Lowers winner and 11-time world champion Kelly Slater. The winner of a local trials event, Gudauskas was appreciative of his vocal hometown fans. "That was fun, and I'm stoked on the result. It's unbelievable to be here and have so much support," said the San Clemente, California, native in a post-heat interview. For his efforts, Gudauskas advanced straight into Round 3 of the Hurley Pro. Kelly Slater will be relegated to Round 2, where a second place finish would be a serious blow to his 12th world title hopes.
Word on the beach was that the Swatch Women's Pro could wrap up Friday, with the men eyeing a swell that's forecast to hit early next week. With 2014 ASP world title drama mounting and wildcards rampaging through the field, the Hurley Pro Lower Trestles is set to be one of the best contests we've seen in these parts in ages. Watch all the action live at www.aspworldtour.com.
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