What were your expectations going into to the Hurley and Swatch Pros at Lower Trestles? Finals between John John Florence and Kelly Slater? A Brazilian airshow? Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue battling for the yellow jersey? How about something simple like say… wild-cards bowing out after 2 surf sessions?
If you expected predictable, and much of the same….that familiarity you get comfortable with coming out of San Clememte CA, your surfing world as you know it just got scrambled! Expect the unexpected, that old cliche you always hear but never amounts to much, rang loud and true Here at Lower Trestles. That high performance wave that brings us together to ring in the Southern California Autumns gave us something very different this year.
In the Swatch Womens Pro, there was only one small bit of consistency, Tyler Wright winning. And winning, and winning. Not a surprise right? Well that where the shred of normalcy ends. How she got there made it fun. Lets review! Round one Tyler Puts up a whopping score of 8.43, lucky for her, round one isn’t an elimination round. But round two…Bethany Hamilton is waiting, you the one the sent Tyler home on her way to a crazy semi-finals finish in Fiji. A huge crowd favorite, but Tyler is dialed in and advances. Meanwhile, Carissa Moore, Courtney Conlogue, Tatiana Weston-Webb, Sally Fitzgibbons are all being taken out! Your rankings just became irrelevant!
The semi-finals gave us both something new and also a bit of a trip back in time. The first semi would be not only a battle of will but a battle with mother nature between Tyler Wright and Sage Erickson, who surfed in every heat of the event. Coming off winning the Pantin classic in Spain that was delayed by fog, Sage had to be practically overnighted to California in hopes that she wouldnt miss her opening heat. Sage would come to Trestles as the giant killer. Fresh off her big win she hopped off the plane and proceeded to take out Lakey Peterson, Tatiana Weston-Webb, and Johanne Defay, after a shark delay! All three were considered favorites, and I am pretty sure those three young ladies wished Sage would have found a flight delay somewhere between Spain and California. Yes, Tyler prevailed but only after Sage gave here one of her toughest battles of the year. 14.60 to Sage’s 14.17 would be the slim margin that sent Tyler to the finals and end Sage’s wild ride.
The second semi would see yet another unfamiliar face this far into a contest as well and something of a throwback as Nikki Van Dijk and Steph Gilmore battled for the right to face…Wright! Both had been on fire throughout, and Gilmore maybe the hottest having already knocked out Courtney Conlogue and Carissa Moore, something that is rarely done in one contest by one person. Steph Gilmore would continue to march to the finals, and even though Nikki battled, she didnt have the gas too keep up.
The all Aussie finals gave us a great showdown, and in some ways possibly signaled the official passing of the torch from Stephanie Gilmore to Tyler Wright. It was very much earned by Tyler as she was pushed by Steph’s amazing 9.13 wave. Tyler came up with the big scores to close it out and prove she is the new standard bearer for Australia.
The Hurley Pro was every bit as crazy! The top four ranked surfers were gone halfway through the contest bowing out to wild cards, one of which, San Clemente local Tanner Gudauskas found his way to the semi finals! To say the crowds were vocal and intense would be an understatement. The race to the world title was blown open at The Hurley Pro, and it looks like it will be a wild race to the top with much of the top ten more than capable and still in the running.
The first semi-final would be an all star match-up between Jordy Smith and Filipe Toledo. Both surfers came in scorching hot as Jordy got the better of Brett Simpson in the quarter finals and Filipe Toledo survived a wild wave for wave affair with Kelly Slater. Jordy would carve and hack his way to a big score of 17.23. With the wave being inconsitant, Filipe would not find the wave he needed to answer back and would bow out in the semis after giving everyone on the beach a great show.
The next semi-final would feature Joel Parkinson, who as everyone know is no stranger to success here at Lower Trestles. His counterpart in the heat also know a little about the area as this is his home break. Tanner Gudauskas ripped though the Hurley pro as a wildcard, but he but he definitely looked like he belonged here and surfed with no fear as friends and family lined the beach for his heats. Parko would find a way to slip past Tanner into the finals by the super slim margin of .10!
The mens finals would hold true what we have seen the entire contest….you dont know what you are going to get. Jordy got started quickly taking wave after wave and scoring progressively higher while Parko chose to play the waiting game. As a matter of fact it almost seemed like Parko was giving the heat away, and finally after more than half of the time in the heat had elapsed, he struck. Once he started to find the waves he wanted he sent Jordy scrambling to finish him off. Jordy would finish off the heat and claim victory at the Hurley Pro, slipping past Joel Parkinson, scoring a 15.80 to Parko’s 15.36.
Looks like the men’s world title chase has been blown up and is wide open, while on the women’s side we are watching a shift in power within the rankings while Tyler Wright runs away from the crowd.
As we leave Trestles would this have been the contest and results that you expected??