The Hurley Pro and Swatch Women’s Pro, stops No. 8 and 7 respectively on the Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT), got off to an exciting start today in excellent conditions. Competition ran through Round 1 of the men’s event followed by Heats 1 – 5 of the women’s and saw the world’s best take advantage of the perfect surf on offer at Lower Trestles.
Freddy Patacchia (HAW) posted the first Perfect 10 of the Hurley Pro in Round 1 today after lighting up Lower Trestles. The 2009 event winner left the water before the heat’s end with an 18.90 heat total, the highest of the day, to cheers from surfers and fans. Patacchia went on to announce that he is taking a competitive sabbatical from the CT for the remainder of the season after 11 years on tour.
Despite big scores from reigning WSL Champion Gabriel Medina (BRA) and tour veteran Bede Durbidge (AUS) they couldn’t top Patacchia and will surf again in elimination Round 2. The surfer that draws Patacchia in Round 3 will advance directly to Round 4.
“I knew the day would come when I would have to walk away from professional surfing,” said Patacchia. “While this isn’t the end of my surfing career, it’s probably the last time that I’ll compete on the big stage on the Championship Tour. However, I look forward to competing in some Qualifying Series events. I just need to take a step back and cool down. It’s tough to walk away from everyone that has become my family but I’ve lived my dream, and I want to thank everyone who’s played a part in helping me do what I love.”
Jeep ratings leader Adriano de Souza (BRA) battled Michel Bourez (PYF) and wildcard Ian Crane (USA) for a place in Round 3. Scores of 7.67 and a 6.70 were enough the secure the win for De Souza.
“Trestles is extremely important for me, and I did my best to prepare myself for the challenge” De Souza said. “I”m happy to win my first heat but it’s only the first step.”
Three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning (AUS) took to the water in Heat 5 of Round 1. The current world No. 2 matched-up against compatriot Adam Melling (AUS) and wildcard Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), the first ever Japanese surfer to win a WSL Qualifying Series (QS) event. Fanning stormed to victory with two excellent scores, earning a direct advance to Round 3.
“I’ve been preparing here since Friday and it’s been really fun but it also tests your overall fitness,” said Fanning. “It’s an incredibly high-performance wave so you really feel your arms and legs burning.”
11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater (USA) sailed through the opening round of competition, defeating Dusty Payne (HAW) and Jadson Andre (BRA). Slater, who is currently in 6th place on the Jeep Leaderboard, is a six-time winner at Lower Trestles and today’s victory sends him directly to Round 3, bypassing elimination Round 2.
“I think I’ve found a fresh perspective going into the back half of the season,” Slater said. “Even though I’m trailing so far behind at the moment, I believe I’ve still got a shot at the title. I need a good result here so I have to go out there and relax, and not worry.”
Jeremy Flores (FRA), fresh from his win in Tahiti, managed to carry the momentum through to Day 1 of the Hurley Pro. Explosive turns, style and variety, earned him the win over Joel Parkinson (AUS) and Glenn Hall (IRL).
“Surfing without the helmet feels so much better,” said Flores, who had previously worn a helmet while surfing due to a recent head injury. “I’m just so happy to be back here and to get a win in the first Round, which is always great. It’s pretty fun out there but it’s very tiring because you really put all your energy into every turn.”
Round 1 Heat 8 saw a thrilling battle unfold between Kolohe Andino (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS) and Matt Wilkinson (AUS). The trio exchanged solid scores but it was Andino, the San Clemente local, who ultimately prevailed after demonstrating tremendous variety with power turns and aerial maneuvers.
“The waves were incredible out there,” Andino said. “I just tried to remember that I surf here every day and to relax — it feels great to get the win in front of my hometown crowd.”
Italo Ferreira (BRA), the highest ranked rookie on tour, continued his excellent run of form with a strong performance in Round 1 where he took on Hawaiian phenom John John Florence (HAW) and fellow rookie Ricardo Christie (NZL). After a low-scoring start, Ferreira put together a 15.90 heat total for the win.
“I’m so stoked to make my first heat at this event and really enjoying being here,” said Ferreira. “Competing with John John made me raise my game because he’s amazing
Following the conclusion of Round 1 of the Hurley Pro, the world’s best female surfers lit up Lower Trestles for Heats 1 to 5 of the opening Round of the Swatch Women’s Pro.
First up was Lakey Peterson (USA) who put on an impressive performance, including a near-perfect 9.37, to dominate her heat and breeze through to Round 3. The high-scoring bout saw Hawaiians Malia Manuel (HAW) and Alessa Quizon (HAW) each deliver solid heat totals of their own but they couldn’t eclipse the Californian.
“That was on of the best heats in terms of surf that I think I’ve ever had,” said Peterson. “It’s great to be at Lowers — I want to do really well here so I was a little nervous.”
Rookie Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) faced Dimity Stoyle (AUS) and Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in Heat 2 of Round 1. Stoyle held the lead through the opening half of the heat but Weston-Webb came back and built a 15.00 heat total to win her first CT heat at Lower Trestles.
“I feel really confident on my backhand here so I focused on the rights, and I think that made all the difference,” said Weston-Webb. “It’s so wonderful that the women get to compete here so big thanks to the WSL and Swatch for making it happen.”
Courtney Conlogue (USA), current No. 1 on the Jeep Leaderboard, stamped her authority on Heat 3, opening with an excellent 8.17 against Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and wildcard Bethany Hamilton (HAW). Conlogue continued to unleash her power surfing to claim back-to-back 8-point rides and close the bout with an impressive 9.17.
“It’s amazing to be here and I can’t believe the swell that we’ve got at this event,” said Conlogue. “Wearing the Jeep Leader Jersey is amazing, but there are still four events and Carissa is right behind me, so I have to focus on my game plan.”
13-year-old injury wildcard Caroline Marks (USA) matched-up against two-time WSL Champion and current world No. 2 Carissa Moore (HAW) and Silvana Lima (BRA) in Round 1 Heat 4. Marks, who received a last-minute place in the Swatch Women’s Pro after defending event winner and reigning six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) withdrew from the competition due to injury, made her CT debut today. Moore looked confident and remained dominant throughout the heat. Her 18.36 heat total, the highest of the women’s competition, sends her through to Round 3 while Marks and Lima will surf again in Round 2.
“I’m trying to focus on myself rather than focus on the points or the title race,” said Moore. “I grew up surfing competitions here so it’s a really special place for me.”
The final heat of the day saw Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA) and Coco Ho (HAW) battle it out. The bout came down to the wire and, after several lead changes, Fitzgibbons claimed victory with a heat-high 8.27 in the final seconds.
“It’s shaping up to be a really exciting title race with quite a few of us in contention,” said Fitzgibbons. “Having been on tour for a number of years now I’m really enjoying those battles and they really get me inspired to perform at my best.”