The day kicked off with the women's competition and a composed Dimity Stoyle (AUS) stirred the underdog crowd with a big upset over Hawaiian Coco Ho. Stoyle hadn't been able to make it out of Round 2 since the first event of the year, but she looked poised and confident in the overhead set waves, earning an excellent-range score (8.00 or higher) and connected precision cutbacks on her final wave. The performance was a big Hail Mary, giving her the score she needed to advance after the final horn sounded.
Sage Erickson (USA) was another of the women who found a fresh spark at Lowers. Coming into the event, she had yet to avoid a last-place finish since her return to the elite Tour this year. But with fins-free attacks on the lip, Erickson toppled World No. 8 Malia Manuel (HAW) to advance out of Round 2 for the first time this season.
"Confidence is such an important part of this sport and it's been a tough year for me," Erickson said. "Being in first place on the Qualifying Series really helps and performing in front of my home crowd with my family here feels good too. I'm really excited about Round 3."
In the men's competition, some of the underdogs had moments in the sun as well. Glenn Hall (AUS) was one of those yeoman of the Tour who needed a big win in a big way -- and the odds were against him. He was pitted against progressive wunderkind John John Florence (HAW) who had six rides in the nine-point range in last year's contest, five of which were in the same heat.
But Hall, who doubles as surf coach, was even-keeled. He put two midrange scores on the board, raising the bar when Florence answered back. In a surprise for some fans, Hall surged ahead and defeated the high-flying Florence, who seemed fizzled out himself. Hall's upset saw him advance into Round 3 for the first time since the Australian contests at the start of the season.
While it wasn't unusual to see Hall in Round 2, few fans suspected that Filipe Toledo (BRA), who won the Qualifying Series event at Lowers earlier this year, would be relegated to the first elimination round. Being the highest-ranked surfer in Round 2, he matched up with local wildcard Ian Crane (USA).
Earlier in the day, Toledo had credited his opponent with being better acquainted with the break at Trestles, and Crane was quick to prove it when he threw down a 9.10. But just when defeat seemed imminent, Toledo found his footing to land a full air-rotation for an 8.50, and the heat win.
"Winning on the last wave is definitely the Brazilian style and that's how I like it," Toledo said. "I keep believing until I hear the horn and never give up."
California's Nat Young (USA) was also able to shake off recent setbacks. Coming off of his worst finish of the year, a 25th-place at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, he looked confident in the lineup. After putting a solid score on the board, Young went to his playbook and stuck with what he's been doing best all year, connecting a dramatic lip attack with two progressive finishing maneuvers for a 9.43. It was the highest score of Day 2, and the second-highest of the event so far after Freddy Patacchia's perfect 10.
"This year I just want to take it event by event rather than focus on where I finish," Young said. "I'm coming off a bad result in Tahiti so this event I want to surf my best and see where that takes me."
The Hurley Pro and Swatch Women's Pro will stream LIVE here and on the WSL App daily. Tune in for Dawn Patrol at 7:30 a.m. local time for a full analysis of Day 2 and a look at the big matchups on deck.