Hurley Pro at Trestles

Drama Builds, Field Narrows at Lower Trestles

Paula Lehman

Highlights: Ups, Downs and More in Round 3
High action matched high drama as the world's best completed another full day of competition at the Hurley Pro and the Swatch Women's Pro.

Condensed Heat Recaps: Men's | Women's
Heat Analyzers: Men's | Women's
Recap: Men's Round 1 & Women's Round 1 (Heats 1-5) | Women's Rounds 1 (Heat 6) and 2 & Men's Round 2 (Heats 1-10)
Full Results: Men's | Women's

Day three of action at the Hurley Pro and Swatch Women's Pro was all about the drama, from tough calls to surprise success.

The day opened with an interference called on Sebastian "Seabass" Zietz (HAW) on a rare technicality. He had been tearing through his Round 2 heat against Tahitian Michel Bourez, breaking into the excellent range (8.00 or above) twice.

But when the final horn sounded, Bourez was up on a Hail Mary, last-ditch effort. Though Zietz had priority at the end of the heat, he lost it when the heat ended. So when he stood up in front of Bourez, the judges determined that he impeded his opponent's opportunity to turn the heat and called an interference. With his second keeper-score eliminated, Zietz was forced out of the contest.

Seabass INT Explained
WSL Commissioner Kieren Perrow explains why Sebastian Zietz received an interference at the end of Round 2, Heat 11.

More drama unfolded as the men's competition went into Round 3, but in a much more magnificent way as conditions at Lowers continued to deliver. Bourez came up against Filipe Toledo (BRA), who suffered some tough losses of his own in recent contests. But the Brazilian, true to the type of form he showed off at the Oi Rio Pro in May, set off fireworks. He went for rotations early on and finally went flying for a heat-winning 9.77.

"I was out of the water for two weeks after Tahiti with an elbow injury, but after my performance yesterday I got my focus and momentum back," Toledo said.

Return of Toledo
Filipe Toledo punts a full rotation air and follows it up with a heavy carve for a 9.77 in Round 3.

Round 3 of men's competition also saw a rare early elimination for World Title contender Julian Wilson (AUS). Ranked fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard, Wilson was one of the favorites to win the Hurley Pro. But his opponent, Brazilian Miguel Pupo, has been tearing up the lineup at Lowers with progressive maneuvers and a powerful vertical attack.

Pupo pulled ahead early, his midrange scores holding with Wilson in rare form and unable to manifest any keeper scores. Since current rankings leader Adriano de Souza (BRA) advanced out of Round 3, Wilson's early exit cuts the Brazilian's competition for the yellow jersey in half, bringing him one step closer to hanging on to the No. 1 spot.

The women's Jeep Leader Courtney Conlogue (USA) took another step toward retaining the No. 1 spot as well, defeating Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) in non-elimination Round 3. In spite of the caliber of her opponents' performances, Conlogue comboed the field, which forces the other surfers to find two new scores to catch up. She earned a nine-point-range score for a variety of progressive maneuvers and capped it all off with a victory lap of a nosepick.

Conlogue's QF Bid
Courtney Conlogue draws a solid line with powerful turns for a 9.20 in Round 3.

"I do a lot of training in the offseason to make sure I have power when I'm out in the water," said Conlogue. "When I was out there today I was just having fun. In these conditions it's about wave selection and finding the best opportunities."

Fireworks continued in the next heat when Tyler Wright (AUS) slipped past World No. 2 Carissa Moore (HAW) to take the win. The heat started out as expected, with Moore putting big scores on the board from the start. But Wright was clearly back in form. She upped the ante with rail-grabs and vertical hacks, ultimately earning a score in the nine-point range and a spot in the Quarterfinals.

Wright, Back in Form
On her final wave of Round 3, the Aussie ripped another righthander apart to score big and win her heat.

"That heat was dreamy," said Wright. "The wave was so consistent as well as powerful. The start of the year was a bit weird for me but I feel like I'm starting to piece it together now."

For Wright, who was among the Title contenders in 2014, the win was something of a redemption after a year where she has lagged behind the top women. But with her signature power and playfulness in full effect, the next rounds should only get more interesting.

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.