Date: Tuesday, September 16, 2014
Schedule: Round 2 (Heats 1-12) and Round 3 (Heats 1-4)
Conditions: Building 4-to-6-foot faces with occ. overhead sets
Round 1 Recap
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (AUS) vs. Miguel Pupo (BRA)
(For full clip of Heat 4, visit the ASP Heat Analyzer
Hot off a big heat in Round 2, Miguel Pupo drew first blood against local favorite Kolohe Andino. Andino remained selective in a tide that wasn't offering many opportunities. Finally, at the 16-minute mark Andino took off on a bomb, managing to get to his feet in time for the bottom turn. He worked his backhand attack down the long righthander, earning 5.17 and taking the lead.
There were three more lead changes before the horn sounded: Pupo found a 6.83 on his fourth wave found a 4.33 for a long righthander; Andino stuck to his game plan and waited another until the final five minutes to takeoff, managing an impressive floater to regain the lead. But the Brazilian only needed a four-pointer to overtake him and it arrived at the two-minute mark. In a poetic conclusion to the battle, the two surfers split the peak with the announcer counting down the seconds. Andino powered through three float sections but ultimately came up short.
Result: Miguel Pupo, 11.16, def. Kolohe Andino, 10.93
Heat 3: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
World No. 24 Tiago Pires came out of the gate charging, dropping into set after set to tally an early total of 10.83. His wave count put defending World Tour Champ Mick Fanning on the ropes, pushing him to go as big as he could as the minutes ticked down.
Launching airs and deploying his signature power-carves, Fanning quickly caught up with a combined 9.00, but needed a 6.01 to move into the top spot. He earned a 6.83 with seamless turns and style, putting the heat on his Portuguese opponent. Pires made a final attempt just before the buzzer with a crack at the lip on a righthander, but he fell on the exit and Fanning emerged with the win.
"It's similar to J-Bay where you have the long rides and the big paddle back," Fanning said afterwards. "I don't really like to use pacing. You're up against the best guys in the world. You can't leave anything in the tank. You gotta give it everything."
Result: Mick Fanning, 13.60, def. Tiago Pires, 10.83
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
2013 Rookie of the Year Nat Young and Australian Adrian Buchan took to the waning tide next. Both goofy-footers took off on their backhands to start, with Buchan gaining a slight edge. Backup scores gave Buchan a comfortable lead going into the second half of the heat.
After a brief lull, action continued with Young pulling off a variety of innovative maneuvers. But Buchan's fins-free cutbacks earned him a 9.43 and forced Young to hunt the inconsistent lineup for an excellent score. With two minutes left, Young found a bomb and followed a long cutback with an aggressive vertical snap for an 8.10 but was just shy of the score he needed.
Result: Adrian Buchan, 16.30, def. Nat Young, 15.60
Heat 1: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
World No. 4 Michel Bourez, sometimes known as "the Spartan" on the WCT, opened the matchup with a solid 6.50, putting Jadson Andre on the defense. After a few minimal numbers, the Brazilian tallied a 5.77 to get his scoreline going.
Andre displayed incredibly smooth surfing with elegant turns on a lefthander that he took nearly to shore. But the Spartan came back with another midrange score to move into the lead. With just over three minutes left, he took a lefthander of his own and hacked his way down the line, throwing his tail and riding out smoothly. The wave earned him an 8.17. Andre answered back with a righthander and was on his way to a solid score until he fell in the foam. Bourez took the win.
"You have to free surf a lot to get to know the spot," Bourez said. "It was hard to pick the right one but I'm glad that left came through and I was able to score on it."
Result: Michel Bourez, 14.67, def. Jadson Andre, 11.44
Heat 12: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Matt Wilkinson (AUS)
The opening exchange in the all-Aussie finale to Round 2 saw both surfers work to keep pace with the shifting tide. Kai Otton was run over by the closing section, while Matt Wilkinson connected strong rail-grab turns to gain the early lead.
More than 20 minutes ticked by without any action as the ocean went flat. When a set rolled through just under the three-minute mark, Wilko utilized priority to keep Otton from scoring. Otton was left out the back needing only a 1.67. In the final 15 seconds he chased down a smaller wave and left the water victorious.
"We're both lucky we had a wave each at the start," Otton said following his win. "I would've liked more opportunities to shake those nerves off. With 20 seconds to go, you're taking anything."
Result: Kai Otton, 10.67, def. Matt Wilkinson, 8.83
Heat 11: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)
Huge sets rolled in for the battle between Aussie Adam Melling and Brazilian Filipe Toledo. Melling went big straight away. He dropped into a huge wave, connecting powerful carves to wow the crowd and earn a 9.17. Toledo quickly answered back, boosting off of a heavy lefthander for a massive air, which he landed on the lip and rode into another vertical hack. The maneuver paid off: Toledo earned a 9.83 and moved into the lead.
As the heat clock ticked down, it was clear that Toledo's recent move to San Clemente was bearing fruit. Despite some strong surfing from Melling, the Brazilian transplant dominated for the rest of the heat, throwing a casual air reverse toward the end to cap it all off. Melling made a final effort with beautiful, wrapping turns on a set wave but he botched the exit and was ousted from the contest.
"I saw [Melling] doing a couple big turns so I knew he had a huge score, so I knew I had to do something crazy," Toledo said of his near-perfect ride. "I know the wind is really good for airs so when the first left came I just went for the punch."
Result: Filipe Toledo, 15.93, def. Adam Melling, 15.40
Heat 10: Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Mitch Crews (AUS)
Miguel Pupo and Mitch Crews started their heat with an odd opening clash. With no priority established yet, the two surfers rammed their boards toward the top of the peak, both trying to take off. Pupo powered through but for didn't earn a significant score. Crews ultimately won the opening exchange.
When the next set rolled through, Lowers was pumping. The rookie was the first to take advantage but, Pupo dropped into a giant wave behind him. Connecting a variety of cutbacks and vertical hacks, the Brazilian earned an excellent 8.17. He took another long line to earn another excellent score and take a commanding lead with five minutes remaining. Crews's Hail Mary launch failed and he was eliminated.
Result: Miguel Pupo, 16.94, def. Mitch Crews, 12.33
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Tiago Pires (PRT)
As the tide slowly crept up, Tiago Pires and Sebastian Zietz paddled out for a sudden-death battle. Pires took an early lead, stacking a few midrange scores to put Zietz in a combo situation. Zietz drove down a solid righthander, slashing and hacking for a textbook ride. The effort earned him a 7.67, narrowing the gap between them.
But Pires answered back with a bigger wave and a more powerful attack, earning an 8.60 and bolstering his lead. Seabass took off with fewer than two minutes on the clock, pulling a small air reverse and doing his best to edge past his opponent. Ultimately the Hawaiian fell short.
"It was one of those heats where the waves didn't really stop," Pires said. "I kept active and I knew I had something to show the judges."
Result: Tiago Pires, 16.93, def. Sebastian Zietz, 12.74
Heat 8: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
The battle between C.J. Hobgood and Alejo Muniz looked like it would be another slow one but after a waveless stalemate for the first five minutes, a rapid back-and-forth ensued. Muniz's backhand hooks won him the opening exchange, but Hobgood put a variety of progressive moves together for a 7.83 and held the lead going into the second half.
Under the Brazilian's priority, Hobgood hopped on a bumpy left, showing his comfort at Lowers and solidifying his lead. Muniz found a solid right and found a long floater but went over the falls. The muffed finish kept him in the hunt to match Hobgood's second seven-point ride. With the ocean taking another break, Muniz found himself on the wrong end of the sudden-death heat.
"Every heat out here on the CT, you pretty much tie the guy," said Hobgood, laughing. "So you go for what you can get."
"C.J. has a lot more experience than I do," Muniz said. "I've been watching him surf here, and he was doing really well. I knew it was going to be a hard heat, and maybe whoever picked the waves. ... I didn't get the results I wanted."
Result: C.J. Hobgood, 15.43, def. Alejo Muniz, 14.50
Heat 7: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Atkinson followed up with a midrange 5.00, putting him in the lead. But just when it looked like the rookie would take the win, he and Wilson split a peak with just three minutes on the clock. Wilson broke out his classic, smooth style with wrapping turns and a roundhouse cutback for good measure. He scored a 6.40, enough to win the heat.
"It's a bummer when you get hits like that because we all come to Trestles thinking we can make a lot of waves," Wilson said. "It was more like a heat at Bells or J-Bay where you have to be super selective. The ocean's really testing me at the moment."
Result: Julian Wilson, 13.23, def. Dion Atkinson, 10.17
Heat 6: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
With the swell slowly building, Bede Durbidge and Jadson Andre immediately put their talents on display. On his opening ride, Durbidge went rail-to-rail with a stunning layback for a 6.50. Andre worked his forehand carves for a decent 5.83 but lost his footing on the more risky maneuvers. The Brazilian's backup was negligible and Durbidge held the lead going into the back half of the heat.
At the 15-minute mark, Andre got caught behind but found a small reform to work with. He managed a closing rotation for the score needed to overtake the lead. As the next set rolled in, the two surfers split the peak for a crucial exchange. Andre was in perfect rhythm with the wave, hitting all the float sections with precision and stomping the closeout. The ride earned him the first nine-pointer of the day and gave him a comfortable lead heading into the final 10 minutes.
The Australian found a workable right, using nimble maneuvers to improve his bottom score, but Andre took off on the next right. His backhand attack earned him another excellent score -- an 8.50 -- enough to eliminate the first red jersey of the day.
"I didn't throw any airs, but still got a good score," said Andre. "Maybe I've put too much pressure on myself [in the past]. And now I'm having fun."
Result: Jadson Andre, 17.50, def. Bede Durbidge, 13.94
Heat 5: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Trestles would seem to be the perfect place for skate afficionado and flyboy Josh Kerr, but tricky, crossed-up conditions made wave selection tough. He trailed Aritz Aranburu, who showed off his big, clean carves on as many lefthanders as he could muster.
It was during the second half of the heat that Kerr brought out his air game, but he didn't land with his usual ease. He needed a 5.37 when he took off on a frothy set wave, managing a vertical snap and a quick floater. The score was just shy of what would have kept him in the competition.
"I wanted to start my heat on the lefts," Aranburu said. "It wasn't a pretty heat. You don't feel really proud of a heat like that. By the end I was really confident and I'm glad I got the win."
Result: Aritz Aranburu, 10.43, def. Josh Kerr, 10.07
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
With the tide picking up, the competitors in Heat 4 were quick to launch their respective air games. Kolohe Andino went for a big alley-oop moments after the horn sounded but wiped out on the landing. Travis Logie got the better of the opening exchange to establish the first lead.
The local notched the first significant score when he strung together a few powerful vertical snaps and a float to close for a 7.00. Logie answered with stylish maneuvers on his backhand and the two-wave total favored the South African at the halfway point.
A substantial lull stalled action. Andino improved his bottom score when a new set rolled in but Logie worked his forehand rail game to keep things in his favor. In the final five minutes, both surfers found overhead peaks and let loose. Andino got the nod when it mattered most and won the heat.
"I made a bunch of mistakes, but it ended up working in my favor," Andino said. "In the last minute, there was one more wave, and I got it."
Result: Kolohe Andino, 12.73, def. Travis Logie, 11.74
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Despite scores on the lower side, Tour veteran Taj Burrow led the heat from the start. Lowers is practically home turf for SoCal native Brett Simpson, but he was on the ropes and needing a 9.40 with fewer than 10 minutes on the clock.
Burrow broke out his signature carves, showing off power, experience, and confidence on a crowd-pleasing lefthander. Simpson finally showed what he could do with a clean righthander, punctuated with a forehand snap and exit when the wave gave out. But it wasn't enough to move the needle, earning a midrange five-pointer.
With fewer than two minutes on the clock, Simpson needed a solid score to stay in the game. He took off on a lefthander, but fell midway down as the wave closed in. When the final horn blew, Burrow was triumphant and Simpson was out.
"The strategy is sit with Brett and make sure the best wave he can take I'll get," Burrow said. "It's just about taking the best opportunities. I was mainly thinking of bettering my five -- I wanted to get into the eights and nines -- but it was hard trying to find those waves today."
Result: Taj Burrow, 12.66, def. Brett Simpson, 7.87
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
The surfers in Heat 2 took distinct approaches to the tricky conditions. Jeremy Flores was busy from the get-go while the 11-time World Champ waited out the back, opting to remain selective. Kelly Slater's plan paid off big when, with eight minutes off the clock, he kicked off his heat with a huge air. In one fell swoop, he took the lead with an excellent 8.50. By mid-heat, Flores was in a combination situation as Slater's backup score came in at 7.43.
The Frenchman managed some exciting maneuvers, throwing fins out on solid carves but his midrange scores were not enough to improve his situation. An opportunity presented itself with five minutes remaining but Slater utilized priority to keep Flores off the bigger wave of the set. A last-ditch effort to pull off a layback failed when he lost his footing.
Asked about his seemingly impossible exit from the foam on his 8.50, he was humble. "I was trying to stay on top of the board," he said. "It was a little sloppy, in my opinion."
Flores, meanwhile, was philosophical. "I wish I had the confidence I had a few years ago," he said afterwards. "Maybe it's good to have a year if losing and losing and losing. Hopefully it will help me in surfing, and in life in general."
Result: Kelly Slater, 15.93, def. Jeremy Flores, 10.16
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) vs. Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Gabriel Medina and Raoni Monteiro kicked off an elimination round dotted with athletes rarely seen in such circumstances. Medina, current World No. 1, was under unusual pressure in his face-off. After a restart, he took off on the first wave of the day's competition. The wave closed out on him, earning a minor 1.83.
The pressure appeared to affect both athletes. Monteiro lost his balance on his first wave, and fell on another while Medina was also shaky, making uncharacteristic mistakes.
Medina finally went for it with a perfectly executed air, edging him into the lead with a 6.17. A followup frontside air grab for a 7.43 further widened the gap. Monteiro answered back with solid backhand carves, foam climbs, and hacks. But it wasn't enough to top the Brazilian, whose confidence seemed to improve with every wave. Medina took the win, ending Monteiro's run at Lowers.
"Its pretty tricky out there," Medina said. "In the beginning of the heat we couldn't catch much waves. It was so slow and I was getting nervous. I'm just stoked to make it through.
"It's always hard to compete against a Brazilian guy," he continued, referring to Monteiro. "But it's a competition. We just think about our job."
Result: Gabriel Medina, 13.83, def. Raoni Monteiro, 9.94