PHOTOS courtesy of: Jack McDaniel/amsurfnews.com
The Hurley Pro at Trestles is still a month away, but a big battle to get in it took place Wednesday at T-Street, one of San Clemente's most renowned workout centers for aspiring pros. A stacked contingent of 24 surfers comprised of local pros and Hurley team riders did battle in surprisingly clean conditions to settle who would nab two precious wildcard spots in the elite tour event in September.
The trials were divided into local pros, like Pat and Tanner Gudauskas, Griffin Colapinto, Nate Yeomans, Evan Geiselman and Ian Crane, and Hurley team riders like Rob Machado, Jake Marshall, Yadin Nicol and Brett Simpson.
While T-Street can never be confused for Lower Trestles, a nice little combo swell made for a very contestable lineup, with the full spectrum of today's progressive surfing on display.
The lineup at T-Street has a number of takeoff zones, depending on the tide, so the toughest decision competitors faced was selecting the right one.
Goofyfooters like Geiselman and Crane were fond of the little left runners on the inside, which were providing some punchy ramps. Meanwhile, Machado, the Gudauskas brothers, Griffin Colapinto, and Brett Simpson were sticking with the tricky outside reef.
Not surprisingly, one of the biggest battles on the locals' side was the Tanner vs. Pat Gudauskas match. Both are in the middle of strong Qualifying Series campaigns. Tanner is currently No. 18 on the QS, while Pat is No. 10.
Tanner got the edge this time, and moved on to earn the top spot for the local contingent.
On the other side of the board Brett Simpson topped the stacked Hurley squad, besting a bunch of veteran CT stars like Machado and Nicol, QS standouts like Geiselman, and young up-and-comers like Marshall.
It was a nice win for Simpson, after falling off the CT last year. Heading into next week's Vans US Open, which runs in his backyard of Huntington Beach, is looking for momentum. He's a two-time winner of the event, going back-to-back in 2009 and 2010, and Brett isn't ready to turn the page just yet.
"I've had a good break these past few months," he said. "We just welcomed a new baby into our family and I've had time to get healthy and clear my head, so I'm heading into the US Open with the hopes of launching a strong QS campaign. I figure I'll have one more good crack at the QS before considering other options."