The Hurley Pro at Trestles, Stop No. 6 of 10 on the ASP World Championship Tour (WCT), returned to the cobblestone pointbreak of Lower Trestles for the third day of competition, witnessing the world’s best surfers tear in to building four-to-six foot glassy (1.5 metre) waves.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, current No. 2 on the ASP WCT rankings, opened his Round 3 campaign by unloading the highest single-wave score of the Hurley Pro at Trestles of 9.93 out of 10. The stylish Australian locked into a lengthy righthand wall, combining a seamless array of tail-drifting turns and carves for the near-perfect ride and went on to find a backup score to eliminate California Veteran Taylor Knox (USA), 41.
“That wave felt good,” Parkinson said. “It was a perfect little Lowers wall. That first real good hit was sweet, it allowed me to feel confident from the first turn. I feed off of Taylor out there. He’s such an amazing veteran and experienced. He’s one of those guys that everyone is cheering for. He deserves a few wins this year and I’d be stoked to see him get a result.”
Parkinson, who was equally impressive in his afternoon Round 4 heat win, is currently trailing fellow Gold Coaster Mick Fanning (AUS), 31, in the hunt for the 2012 ASP World Title.
“I just try and keep up with Mick (Fanning),” Parkinson said. “I just saw his last performance and although it probably wasn’t one of his best, it was really solid. He’s a momentum builder, he builds houses through the event and towards the end of the event he starts to really find his form. All of the real suspects like Kelly (Slater) and Taj (Burrow) won today in Round 3 and I just wanted to make sure I did as well.”
Parkinson has advanced directly to the Quarterfinals of the Hurley Pro at Trestles. John John Florence (HAW), 19, current ASP WCT No. 3, got the best of a slow heat against tour rookie Yadin Nicol (AUS), 26, in Round 3 before claiming the day’s highest heat-total in his Round 4 win over Jordy Smith (ZAF), 24, and Adriano de Souza (BRA), 25 – 18.57 out of 20, advancing him directly to the Quarterfinals.
“It felt good to get some good scores after that slow heat with Yadin (Nicol),” Florence said. “The waves looked fun and I don’t know if it was me or the waves, but that heat ended up being weird. I switched my board up and went out with a fresh start and ended up having a good time in Round 4. I’m so stoked to be straight in to the Quarters because those Round 5 heats tend to be the gnarliest heats of the event.”
Adrian Buchan (AUS), 29, was deadly on his backhand today and unloaded powerful combinations to take an impressive 18.13 out of 20, in his win over Heitor Alves (BRA), 30.
“I was already confident I could get those scores,” Buchan said. “My first heat, I only had one right and I had a 9 so I knew I could get the scores on the rights and I just needed to find them. That one 9.7 I got under Heitor’s priority and that wave didn’t look incredible, but it lined up beautifully on the inside.”
Buchan, current No. 15 on the ASP WCT, continued to shine in his afternoon Round 4 heat, advancing to the Quarterfinals over Jeremy Flores (FRA), 24, and current ASP WCT No. 1 Mick Fanning (AUS), 31.
“I was a little nervous going in to that round and I put a lot of energy in to putting in a good performance,” Buchan said after his Round 3 win. “That round’s kind of been my stumbling block in the last few events and I really felt like my surfing was there. I’m glad it finally all came together. Heitor is so gymnastic and really passionate and I really like that about his surfing. We’ve had some great heats together and it was cool to have another heat with him.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 40, 11-time ASP World Champion and defending Hurley Pro at Trestles winner, immediately put his Round 3 opponent Matt Wilkinson (AUS), 23, on the ropes in this morning’s Round 3 heat, posting an 8-point-score on his opening ride and dominated throughout the heat’s entirety. “I think the lefts are a little steeper this morning,” Slater said. “The rights are longer, but the lefts do have some corners on them. It’s funny, because it looks so perfect and it’s actually really flat and soft. It’s not as easy to surf as it looks right now, plus that early morning sun is right in your eyes.”
Slater, who has made seven finals in the event’s 12 year history, admittedly has a close relationship with the wave that has helped shape his career over the last two decades, and a victory at this year’s Hurley Pro at Trestles would mark a historic 50th ASP WCT win.
“I love Lowers,” Slater said. “It’s been one of my favorite waves since I was a little kid. I surfed here for the first time in 1984 and it was really exciting to come to California for my first time and surf here. I won my first contest as a pro out here. I just feel like I have a good connection here. Tom Curren was my favorite surfer and he won his first event here so it was really special to me to get my first win here as a pro. It was right when I started with Quiksilver. I’ve been surfing contests here since 1989, so it’s been a long time!”
The iconic Floridian is currently sitting at No. 4 on the ASP WCT and with an equal 13th and a missed event in his score line, Slater admitted there is no room for error if he hopes to claim a 12th ASP World Title this year.
“My back is against the wall to be honest,” Slater said. “Every heat is really important if I want to be in the title race at the end of the year. I don’t really have any room to move after missing Brazil and just a stupid mistake in Tahiti where Ricardo got me. Those are my two throwaways for the year, but sometimes that’s good though. It helps you keep your focus. I’ve just got to make the right choices and hope I don’t get smashed by someone early on.”
Slater finished third in his non-elimination Round 4 heat and will face off against Jeremy Flores (FRA), 24, in Round 5 when competition resumes.
Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7:30am local time for a possible 8am start. For LIVE Hurley Pro at Trestles action log on to www.hurley.com/hurleypro.
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 5 MATCH UPS:
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
Heat 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) vs. Kelly Slater (USA)
Heat 3: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES NON ELIMINATION ROUND 4:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 12.93, Julian Wilson (AUS) 12.60, Kelly Slater (USA) 11.20
Heat 2: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 17.23, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.97, Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.17
Heat 3: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.87, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.40, Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.63
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 18.57, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.27, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.67
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.70 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.00
Heat 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.03 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 12.34
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.60 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 14.30
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.20 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.23
Heat 5: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 18.13 def. Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.93
Heat 6: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.34 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.33
Heat 7: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.33 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 13.33
Heat 8: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.37 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.06
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.53 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.67
Heat 10: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 17.20 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.77
Heat 11: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.67 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 10.90
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) 14.44 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 9.90