Tavarua and J-Bay are too exotic. Chopes is just too mental. Lower Trestles however is just perfect. A sublime peak splitting left and right across a pebble bottom so flawlessly that about a million people fight for a wave every set. And to those who can find a wave it is a watery skate park drenched in SoCal sunshine.
This year’s Hurly Pro was supposed to be a game changer, an opportunity for a new world order. Trestles is, after all, the birthplace of the Slater winning machine. It was here Captain Star trunks ripped the place apart in Quiksilver’s 1991, Kelly Slater in Black and White drew first blood in the changing of the guard. In 1990 Slater tail-slid his glass slipper through the door followed by the rest of the ‘Momentum Generation’. Nearly 25 years after the Body Glove Surfabout Slater launched himself into the most impossible of suicide airs to signal that he was still the man to beat. Only Slater has the audacity to think he can land such a ridiculous punt.
Why is King Kelly launching himself into the stratosphere above Orange county? Because the Brazilians are coming[/pullquote]
Why is King Kelly launching himself into the stratosphere above Orange county? Because the Brazilians are coming. Led by a very hungry Gabriel Medina who took the crown at the suicide fest that was the Billabong Tahiti Pro, the south Americans are tying everything up above and below the lip. Quick agile Medina should have been well at home and favourite in the perfect ‘SoCal peaks’. A win here would put him within a clear shot at the title and the first Brazilian to claim the trophy. Of the last 22 world titles Slater, Fanning and Parko account for 15. Whole generations have come and gone like the tides but these three keep mopping up everything. Gabriel is the closest the Jordy/Julian contingent has got to the front but it was the kids in the year below them who look more dangerous.
The event belonged to John John. Oahu’s finest looked unstoppable. The boy treated trestles as a skate park and tore the place apart. It was a showcase of modern surfing as Florence punted airs of every rotation and carved hooks and drop wallets that left the ocean scared for days after. His fluidity and flair were matched only by his coolness and focus. As the commenter’s noted his board was waxed to the tip on the nose. He got five nines in a single heat. Five!
[pullquote]Since marrying his sweetheart, Jordy’s legs have been a little shaky[/pullquote]
Yet it was seemingly out of form Jordy Smith who took the crown. Since marrying his sweetheart, Jordy’s legs have been a little shaky (insert your own joke here). At J Bay he put on a master class but wobbly legs left him with only a 5th. At Teahupo’o he took the ‘beating of his life’ and settled for a 25th. And throughout the trestles event the Smith version of power surfing was derailed by a fail in nearly every heat. Each time he was forced to surf another heat. While the South African certainly has the talent to take a world title and last year he was runner up to Julian Wilson, I don’t think anyone was putting money on him this year. Yet John John’s fire seemed to wane in the final and Jordy, who’d come too far to have a repeat of last year, opened with 9.33 worth of power and plasticity. Ultimately it was Smith’s maturity and hunger that stole him his first win of the season.
The Hurley Pro results haven’t made a lot of difference to the rankings as we move into the cold water barrels of the Landes the title race is again wide open with only three events left.