LOWER TRESTLES, California / USA (Tuesday, September 20, 2011) - The Hurley Pro at Trestles returned to Lowers for the third consecutive day and saw the world's best surfers put in stellar performances in improved conditions as the frontrunners on the ASP Top 34 proved lethal in their battle for this year's heated ASP World Title race.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, current No. 3 on the ASP World Title Race, surgically dissected two Lower Trestles set waves, notching a 17.00 total in a close heat to surpass Huntington Beach's Brett Simpson (USA), 26, despite a valiant effort from the Californian in Round 3.
"I was hoping for just a couple waves and we got a couple of set waves each," Parkinson said. "I watched the first two of Brett's (Simpson) waves after I got my scores and wanted to stay involved, but I just couldn't worry or watch. He's an amazing surfer and beat me in Tahiti so it was kind of good to get one back. We've surfed the last three events together and there are those little rivalries that pop up."
Parkinson's dominance continued in Round 4, when he went for broke on a long righthander in need of a near-perfect score to overtake Julian Wilson (AUS), 22, and logged a 9.13 to secure the day's highest heat-total of 18.06 (out of 20) while advancing directly through to the Quarterfinals.
"Julian's wave wave was sick," Parkinson said. "I don't know what to say about it though, I'm a purist. That wave of mine was a long wave, my legs were burning at the end. Me and Julian were hassling and I thought 'I don't care if I get an interference or not, I'm losing anyway.' Mick got that wave before it too, that was a great heat."
Owen Wright (AUS), 21, current No. 2 on the ASP World Title Series, earned an amazing come-from-behind victory to defeat young Hawaiian John Florence (HAW), 18, in a high-scoring heat of 17.84 to 17.13. Wright locked in to a long Lowers right with just minutes remaining in the matchup in need of a 9-point score and unloaded a series of furious backhand blasts to notch a near-perfect 9.77 (out of 10) to secure one of the highest scores of the event to advance through to Round 4.
"John John's got a massive future ahead of him and I'd really like to take my hat off to him," Wright said. "He really took it to me and surfed really well. I fell on a couple and then I got one and rode it all the way down and pulled through. I knew it was definitely a 9 and felt like I hit every section in the sweet spot. Backside surfing is hard out there today and I'll take it. I've got a bit more to drive for with the World Title on the line and it pulled me through. It's just not a round 3 heat for me out there."
Wright went on to eventually advance directly through to the Quarterfinals with a Round 4 heat win as well.
Kelly Slater (USA), 39, reigning 10-Time ASP World Champion and four-time defending Hurley Pro at Trestles winner, was in tune with both the lefts and rights on offer at Lowers Today and displayed a variety of carves and airs to take a commanding win over veteran campaigner Tom Whitaker (AUS), 31, in Round 3 before taking his Round 4 heat as well.
"I felt good and just rode that board for the first time last night and it feels good," Slater said. "We had a good flurry to start that heat, I wanted to out point him on that first exchange and get priority because he's really smart and I know his game. Tommy's going to put himself on the best waves and I tried to get a good start on him if I could."
Slater, who is currently holding a no-show and equal 13th on his ASP World Title Ranking, explained the importance of surpassing the Round 3 hurdle while hunting his 11th elite crown.
"This round's real critical to get through," Slater said. "You can open up in the next round (Round 4) and that last heat was a real crucial heat to get through. You get two chances to make it through to the Quarters but that Round 3 is critical."
Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, kept his hopes of an ASP World Title alive today and went ballistic to defeat high-flying countrymen Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, in Round 3 and carried his momentum through to the afternoon.
"I'm sad to beat Jadson (Andre), he smashed it yesterday," De Souza said. "He's one of the best guys out there, but I need the result to improve my seed. I'm sad for Jadson, but I'm also happy to make it through."
De Souza, who has relocated to Southern California from Brazil, looked comfortable in the Lower Trestles lineup and went on to advance directly through to the Quarterfinals after an astonishing effort in Round 4 to overtake Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, and Jeremy Flores (FRA), 22, in their three-man matchup.
"I'm one of the guys that surfs Trestles more than the top 32," De Souza said. "I came to the U.S. to improve my surfing and English with my family and friends and that's why I'm down here and surfing this wave a lot. I'm happy to make that heat. It was really important to me with Taj and Jeremy, especially Jeremy. He's the reason I'm in the top 5. We competed a lot a few years back and he pushed me. Taj too, he's incredible in any conditions out there."
Taj Burrow (AUS), 32, tore through the clean Lower Trestles conditions with his patented flare, taking out his Round 3 heat over fellow countrymen Kai Otton (AUS), 31. Burrow, who has two runner-up finishes at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, is looking to remain consistent in 2011 and despite being relegated to Round 5 this afternoon is hungry to take out a victory at Lowers this year.
"I've had two seconds here and I've got to just rip until the end," Burrow said. "Kelly (Slater) seems to do it pretty well. He's got the formula down for winning. You don't have to be the best surfer throughout the whole event, you've just got to win each heat. He just knows how to win and I've been studying him and I'm just going to try and do what he does because he's really good at it."
Hurley Pro at Trestles event organizers will reconvene tomorrow morning at 7am local time for a possible 8am start with a possible champion crowned by day's end.
Highlights from the Hurley Pro at Trestles are available via http://www.hurley.com/hurleypro
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
UPCOMING HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 5 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 3: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Mick Fanning (AUS)
Heat 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Adrian Buchan (AUS)
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 4 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.33, Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.93, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.23
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.90, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.60, Heitor Alves (BRA) 11.77
Heat 3: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.73, Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.20, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.46
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 18.06, Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.77, Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.50
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.50 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.97
Heat 2: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.50 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.10
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.27 def. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 9.57
Heat 4: Heitor Alves (BRA) 11.63 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.43
Heat 5: Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.33 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.83
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 17.64 def. Tom Whitaker (AUS) 12.93
Heat 7: Owen Wright (AUS) 17.84 def. John Florence (HAW) 17.13
Heat 8: Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.13 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 8.17
Heat 9: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.80 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 10.40
Heat 10: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.00 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 16.80
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.23 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 9.00
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 14.93 def. Taylor Knox (USA) 13.17