It was a miniature second day at Lowers. Eight heats were run, and in those heats competitors had to deal with a spluttering one-to-three foot swell. Sometimes there is a certain elegance to small wave surfing, but when there are a 16 men desperately fighting for their future on the Championship Tour, it quickly descends into hard work.
Alejo Muniz pulled off the big upset of the round, beating the sponsor's pin-up boy, John John Florence, in a Hurley Pro rematch from last season. Muniz took to the Lowers lefts on his high scores today, unloading polished backhand combinations to earn his passage.
“It’s a little bit smaller, but when you’re from Brazil, this is really good,” Muniz said. “I was a little bit nervous because John John (Florence) beat me here in his rookie year. Before my heat I talked to Mikey Picon (former competitor) and he told me the lefts were better than the rights on the set waves. I was just trying to get the bigger waves. I think John John was trying to get a lot of waves and I did the opposite and I’m stoked to get those waves.”
Muniz has been building momentum throughout the season following his victory at the US Open of Surfing, but suffered a scare when he sustained a knee injury competing in the Azores just weeks ago. Following close medical diagnosis, the Brazilian has been given the green light to surf through the injury and is hoping for a big result at the Hurley Pro at Trestles despite the setback.
“I’m riding the same board since the US Open and I’ve been riding it in the last two contests,” Muniz said. “It’s a great board. I had an injury in the Azores and I didn’t think I’d be able to come here, but everything went well with the MRI and the physio. I’m still surfing with pain, but my board is working amazing and I’m stoked.”
Another standout for the day was Hawaiian, Fred Patacchia, who dominated the righthanders with searing backhand combinations, besting fellow goofy footer Miguel Pupo with the day’s high heat total of 17.43 to secure a Round 3 berth. “Conditions are small and I went in to the heat thinking I was going to go left,” Patacchia said. “I saw Seabass (Sebastian Zietz) and Jeremy (Flores) get scores on rights and I knew Miggy (Miguel Pupo) was going to go out there and punt on the lefts and thought I had to look different. I kept an eye out for the rights and got a couple. My boards have been feeling good under my feet and I know when I get a right I can put it up in to the lip and throw a nice fin. Ever since Bali, my backhand has been my go-to.”
A nine year veteran to the tour, Patacchia got off to a challenging start to his 2013 season, missing the first three ASP WCT stops due to injury, but the Hawaiian talent has been a threat since his return. “Before this year started I was talking to my wife thinking this year was going to be it,” Patacchia said. “When I thought about it, I decided I didn’t want it to be it. I have a family now, so I’m not taking as many free surf trips, but I love to compete and I want to stay on tour. I’m going to battle until someone takes my place.”
While the majority found the inconsistent conditions frustrating at best, Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz looked sharp in his heat win over Raoni Monteiro. Zietz has been impressive on his rookie season among the top 34 and following a 25th place result at Teahupo’o the talented Hawaiian hopes to rebound with a strong performance at the Hurley Pro at Trestles. “I was super bummed in Tahiti and I didn’t really trust my instincts,” Zietz said. “I’m going back to the old school and trusting my instincts. I’m hoping to get a result here and I love Trestles. It’s been a big part of my career. It’d be great to get a Quarters or Semis and I’ve got a good small wave board.”
Patrick Gudauskas, local standout and current alternate on the ASP WCT, earned his first Hurley Pro heat victory today, besting Teahupoo victor, Adrian Buchan, in a wave-starved heat. Gudauskas has lost a series of close heats in previous events, but hopes his recent success will carry in to the latter rounds at Lowers. “The local support is so sick and that is the first ‘CT heat I’ve ever made here at Trestles, so I’m pumped,” Gudauskas said. “I was feeling pretty confident. I’ve been surfing well and the conditions are pretty good for the local guys. I’m feeling good going in to this event, I had the win in Virginia Beach and I’ve got good boards right now.”
Another convincing heat winner was Jeremy Flores, who sliced his way through the stunted walls with apparent ease. Flores was careful with his wave selection and admitted that patience was crucial in earning a heat victory. “On the Dream Tour, we’re surfing really good waves all of the time so we’re not used to competing in these conditions, but you have to be a complete surfer,” Flores said. “Wave selection out there is super important today because there are a couple that are going to make the difference. They open up more, whether it’s a right or left and there are not many waves so you have to get the good ones. It’s anyone’s game out there.”
Kolohe Andino capped off the day with an impressive routing of lethal goofy-footer Matt Wilkinson. Andino was in sizzling form in the afternoon conditions, blending full-rail hacks with progressive aerials to emphatically advance into Round 3 of competition.
When competition resumes, Jordy Smith will be up against Brett Simpson in the opening heat of Round 3. The forecast remains fairly minuscule for the rest of the waiting period, with competition likely to resume on Tuseday morning.
HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES REMAINING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 5: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.10 def. Adrian Buchan (AUS) 9.10
Heat 6: Kai Otton (AUS) 12.67 def. Kieren Perrow (AUS) 11.97
Heat 7: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 15.80 def. John John Florence (HAW) 13.83
Heat 8: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.50 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.37
Heat 9: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 14.67 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 9.14
Heat 10: Fred Patacchia (HAW) 17.43 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.74
Heat 11: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.37 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 11.00
Heat 12: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.33 def. Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 9.00
UPCOMING HURLEY PRO AT TRESTLES ROUND 3 MATCH UPS:
Heat 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) vs. Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Gabriel Medina (BRA)
Heat 3: Taj Burrow (AUS) vs. Kolohe Andino (USA)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Fredrick Patacchia (HAW)
Heat 5: Kai Otton (AUS) vs. Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Patrick Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 7: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Sebastian Zietz (HAW)
Heat 9: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Bede Durbidge (AUS)
Heat 10: Nat Young (USA) vs. Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 11: Julian Wilson (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Heat 12: Joel Parkinson (AUS) vs. Adam Melling (AUS)