After nearly a week of lay days in anticipation of a long period south (the same swell which saw Teahupoo pump for Bodhi and Johnny Utah this past week), competition at Trestles was called on today with round 2 and half of round 3 running in overhead combo swell.
The early rounds have seen a number of close shaves for a few world title hopefuls, along with inspired performances from most of the usual suspects. As ever hit up the heat analyser
The Spartan increases Earth’s relative humidity with every bucket-chucking flex of his quadriceps.
Michel Bourez has kept his fading title hopes alive, wining his round 1 heat over Jeremy Flores and Felipe Toledo, whose ankle appears to have healed up just fine (more on that later). The Spartan increases Earth’s relative humidity with every bucket-chucking flex of his quadriceps, and may very well have contributed to the tropical depression that eventually became Hurricane Odile (more on that later too). He went on to win his round 3 heat over an on fire Jadson Andre, earning a spot in the non-elimination round 4.
Jordy Smith, the tour’s other power broker, seems to have shaken off the cobwebs from a relatively lackluster season, seamlessly combining force and flash in an emphatic round 1 win. When competition resumes he’ll face Julian Wilson in what promises to be one of the best heats of round 3.
Goofies upset historic form guide
The screwfoots have historically not fared well at Trestles, but look to be in form this year. Nat Young won a very tight, high-scoring battle over CJ Hobgood in their round 1 clash, then ended up losing an almost identical heat to Ace Buchan in round 3. CJ went on to win his round 2 heat over Alejo Muniz, while Freddy P and then Miguel Pupo sent local favorite Kolohe Andino packing (his first early loss since Bells). And fresh off a ballsy performance in Tahiti, Owen Wright continued his form with a combined 17.43, backing himself as an early favorite for the win.
Taj Burrow may have been feeling the pressure as defending event champ, as he only managed a heat total of 7.67 in round 1, where he was beaten handily by Ace Buchan (more goofy-footed dominance). But Taj bounced back in round 2, dismantling Brett Simpson, who inches closer to pre-tirement with every heat he drops.
The upsets continued with world number one Gabriel Medina, who looked uncharacteristically out of sorts in round 1 and was beaten by Costa Rican wildcard Carlos Munoz in a popular, last minute decision. Munoz appears to have a Costa Rican choir backing him on the beach (“Ole, ole ole ole!”), but will have to beat Medina again in round 3 in order to get his Cinderella story truly rolling.
Munoz appears to have a Costa Rican choir backing him on the beach (“Ole, ole ole ole!”), but will have to beat Medina again.
Kelly needs a win
Meanwhile, six-time event winner Kelly Slater finds himself in unfamiliar territory, needing to post his first win of the season if he is to derail the Medina juggernaut. Kelly looked sharp in round 1, but local wildcard and all-around froth monster Tanner Gudauskas was a touch sharper, relegating Kelly to the repechage — where Jeremy Flores promised carnage through cheeky social media posts. Flores is just back from a recent suspension, and must be getting used to punishment by now — Slater gave him another public spanking today (putting him into a combo situation with an enormous straight air to the flats), setting up a rematch with Tanner G in round 3.
And then there is John John. While Filipe Toledo’s backside boost in round 2 is arguably the maneuver of the event thus far, John John came close to matching him with a core power layback in round 1 that would inspire even the laziest of couch potatoes to start doing sit-ups again. Lord only knows what he’ll get up to when he hits the water in round 3.
Title race wide open for the women
On the women’s side of things, Lakey Peterson has blown the title race wide open by eliminating Carissa Moore in round 4 with a clean air reverse. The yellow jersey now falls unofficially to Sally Fitzgibbons, but with Steph Gilmore and Tyler Wright both still in the hunt, it is really anyone’s game.
Finally, title sponsor Hurley’s pet charity Waves 4 Water is currently focusing on our neighbour to the south, and their timing couldn’t be better. Rather than sending California a nice dose of tropical swell, Hurricane Odile swung east and devastated Baja Sur yesterday, becoming the strongest storm on record to have hit the peninsula. Here’s hoping that those affected by the storm are returned safely to their families, and that the hardest hit communities recover quickly.
Rumour has it that we’ll run through the quarters tomorrow and the final series on Thursday, which means we could see a champ crowned right around the time Tropical Storm Polo upgrades to hurricane status. Fingers crossed that this one sends us swell, and leaves Cabo alone.