LOWER TRESTLES, San Clemente, California (Thursday, May 3, 2012) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime Nike Lowers Pro returned to the fabled California pointbreak of Lower Trestles for the third consecutive day and saw young Brazilian talent Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, lead his fellow ASP World Championship Tour competitors in posting the day’s top scores.
Gabriel Medina unveiled his progressive wizardry on the lefthand ramps of Lowers today, launching the highest scores of Nike Lowers Pro competition. The high-flying Brazilian took top honors, winning his Round of 48 heat and went on to take the day’s highest single-wave score of 9.87 for a huge air-reverse while surfing a near-perfect heat of 19.53 out of 20 in his Round of 24 bout.
“That was fun and both the lefts and rights are pretty good,” Medina said. “I had a good heat and I think it’s because I woke up really early, at five in the morning, and got down here in the dark. I think it helped me get ready for my heat. The non-elimination round is great because it’s no pressure too because everyone can show how they surf.”
Heitor Alves (BRA), 30, who is consistently a standout at Trestles, was another Brazilian goofy-footer to put on a dominant performance at the Nike Lowers Pro. The passionate Brazilian earned one of the day’s highest single-wave scores of 9.50 out of 10 with tenacious forehand gouges on a steep lefthand wall at Lowers.
“I had a great time again, I really like this wave and I just tried my best out there and won my heat.” Alves said. “I surfed before my heat and knew the sets were slow and I wanted to wait for the best ones and I got lucky.”
Alves will surf again in the elimination Round of 24.
Fred Patacchia (Oahu, HI), 30, was one of several goofy-footers to dominate the rights of Lowers on his backhand today. The powerful Hawaiian netted a 17.17 out of 20 heat total with committed backhand gaffs on two waves to advance through to the Round of 16.
“I think with Lowers, you’ve got to watch it a lot,” Patacchia said. “It’s constantly changing and I try and get down here a few heats earlier and know what I want to do and have a game-plan.”
Patacchia, a veteran campaigner on the ASP World Championship Tour, is now out to capitalize on his experience with man-on-man competition as the Nike Lowers Pro enters the latter rounds.
“With the priority situation, it feels a lot more like a World Tour event and you can treat it like that,” Patacchia said. “The inexperience of some of the guys coming up will really show and guys like the Hobgoods will really take advantage of that. It’s a good experience for them and sometimes they surprise us. With only two guys out at Lowers, you really can’t ask for anything more.”
Patacchia, who won the Nike Lowers Pro in its first year as an ASP PRIME rated event, has his sights set on a second prestigious title as well as the coveted solid-gold railroad spike trophy.
“The year I won, the spike wasn’t pure gold, and I’m hoping to snag that thing,” Patacchia said. “I’m feeling good and my boards are working really well. Everyone says you have to take it heat-by-heat and it’s true, but my eye is on that prize.”
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 23, who finished runner-up at last year’s Nike Lowers Pro, continued to ignite his home break and took an impressive win over veteran ASP World Championship Tour surfer Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 40, and former Nike Lowers Pro winner Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 31, in the no-losers Round of 24 with a solid 17.87 heat total.
“It was fun because it was a gentleman’s style heat,” Gudauskas said. “We were talking out there and it was a really special heat. I was stoked because I guessed if I did well here that I’d go do Brazil, so we’ll see how it goes, hopefully I can keep going.”
Mark Occhilupo (AUS), 45, continued his comeback, and the surfing icon emerged victorious once again today, eliminating top seed Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, to advance to the Round of 24. Occhilupo has admittedly struggled to earn his desired results at Lower Trestles over the course of his career, but is finding success at this year’s Nike Lowers Pro.
“Trestles hasn’t really been kind to me over the years,” Occhilupo said. “I don’t think I’ve ever made the Quarterfinals, so to make these heats has been great. I love Trestles, even though it’s a hard wave to surf for me, but I’m stoked. It’s great surfing with the young guys and the kids are surfing amazing. I’m just working my way through the draw and taking it one heat at a time.”
The Nike Lowers Pro holds a waiting period from May 1 through 5, 2012 and will be webcast LIVE at www.nikelowerspro.com
Surfline, official forecasters for the Nike Lowers Pro, are calling for a reinforcing pulse of fresh SSW swell (205-185 deg) to move in, topping out by mid-day. Surf is expected to hang mainly in the chest-to-head high range (4-5′ faces), with occasional overhead waves/peaks on the bigger sets (around 6′ faces).
Nike Lowers Pro No Losers Round of 24:
Heat 1: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 17.13, Glenn Hall (IRL) 15.03, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.77
Heat 2: Nat Young (USA) 17.17, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 13.86, Tomas Hermes (BRA) 13.26
Heat 3: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 17.87, Gabe Kling (USA) 15.50, Taylor Knox (USA) 12.23
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 16.23, Cory Lopez (USA) 15.67, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.06
Heat 5: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.53, Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.06, Dane Reynolds (USA) 12.33
Heat 6: Granger Larsen (HAW) 18.43, Heitor Alves (BRA) 17.00, Brett Simpson (USA) 14.74
Heat 7: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.17, Jay Thompson (AUS) 13.60, Blake Thornton (AUS) 13.20
Heat 8: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.53, Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 13.83, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 8.57
Nike Lowers Pro Round of 48 Results:
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.90, Granger Larsen (HAW) 16.77, Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.93, Charles Martin (GLP) 6.87
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (USA) 16.60, Dane Reynolds (USA) 15.30, Heath Joske (AUS) 13.80, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 12.27
Heat 9: Heitor Alves (BRA) 17.70, Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.27, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.00, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 7.66
Heat 10: Jay Thompson (AUS) 15.60, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.13, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.90, Jano Belo (BRA) 10.10
Heat 11: Adrian Buchan (AUS) 15.10, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 14.53, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 13.77, Hank Gaskell (HAW) 11.87
Heat 12: Mark Occhilupo (AUS) 14.10, Blake Thornton (AUS) 13.83, Tom Whitaker (AUS) 10.17, Michel Bourez (PYF) 6.40