Article

Going The Distance At The Hurley Pro

| posted on September 14, 2010
Taylor Knox, will be relying on experience and fitness to get through the extra round of competition. Photo: Ellis

Taylor Knox will be relying on experience and fitness to get through the extra round of competition. Photo: Ellis

There are a lot of changes being implemented on Tour right now. But the change that may make the biggest impact on deciding an event champion is the extra round. In my experience, nothing is more taxing physically and emotionally than a simple 30-minute heat, during which I’ve collapsed in the sand after at Bells, had my hamstring cramp up so bad I couldn’t walk before a final in Brazil, and generally had my performances trail off the further into an event I progressed.

At Lowers—a notorious leg- and arm-burning wave—competitors are most likely surfing four times this Saturday (the last day of the waiting period). With the surf expected to be well overhead, the 100-yard-long right-handers will be the waves of choice. Doing the math, the finalists will have put all their energy into roughly 20 waves that last day for a combined total of 4,000 yards of surfing and paddling condensed into two hours of heat time.

Not many sports are as physically demanding on the athletes as surfing. That is why it was no fluke that Mick Fanning won his two world titles while being the fittest surfer on Tour. Meanwhile, Dane’s intense training of beer and updating his website landed him on an I.V. last year at Lowers. And now everyone has to contend with one more round on their way to the final.

Who will benefit from this? Of course Mick is more than ready to go the distance. Then there is perennial fitness freak Taylor Knox, who, if he gets some momentum at Lowers, should only get stronger and more difficult to beat as the surf gets bigger and the week progresses. Kelly Slater will show a dramatic increase in performance with every heat as he becomes comfortable with his equipment (he usually rides new boards at this event) and always seems to save his best for last. What about Andy Irons? He came on Tour this year in the worst shape of his career, but now looks to be back in the game. After his much-publicized training sessions with Parko and his trainer, we may just see the best yet from AI.

All these guys are veterans of the Tour and what they make up for with hard work and experience is almost negated by the boundless energy of youth. That is why surfers like Jordy, Owen, Michel, Adriano, and Jadson will be extremely tough to beat as they represent a combination of youth and fitness that is hard to match. Whatever unfolds in the coming days, you can guarantee that everyone left in the event will be digging deep in their pursuit of the $105,000 check.

Read Shea’s Day 1 Coverage

  • http://www.g-starsurf.com geebru

    I see where Shea’s coming from regarding his comments…A past campaigner who knows his way around the field of surfing….

  • rat

    you almost made me feel sorry for them Shea, they all paid proffesional sports men- fitness SHOULD be part of their preperation. Besides, who would really complain about surfing for 2 hrs (with breaks inbetween), at cooking Lowers with 1 other person out?
    Come on dude, cry me a river.

  • jp

    was Dane’s I.V filled with beer?

  • Rambo Estrada

    As long as you win your round 4 heat you will only have to surf the same amount of rounds as normal. If you lose that round then surfing 1 extra time has got to be better than losing right? But I agree with what Shea is saying here, fitness is definitely gong to factor in to the result.

  • matt

    if we are talking heats per day here, as long as you dont lose in the fourth round (which previously would have seen you eliminated anyway) the situation is actually exactly the same now as it was before the change…with 48 guys in the field and a theoretical 4 day completion, you would have been looking at round 4, quarters, semis, and finals potentially all on one day. As it stands now, the most rounds that can fit into one 8 hour day will be rounds 4 and 5, quarters, semis, and final, so as long as you dont lose in round four you can never surf more than 4 heats in a day, which is the same as it was before. Anyone who loses in round 4 deserves to be punished somehow, so crying over an extra heat (rather than elimination) isnt going to get any browning points, and neither is crying about having to surf two hours in one day at a mellow wave like trestles with no one out to hassle you.

    Basically, this article had no logical foundation behind it, and was just something to fill an otherwise un-noteworthy day with.

    Meanwhile, big wave contest guys are surfing two 1 hour heats per day, usually involving long paddles, sustained high levels of adrenaline, and getting their asses viciously kicked by the ocean, and i dont hear any of them complaining about it at all.

    Maybe if everyone stopped stepping-off on small waves and started paddling again, we wouldnt have a bunch of pansies who cant surf four 30 minute heats in a day without collapsing in tears on the beach.

  • mike

    Rambo was right.

    I’m pretty sure Shea wasn’t crying about the extra round at all, and nobody is complaining about surfing one more heat at lowers. I took it as he was stating how important fitness will be in deciding the winner at Lowers. 4,000 yards of anything is a lot of effort when you are giving your all..

  • ReB

    So … Dane will win anyway ?

  • ReB

    before the contest organizers were often forced to run 4 rounds on the final day.

    with the new format, they have more flexibility. since there is surf forecast for 3 days (Thursday Friday Sat.) and we’ve had 1 day of surfing and the current format is designed for 3 days … the rest of the Lowers contest is 2 days of surfing spread among 3 days.

    they might finish the Round 2, 10 more rounds, on Thursday, starting the contest at noon … maybe.

    then do rounds 3, 4, 5 on Friday.

    leaving the quarters semis & finals for Saturday.

    so i think Shea’s reasoning is part right, but he got a little bit carried away. it’s true that 4 rounds at Lowers is a Maximum workout – but it’s not shaping up for that kind of schedule – this year.

  • kp

    The new format involves different numbers now. Impossible to get from 12 guys in round 4 down to 8 for the quarters without something in between.

  • Jo

    Surfing Lowers with one other guy out for 2 hours…..that would be awesome!

  • zach

    Why hasn’t the Surfrider Foundation stopped surfing at Lowers?

    SLAN SCUMENTE WHERE THE SEWER MEETS THE SEA – and you’ve got the Fletchers at Cyprus Shores washing their garbage right into Cottons.

    SURFERS SUCK ! CONTESTS SUCK ! SPONSORS SUCK ! MAGS SUCK ! SURFER POLL SUCKS !

    Yeppers – gonna spend the day watching at Camp Pendleton ? – don’t think so !!!

  • whamo

    Kelly will take Lower’s because he handles the inside section better than anyone. Dane should get a beer sponsor like guys did in the 80′s, like Mark Foo’s “Michelob” board.

  • terry

    today was a classic example of the bs that is the asp horse and pony show, perfectly contestable waves not used so they can score better tomorrow. today should have been used to clear the boards so the finals could be held tomorrow there by clearing all the contest crap out for the people who live and work the area. they should have priority especially when an awesome swell event arrives.
    the expression session was a joke, it was just a free surf for the mates…. the water was cleared for the event ,which was meant for the contestants to show a different approach to how they would surf heats. shirts were exchanged with asp groupies/friends and people who shouldn’t have been there played. and the big man PAT O/C gave his blessing.
    i guess its all who you know….. but… its a state park and the contest needs to be run as quick and as efficient as possible so those who want to see the action can do so. then the circus should bail.
    the anti-Christ “rabbit” was on line raving about how cool it was to be there and what a cool thing pro-ism is. then he went on to say how they used to surf all these uncrowded waves in his day and it was sad to see such crowds in so many of the same spots now. hey dude its your baby…. you sold out and the rest of us free surfers pay the price.

    FREE SURF – ITS YOUR RIGHT

  • zach

    PROFESSIONAL WORMS !

    GO AWAY -STAY AWAY !

    SLAN SCUMENTE WHERE THE SEWER MEETS THE SEA -

    HOME OF THE FLETCHERS -LOSERS !

    BARTHOLEMEW HURLEY PAT ANDY AND ALL THE REST – KISS MY ASS !!!

  • terry

    zach… zach..zach…….. you got it all wrong…… listen deeply to the commentary…. use your inner brain to block all the blah.blah.blah that comes from those crack filled announcers…. and you will realize that you need to go out and buy a t-shirt…boardshorts some wax..some ugg boots…. oh yeah get some stickers MUST BUY… MUST BUY…MUST BUY!!!!

    THE WHOLE THING IS A PLATFORM FOR THE RAG TRADE

  • zach

    terry – still laughing !

    think of the goldmine in a new and improved rag. ANTI-SURFER – -

    on the newstands at Carl’s at the top of the Walk. Maybe Big Helens could be a sponsor. Rocky Surfboards Bill Stewart could do the artwork.
    Get head lifeguard what[s his face SC patrol to pinch surfers -oh yeah Rich Chew !!! maybe bite would be better – get it – chew?

  • zach

    Instead of contests, take all that money and build artificial reefs so everyone would benefit from profits made by SURF INDUSTRY.

    EVERY MANUFACTURER -MAG-WETSUIT CO. -CLOTHING CO. – BUT ESPECIALLY THE FLETCHER FAMILY. – -

    SLAN SCUMENTE WHERE THE SEWER MEETS THE SEA SHOULD DONATE THE BEACH FRONT

    TELL SWARZENEGGER TO SHOVE IT.

    COASTAL COMMISSION – UP YOURS !!! – - REMOVE DANA POINT HARBOR COASTAL COMMISSION

    I WAS SURFING THERE BEFORE THE HARBOR – I HAVE PREFERENCE !!!

  • terry

    AWHILE BACK I HEARD AN INTERVIEW/COMMENTARY DURING ONE OF THE J-BAY CIRCUSES, ABOUT HOW THE COMPANIES NEED TO PUT ASIDE $$ OUT OF THEIR PROFITS FOR A SPECIAL FUND……..
    ONLY IT WASN’T FOR THE AVERAGE JOE NOR FOR THE SURFING COMMUNITY. IT WAS AGREED BY ALL THAT THE PRO SURFERS NEED A FUND TO HELP THEM WITH THEIR NEEDS AFTER THE ‘TOUR”.
    THESE GUYS….. AND GIRLS HAVE GIVEN UP SO MUCH FOR THE SPORT OF SURFING…….
    AND WHEN LIFE HAS PASSED THEM BY, WE NEED TO LOOK AFTER THEM IN THEIR GOLDEN YEARS [40 YEARS TO DEATH]
    ………….THEY WERE CALLING SURFING THE NEW GOLF.

    GET REAL

    THE REEF THING SHOULD BE LOOKED AT, YOU ARE RIGHT, AS THE CLOTHING COMPANIES PUSH AND PUSH A SPORT THAT SHOULD HAVE GROWN NATURALLY, SPOTS ARE CROWDED BEYOND BELIEF. YOU CANT COMPARE IT TO EVEN SKIING/BOARDING BECAUSE IN THAT SPORT NEW AREAS CAN BE OPENED UP OR ENLARGED. YOU CANT DO IT TO A COASTLINE. THE NUMBER OF SPOTS ARE FINITE AND THOUGH THE COMPANIES SHOW US MEGA UNCROWDED WAVES IN THEIR PROMO VIDS. SO MANY OF US ARE LIVING REAL LIVES… RAISING FAMILIES OR RAISING HELL, BUT WE CANT ALL DROP OUT OR AFFORD THESE JAUNTS. SO WE LOOK FORWARD TO SOME TASTY TREATS CLOSER TO HOME ONLY TO BE CROWDED OUT BY WALKING BILLBOARDS……shouldn’t it be against the law to wear more then 2 different labels at one time?? lets alone 5-6.

    I WOULD LIKE PREFERENCE TOO!
    I CAME FROM THE VTA/SB AREA AND MY LAST SURF BEFORE I BAILED CALIF WAS “STANLEY’S” R.I.P.

    WHEN CONSIDERING A REEF BE CAREFUL, IN OUR AREA WE HAVE PAID FOR ONE…. 4-5 YEARS AGO AND A.S.R. STILL HAVEN’T DELIVERED

    ANOTHER BIG SOUTH SWELL ON THE WAY FOR YOU GUYS AND THE PRO’S WILL BE GONE…… ENJOY
    YOU GUYS GET THE FUN AND WE COPPED THE CRAPPIEST WEATHER ALL WINTER