Taylor Knox: young at heart

Lower Trestles is one of the greatest surfing arenas in the world and the best planetary surfers have been proving the sweet taste of California in the high-performance early rounds of the Nike Lowers Pro 2012.


Taylor Knox, from Carlsbad, scored the highest single-wave score of the day with his signature arcing turns of 9.57 out of 10 points. The 40-year old surfer was a young spirit in the magnificent pointbreak of San Clemente and beated prodigy John John Florence, who advanced in second.

"I have the most restarts in ASP history at this spot," Knox said. "I don’t know how to explain it because I really love this wave and it doesn’t want to love me back. I guess it loved me today. Luckily today it gave me something at the end."

Knox relied on his veteran experience to overtake prodigy John John Florence (HAW), 19, who advanced in second, but looks to the next generation for inspiration to improve his own game.

Michel Bourez tore into two steep Lowers righthanders with an array of powerful turns to take the highest heat-total of the day, 17.87 out of 20.

"I didn’t know what score I had, I was just trying to try out my boards and see what felt good," Bourez said. "When I heard I had a 9.2 and an 8.6 I knew I was in the lead and let the other surfers surf."

Dane Reynolds, who has taken a hiatus from full-time competition, set the pace for the day with his signature style of spontaneous power-carves and explosive aerials during the day’s opening heat to take a commanding Round 1 win with at 17.36 out of 20 heat total.

"I’m really stoked to be able to compete here," Reynolds said. "I like this wave a lot and everybody gets to actually surf. It’s an easy wave to surf and this year, I’m just choosing events where I really like the wave. This is definitely one of them."

Adrian Buchan and Patrick Gudauskas have also won their heats. Mark Occhilupo, the iconic Australian, continued his comeback with his legendary backhand surfing.

"The result at Margaret’s inspired me to do a few more events, for sure," Occhilupo said. "I couldn’t be in the Triple Crown last year and now I’m on my way. You’ve got to be in the top 96 to get in and I’m on my way now. Hopefully I’ll be able to get there. I’ve always missed competing since I’ve left the tour and I feel like I’m still surfing good, so I figure, ‘why not?’ In a few years time it will be all over, so I’m just making hay while the sun shines."