Mark Occhilupo: a surf legend doing what he knows best

Gabriel Medina, the talented Brazilian gun, has stormed the fabled California pointbreak of Lower Trestles by posting the day's top scores with his progressive wizardry on the lefthand ramps on offer at the Nike Lowers Pro 2012.


Medina took 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 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."

Fred Patacchia 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."

Tanner Gudauskas continued to ignite his home break and took an impressive win over veteran ASP World Championship Tour surfer Taylor Knox and former Nike Lowers Pro winner Gabe Kling, 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 continued his comeback and the surfing icon emerged victorious once again, eliminating top seed Michel Bourez, 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."

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