Nat Young: manufacturing spray at Lower Trestles | Photo: Rowland/WSL

It's the only California stop on the World Surf League's Championship Tour (CT), but it is one of the most popular events on the pro surfing calendar. The 2016 Hurley Pro at Trestles will be a decisive showdown.

For many, Lower Trestles is the perfect surf spot, the ultimate playground. The cobblestone break offers all the opportunities surfers need to prove themselves to the judges and the world.

They've got the oblique wave faces, the A-frames, and the punchy lips so, in the end, it all comes down to experience, real-time decision making, and physical condition.

The eighth (out of 11) stop on the Dream Tour will probably define if Kelly Slater will be in the hunt for the 12th world title. Slater won six times (2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012) at Lower Trestles. Will there be a seventh?

Despite suffering a minor knee injury, John John Florence will be looking to solidify his lead in the rankings. The Hawaiian has never won in Trestles. Can he do it this time before heading to Europe with huge ambitions?

"It would mean everything to have my name on the world title trophy, but I am not thinking about it too much. We still have so many contests to go this season. I am so stoked to be at Lowers, and I plan to have fun here," says Florence.

That's it, John. Take it easy. Matt Wilkinson is right behind you, and he won't let a golden opportunity slip through his fingers. The Australian is in a do-or-die moment. His time is now. Otherwise, he should probably enjoy a laid-back end of the season.

Gabriel Medina has been quietly alert. The Brazilian has what it takes to send the world title race to Pipeline, where he is always as dangerous as a black panther. Don't rule him out. Medina loves chess games.

"It's going to be hard and I'm just stoked to be in the title race. Hopefully I can get a few results now and put myself into a good position for another chance. It's been a different kind of year and I've been learning a lot each year," adds Medina.

And what will Adrian Buchan do, this time, especially taking into consideration that he is fourth on the leaderboard? Can trialists Brett Simpson and Tanner Gudauskas disturb the CT status quo?

All the questions will be answered from September 7th-18th at Lower Trestles, near San Clemente, in California.

Hurley Pro at Trestles | Round 1 Match-Ups

Jordy Smith (ZAF), Nat Young (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW)
Julian Wilson (AUS), Kanoa Igarashi (USA), Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Adrian Buchan (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Kai Otton (AUS)
Gabriel Medina (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS), Alex Ribeiro (BRA)
Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Conner Coffin (USA), Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
John John Florence (HAW), Davey Cathels (AUS), Brett Simpson (USA)
Adriano De Souza (BRA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Matt Banting (AUS)
Kelly Slater (USA), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Italo Ferreira (BRA), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Jack Freestone (AUS)
Mick Fanning (AUS), Joel Parkinson (AUS), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Kolohe Andino (USA), Josh Kerr (AUS), Stu Kennedy (AUS)
Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Michel Bourez (PYF), Alejo Muniz (BRA)