The Hurley Pro Trestles, Event No. 6 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, saw the completion of Round 3 today as the world’s best surfers ran rampant over the improved conditions, exhibiting some of the most dynamic surfing of the season as well shaking up the ASP World Title race.
Rob Machado (USA), 36, former ASP World No. 2 and wildcard in the Hurley Pro Trestles, caused the upset of the event, eliminating current ASP frontrunner Joel Parkinson (AUS), 28, from competition. In a somewhat wave-starved affair, Machado tactfully asserted his dominance at the break, scoring two average waves in the opening exchanges and holding on to hand the Australian his worst result of the season.
“The last thing I thought was that I would beat Parko (Joel Parkinson) with a couple of five point scores,” Machado said. “I thought those would be warm-up waves and that we would get a set and were going to post some scores and it just never happened. I’m obviously stoked. Parko is always one of the guys that I’m looking at, he’s one of my favorite surfers to watch and he’s obviously on a roll this year and ing it.”
Speculation abounds over the physical condition of Parkinson, who suffered an ankle injury while training in Bali in August, but the Australian has exhibited on-point surfing throughout the event, only falling to lack of waves in California. Regardless of the reason, Parkinson’s equal 17th today remains an uncharacteristic stumble in an otherwise flawless season, and opens the 2009 ASP World Title race up a bit more.
“I know he suffered a little ankle injury a little while ago and I don’t know if that had something to do with it – it might have been an issue,” Machado said. “If anything now, it’s going to fire him up. It’s been a long break since Jeffreys Bay and there’s a big string of events coming up in Europe, so I don’t know, maybe it will tighten up the race. It’s more exciting for me when I’m at home watching for the rest of the year.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 37, reigning nine-time ASP World Champion and defending event winner, wasted no time in capitalizing on Parkinson’s elimination as he dominated the very next heat with calculated abandon, dissecting the rippable lefts and rights to advance through to Round 4.
“You definitely think about it (Parkinson’s elimination) – it’s impossible not to – but you can’t let it change the way you approach the heat,” Slater said. “You still have to go out there and win. That goes for the world title as well, I pretty much have to win everything from here out to put myself back in this thing.”
While Slater proved victorious in his Round 3 heat today, it wasn’t without difficulty. The Floridian’s opponent, wildcard Brett Simpson (USA), 24, is considered one of the most dangerous surfers on the planet and Slater treated the heat with caution.
“It was good to have a heat with him (Simpson),” Slater said. “Sometimes, for me, it’s harder to have a heat against a guy like Brett than someone like Parko (Parkinson) because you don’t know what to expect and you don’t get to see him all of the time. With a guy like Parko, you know he’s going to go out there and a couple of eights most of the time, so you know what the level is. In that heat, I felt as though if I got the biggest waves I could win the heat, because they were the best.”
A favorite at virtually every event on the ASP Dream Tour, Slater has proven particularly lethal at Lower Trestles over the course of his storied career, claiming the event in 2005, 2007 and 2008 and is on track for a fourth elite ASP World Tour event win here in 2009.
“I’ve been surfing Trestles since I was 12 and I love it here,” Slater said. “This was the spot I really wanted to surf when I was a kid and I won my first professional contest here. It’s been great to me over the years. It’s nice because it’s not so much a wave catching contest than it is a wave riding contest. You’re able to really do your thing either frontside or backside.”
Slater will face former ASP World Junior Champion and 2009 ASP Dream Tour rookie, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW), 24, when Hurley Pro competition resumes.
Dane Reynolds (USA), 24, current ASP World No. 20, continued to unleash his progressive approach to surfing one of the world’s most high-performance waves, punting a massive forehand air-reverse on the way to his heat victory while showing the rest of the world’s best surfers that he is a force to be reckoned with as the Hurley Pro Trestles approaches the latter rounds.
“It was actually a really bad wave so I just went for a big air because I knew they’d (the judges) would give me a big score for that,” Reynolds said. “I was lucky to make it and then I tried to milk the inside. In terms of equipment, you definitely want something fast and skatey and something you’re used to because with those long lulls and you don’t want to be surprised once you get a wave Unfortunately our heat didn’t have a lot of waves and I just made the most with what I got.”
Reynolds will take on wildcard Machado in Round 4 of the Hurley Pro trestles.
Michel Bourez (PYF), 23, current ASP World No. 25, continued the rookie onslaught at the Hurley Pro Trestles, taking down veteran Dean Morrison (AUS), 28, with an impressive 16.10 out of a possible 20.
“That was great,” Bourez said. “A couple of lefts came through, so I’m really happy about it. I was expecting to go left out there. I was watching it earlier and I saw the judges were scoring the left, so I figured that was the option right there. I got one left and had some strong turns on it, so I was really happy about it.”
Bourez will face former ASP World Champion (2001) and current ASP World No. 2, C.J. Hobgood (USA), 30, when Hurley Pro Trestles competition resumes.
Surfline, official foreer of the Hurley Pro Trestles, is calling for today’s combination swell to dissipate throughout the next couple of days before tracking some southwest energy later in the week.
When the event recommences, up first will be former event winner Bede Durbdige (AUS), 26, up against compatriot Kai Otton (AUS), 29.
HURLEY PRO TRESTLES REMAINING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 7: Dane Reynolds (USA) 13.33 def. Ben Dunn (AUS) 12.94
Heat 8: Rob Machado (USA) 11.27 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.73
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 16.83 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 9.24
Heat 10: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 12.50 def. Chris Davidson (AUS) 10.46
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA) 15.10 def. Tiago Pires (PRT) 14.73
Heat 12: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.77 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.50
Heat 13: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.50 def. Luke Stedman (AUS) 10.93
Heat 14: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.10 def. Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.60
Heat 15: Mick Fanning (AUS) 16.74 def. Michael Picon (FRA) 10.33
Heat 16: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.84 def. Tim Boal (FRA) 13.44
HURLEY PRO TERSTLES ROUND 4 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Bede Durbidge (AUS) vs. Kai Otton (AUS)
Heat 2: Josh Kerr (AUS) vs. Adriano de Souza (BRA)
Heat 3: Taylor Knox (USA) vs. Roy Powers (HAW)
Heat 4: Dane Reynolds (USA) vs. Rob Machado (USA)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA) vs. Kekoa Bacalso (HAW)
Heat 6: Damien Hobgood (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 7: C.J. Hobgood (USA) vs. Michel Bourez (PYF)
Heat 8: Mick Fanning (AUS) vs. Kieren Perrow (AUS)