[UPDATE: Brazilian Takeover Complete; Gudauskas Second] World's Best Surfers Descend on Trestles--Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Miguel Pupo's $30,000 chew toy.
Check out photo highlights from the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro.

UPDATE, MAY 7, 9:28 P.M.: In the end, Tanner Gudauskas couldn't be perfect. He was the only surfer left holding back the utter domination by the Brazilians. He held on until there were just minutes to go, when he let, what seemed, a harmless one-and-a-half foot left pass by and go to his Brazilian competitor in the final, Miguel Pupo.

Who knew what the 19-year-old Pupo would do.

The little left provided enough juice for Pupo to power two air maneuvers and earn a 5.5, good enough to back up his earlier 8.3 and secure the win.

"I just couldn't do those maneuvers on that wave," Gudauskas said afterward.

While Pupo was chaired on the shoulders of his countrymen, Gudauskas was met at the shoreline by his brothers, Pat and Dane, for a Budweiser bath. The disappointment was clear on his face. But he couldn't help enjoy the heat and the moment a bit.

TannerGTurn.jpg
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Gudauskas put his power surfing to use, but couldn't manage the scores necessary to win on this day.
"I've just been having the most fun, it's just been wake up, have fun and go to bed," Gudauskas said, his contagious smile plastered on his face.  "It's cool having everyone down here; it's a special energy, you can hear it. To have all this happen, I'm so stoked it happened here."

Prior to his loss in the final, Gudauskas hadn't finished worse than first from the first round.

OC's other remaining surfer on the final day of the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro was Kolohe Andino. Mother Ocean didn't cooperate, providing two- to three-foot, windblown waves, and they seemed to have an effect on Andino's typically flawless surfing. He was catching rails, failing to land airs he's made his trademark throughout the two contests (he also competed in the Oakley Junior Pro, where he finished 3rd) and not picking the best waves that came through.

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Heitor Alves has been part of the Brazilian dominance.
ORIGINAL POST, MAY 6, 3:03 P.M.: As you read this, there's a surf contest on-going. The waves at Lowers, in San Onofre State Park, have been off limits to recreational surfers since Tuesday afternoon, reserved for the world's best pros and junior pros. Sadly, Kelly Slater didn't make the trip (waves were pumping in Australia), but OC's prodigal son, Kolohe Andino (second-coming of Kelly?) is doing double-duty and providing the wow-factor.

The waves for the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro and Oakley Pro Junior haven't been big, but they've held consistent in the 2- to 4-foot range, remaining well-groomed, with hardly a puff of wind since the first contest horn sound. Surfers from the U.S., Brazil, Hawaii, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Spain, France, Ireland and Portugal have transformed Lowers' slopey wave faces into an aquatic skatepark.

The winner's share of the $250,000 purse is an oversized check for $40,000. And as if that isn't enough, the winner's trophy is a 14-karat solid gold railroad spike, handcrafted by master goldsmith Richard Nunez, which is worth $30,000.

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Despite a heat win, Tanner Gudauskas had his gameface on post-heat.
​Through five rounds of surfing, if the surf world has learned any one lesson so far, it's that the Brazilians are going to be a force to reckon with for years to come. Going into the Round of 12 (known as the No Loser Round) on Friday morning, of the remaining 12 competitors, eight were of Brazilian descent. 

The other four represented the USA, and of those, three call OC home: Andino (San Clemente), Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente) and Timmy Reyes (Huntington Beach).

After getting the first round of the juniors out of the way, the main attraction resumed under overcast skies. The waves were as they'd been since day 1: glassy and offering enough power for the new school repertoire of tricks to be on display. Both Gudauskas and Andino managed to win their heats, with a combination of full-speed hacks off the top and the occasional full-rotation air manuever. 

"The ocean really cooperated for me," said Andino, after his win with a heat score of 14.7 (out of 20).

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Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Kolohe Andino makes it look easy. It helps that Lowers is his homebreak.



Unfortunately, Reyes lost in his Round of 12 (Loser Goes Homes) heat, but still managed his best result of the year. 

When the event resumes on Saturday morning, for its final day of competition, the pro event will begin with the quarterfinals, while the juniors will begin with the semifinals.

The Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro is an ASP Prime event, which is a step down from the ASP World Tour, but the contest offers valuable qualification points, which come into play at the midpoint of the year (staying on or hopping on the WT) and the end of the year (qualifying or re-qualifying for the WT).

The surfing circus will be passing through Trestles again soon, when the World Tour returns Sept. 18-24 for the Hurley Pro.

For Saturday, the event will resume with the following quarterfinals heats:
Heat 1-- Tanner Gudauskas (USA) vs. Heitor Alves (BRA)
Heat 2--Kolohe Andino (USA) vs. Jesse Mendes (BRA)
Heat 3--Junior Faria (BRA) vs. Thiago Camarao (BRA)
Heat 4--Miguel Pupo (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)
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