Surfing World Tour Descends on Trestles' Most Famous Cobblestone-Lined Wave, Lowers

Categories: Wax On, Wax Off
The wave at Lowers goes for days ... figuratively.
There's something to love about a surf contest held at Lower Trestles. It's partly the walk from the parking lot, a tree-lined passage, with winds passing through the willows. It's the perfectly manicured waves, thanks in large part to the cobblestone bottom. It's the limitless potential each wave offers as it works its way toward shore. It's seeing compelling waves to ride to the north, at Uppers, and to the south at Churches and San Onofre in the distance.

That's what the Hurley Pro (the Boost Mobile Pro before that) has to work with. Up until this year, it was the only contest on the U.S. mainland, but no one seemed to complain because it was a contest to remember nearly every single year.

The contest is the first event with the reshuffling of competitors based on the World Rankings, and is seen as a springboard for those who are serious in making a run at the world title.

The contest window opened on Sunday, and by this morning, Round 1 and 2 were already in the rearview window. Unfortunately, in the final heat of Round 2 on Monday, San Clemente's Pat Gudauskas came up short against Hawaiian Fred Patacchia, leaving Huntington Beach's Brett Simpson as the lone OC competitor remaining in the contest.

Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Brett Simpson threw everything he could at Joel Parkinson, but couldn't manage the win.
​But that wouldn't last long: in Heat 10 of Round 3, Simpson came up against Australian Joel Parkinson. Simpo has been a bit of a Parko-killer of late, taking him down in a few heats this year. The heat started with a bang, with both competitors stroking into set waves right after the opening horn. Simpo was looking smooth and powerful, racing across the long deep green wave faces and landing his aerials with ease. He managed a 9.1 on his second wave, which would remain the highest score of the heat.

"He can go all day with [spins and aerials]," said Parko after the heat. "He's an amazing surfer."

While Simpo was catching wave after wave, mostly under Parko's priority, Parko sat patiently outside, waiting for the waves that showed the greatest scoring potential. And the strategy worked, as he found a pair of 8-point-plus scoring waves that left Simpo scrambling for an adequate back-up score.

After landing a 360-degree rotation on his final wave, Simpo provided an arm gesture to the judges, showing his frustration with their scoring. That was followed with a punch to his surfboard once he reached the shore. 

For yet another year, an OC competitor won't be taking home the title at Lowers, but that doesn't seem to diminish the enthusiasm of those who've made the hike down to the beach. Rankings leader Kelly Slater remains; so too does Owen Wright, the young Australian who defeated Slater in New York. There'a world title chase in the works, and the Hurley Pro will certainly play its role.

Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
John Florence was in the heat of the day, coming up short against Owen Wright.
Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Owen Wright has kept the momentum from his New York win rolling along.

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