SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., (May 3, 2012)—The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime Nike Lowers Pro returned to the fabled California pointbreak of Lower Trestles for the third consecutive day and saw young Brazilian talent Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, lead his fellow ASP World Championship Tour competitors in posting the day’s top scores.
|Gabriel Medina unveiled his progressive wizardry. Photo: Hilleman
The Nike Lowers Pro attracts several elite ASP World Championship Tour surfers and the finest up-and-coming pedigree to Lowers’ flawless surf, which consistently provides the perfect platform for a high-performance showdown. The Nike Lowers Pro, now in its fifth consecutive year, touts a $250,000 prize purse, a plethora of points towards the ASP World Rankings and the most valuable trophy in surfing, a one-of-a-kind 14-karat gold railroad spike worth more than $30,000.
Medina unveiled his progressive wizardry on the lefthand ramps of Lowers today, launching the highest scores of Nike Lowers Pro competition. The high-flying Brazilian took top honors, winning his Round of 48 heat and went on to take 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 (BRA), 30, who is consistently a standout at Trestles, 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. I wanted to wait for the best ones and I got lucky.”
|Freddy Pattachia netted a 17.17 out of 20. Photo: Hilleman
Fred Patacchia (Oahu, HI), 30, 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.”
Patacchia, a veteran campaigner on the ASP World Championship Tour, is now out to capitalize on his experience with man-on-man competition as the Nike Lowers Pro enters the latter rounds.
“With the priority situation, it feels a lot more like a World Tour event and you cantreat it like that,” Patacchia said. “The inexperience of some of the guys coming up will really show and guys like the Hobgoods will really take advantage of that. It’s a good experience for them and sometimes they surprise us. With only two guys out at Lowers, you really can’t ask for anything more.”
Patacchia, who won the Nike Lowers Pro in its first year as an ASP PRIME rated event, has his sights set on a second prestigious title as well as the coveted 14-karat solid-gold railroad spike trophy.
“The year I won, the spike wasn’t pure gold, and I’m hoping to snag that thing,” Patacchia said. “I’m feeling good and my boards are working really well. Everyone says you have to take it heat-by-heat and it’s true, but my eye is on that prize.”
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 23, who finished runner-up at last year’s Nike Lowers Pro, continued to ignite his home break and took an impressive win over veteran ASP World Championship Tour surfer Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 40, and former Nike Lowers Pro winner Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 31, 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 (AUS), 45, continued his comeback, and the surfing icon emerged victorious once again today, eliminating top seed Michel Bourez (PYF), 26, 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.”
Dane Reynolds won MVP for day two for an outstanding single maneuver. The win pocketed him $500 and the golden jersey for the day. MVP candidates for day there are Gabriel Medina, John John Florence, Patrick Gudauskas, Brett Simpson and Dane Reynolds. Fans can vote at NikeLowersPro.com/MVP to decide who will win $500 and wear the golden jersey tomorrow.
The Nike Lowers Pro features an HD-quality online broadcast at NikeLowersPro.com with live video coverage and scoring for all five days of competition. A “#JudgeIt” game gives users the opportunity to guess the winner and the winning score of heats via Twitter to win gear and other prizes.
Time Warner Cable is broadcasting the Nike Lowers Pro to over 2.5 million subscribers in Hawaii (Ch. 250 & 1250 HD), Los Angeles (Ch. 101), San Diego (Ch. 411), and the Desert Cities areas (Ch. 111) as part of their ongoing carriage of top flight domestic and international professional surfing events.
On June 16th, highlights and unseen footage of the 2012 Nike Lowers Pro will air on NBC as part of the “Red Bull Signature Series”. The Red Bull Signature Series features the most progressive and innovative surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, freestyle motocross, ice cross downhill, skiing, and BMX events, showcased on custom courses from the inspiration of the athletes themselves. The broadcast is scheduled for 1 pm ET (10 am PT). For more information, visit redbullsignatureseries.com.
For more information on the Nike Lowers Pro, follow the action before, during and after the event online at NikeLowersPro.com, on Facebook NikeSurfing and SurferMag and on Twitter and Instagram @NikeSurfing and @Surfer_Magazine. Start the discussion using #NIKELOWERSPRO right now.
The 2012 Nike Lowers Pro would not be possible without the generous support of sponsors. Special thanks go out to Nike and other event partners Oakley, Verizon, Red Bull, SURFER and ASP.
Official Surfline Forecast for Friday 5/4
Reinforcing pulses of SSW and S swells will maintain head high+ sets at Lowers for the last couple days of the event, along with good contestable conditions overall. For Friday, a reinforcing pulse of fresh SSW swell (205-185 deg) moves in, topping out by mid-day. Surf hangs mainly in the chest-head high range (4-5′ faces), with occasional overhead waves/peaks on the bigger sets (around 6′ faces). Calm to light/variable wind at dawn(likely light offshore), before a light south eddy wind develops around 4-6kts for much of the morning. Also, expect a marine layer in the morning. Wind will gradually veer WSW into the afternoon, becoming light to moderate around 6-9kts. Skies may clear up a little into the afternoon as well, but staying mostly cloudy. Conditions staying fairly clean with help from the kelp.
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