QUARTERFINALISTS DECIDED AMONG EPIC PERFORMANCES ON DAY FOUR
The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME Nike Lowers Pro saw the Quarterfinalists decided in glassy two-to-four foot waves at Lower Trestles with the remaining surfers consistently putting on amazing performances throughout the day.
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.
Dane Reynolds, 26, got the best of a slow heat against hard-working Brazilian Heitor Alves, 30, in the Round of 24 and roared to life in the afternoon, topping Granger Larsen, 22, with the day’s highest scores of a near-perfect 9.80 single wave score en route to a combined heat-total of 18.63 out of 20 with his unpredictable dissection of the Lower Trestles right-handers.
“I’ve been feeling really sketchy this event and been having unsuccessful free-surfs,” Reynolds said. “I was feeling better in that one. I had been riding a different board in every heat and I rode this one this morning and just stuck with it.”
Gabriel Medina, 18, battled back in an action-packed heat against Brett Simpson, 27. Medina was in need of an excellent ride with time winding down in the Round of 16 match and launched a gigantic air-reverse to earn a 9.50 out of 10 to solidify a victory over the Huntington Beach surfer in a high-scoring heat of 17.96 to 17.43.
“I was comfortable and I knew that was going to be a tough heat,” Medina said. “Brett surfed really well, he had the 9 and the 8 and it was the hardest heat that I’ve had here. I was just waiting for one more wave and I fell on the one before. I needed the last one and I went big and got the score.”
Medina, who will face Dane Reynolds in the Quarterfinals, admittedly has his eye on the coveted 14-karat gold-spike trophy and the Nike Lowers Pro title tomorrow.
“I’m excited for tomorrow and I want to try and win the contest,” Medina said. “That’s my goal. Hopefully tomorrow we have good waves.”
Jeremy Flores, 24, also took out two heat wins today. The talented surfer from Reunion Island notched his first victory over Sebastian Zietz, 24, in the Round of 24, despite breaking his board, and went on to win on a borrowed board from former ASP Women’s World Champion Lisa Anderson, 43.
“I broke my board on this lay-back and Lisa was really nice and let me borrow her board,” Flores said. “It actually goes pretty good, but it’s a lot different from what I’m used to riding. I was lazy this morning and had a hard time waking up. Early morning heats are not really my thing. I didn’t bring that many boards. That one I broke was my best one and I don’t know, I might keep surfing this one.”
Flores went on to get the best of a high-scoring affair over Californian Nat Young, 20, on an unfamiliar backup board in his Round of 16 heat, but looked in rhythm with today’s conditions regardless of his struggle with equipment.
“I got two really good rights with a long wall on the whole wave,” Flores said. “I think I was lucky to get those waves and get some scores. I was kind of trying out this board, I haven’t ridden it in a couple of years so I didn’t really know how it was going to go and it went pretty good.”
Tanner Gudauskas, 23, runner-up at last year’s Nike Lowers Pro, continued to keep the hope of a potential local champion alive when he defeated ASP World Championship Tour veteran C.J. Hobgood, 32, with a dominant performance on both the lefts and rights in his heats.
“It’s just fun to start your heat with rhythm,” Gudauskas said. “I got off to a good start and then it seemed like it just hit the brakes and we didn’t have any waves. Luckily I had that first score and I wouldn’t have been as comfortable had I not.”
John John Florence, 19, further asserted his dominance in the Nike Lowers Pro, topping his idol Cory Lopez, 35, in the Round of 16.
“The waves were super fun and I was nervous going against Cory,” Florence said. “He’s been one of my favorite surfers since I started surfing and surfing against him is pretty scary. He’s so consistent and he’s got airs down like nothing. He’s been looking so sharp and I’m just really happy to have made it through that heat.”
Florence, a progressive leader of the next generation, has appreciated the high-scores awarded for the variety of both power-surfing and above-the-lip maneuvers at this year’s Nike Lowers Pro.
“I love it,” Florence said. “Not everybody surfs the same, everyone has a different style and I like that the judges have been rewarding guys for the way they’re surfing.”
Gabriel Medina won MVP for day three for an outstanding single maneuver. The win pocketed him $500 and the golden jersey for the day. MVP candidates for day four are John John Florence, Jeremy Flores, Dane Reynolds and Cory Lopez. 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 from the 2012 Nike Lowers Pro will air on NBC as part of the “Red Bull Signature Series”. 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.
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.