Smart surfing. Sometimes it just comes down to not making mistakes. On about as good of a day at Trestles as you're apt to stumble into on a May Day, the first round of the Nike Lowers Pro in San Clemente, Calif., surfers Julian Wilson and Kolohe Andino came up on the losing end. Talented as they are, it wasn't their surfing that was their undoing, but rather strategic miscalculations.
In the case of Wilson, in one of the last heats of Tuesday, he was humbled by an interference call on a medium size wave. Frustrated, he would go on to surf a near flawless heat, accented by a pair of well-executed nine-point rides. On paper, Wilson shouldn't lose to Jeffrey Lukasik.
Who? Exactly. A hot competitive head gets the best of everybody from time to time, but that's no excuse. He knows better and now he's packing his bags early for the Billabong Pro Rio.
"My last three events here, I've lost because of interference," said Wilson in his post-heat interview. "It's frustrating because the waves are so good. I'm not 100 percent now, but that's no excuse. It's hard, it's my sponsor's event and you always want to do well for them."
Youthful exuberance perhaps, Andino just came out too hot. If you pay attention to how somebody like Kelly Slater builds scores -- "building house" -- as the cliché goes -- he never comes out of the gates with too much gusto. Andino did just that, falling on his first two set waves on ill-advised first-turn airs. He easily could have put two sevens on the board with turns and maybe something a little snazzy on the inside, which would have put pressure on everybody else in the heat. Instead he found himself playing catch-up. He almost pulled it off in the end, but came up 3/10 of a point short.
Surfing smart doesn't necessarily apply all the time. Gabriel Medina, who's been relatively quiet through the first half of the 2012 season, erupted for a 19.27 heat score. After last year's champ Miguel Pupo lost earlier in the day, Brazilian fans were able to pick themselves back up after Medina's showing. And along with John Florence he's one of only two teenagers to have won their heats Tuesday.
For a contest that's been hyped as über high performance, the old dogs were looking a bit swarthy Tuesday. CJ Hobgood, Taylor Knox, Gabe Kling and Glenn Hall proved you don't necessary have to fly to win at Lowers … all you have to do is surf smart.
On Wednesday the first heat will be Dane Reynolds vs. some other people. For him the real test shouldn't be out in the water, but if he can actually make it down to the beach for the 8 a.m. start.
Nike Lowers Pro Round of 96 Results:
Heat 1: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 13.76, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.56, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.97, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 11.83
Heat 2: Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 13.16, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 10.50, Jay Quinn (NZL) 10.40, Davey Cathels (AUS) 10.20
Heat 3: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.60, Tim Reyes (USA) 12.84, Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.57, Brent Dorrington (AUS) 7.93
Heat 4: Gony Zubizaretta (ESP) 14.60, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 13.94, Royden Bryson (ZAF) 13.54, Nic Von Rupp (DEU) 12.97
Heat 5: Glen Hall (IRL) 14.30, Kai Barger (HAW) 13.94, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.87, Garrett Parkes (AUS) 12.40
Heat 6: Travis Logie (ZAF) 15.73, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 12.63, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 12.20, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 9.57
Heat 7: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.17, Nat Young (USA) 12.04, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 10.67, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 7.20
Heat 8: John John Florence (HAW) 16.53, Marc Lacomare (FRA) 14.03, Joan Duru (FRA) 11.40, Dean Morrison (AUS) 11.00
Heat 9: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.03, Cory Lopez (USA) 14.37, Jeronimo Vargas (BRA) 12.46, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 10.37
Heat 10: Gabe Kling (USA) 14.03, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 13.63, Tonino Benson (HAW) 12.67, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 9.60
Heat 11: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 16.77, Adrien Toyon (REU) 15.43, Joel Centeio (HAW) 14.43, Olamana Eleogram (HAW) 12.34
Heat 12: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 16.10, Jeffrey Lukasik (USA) 14.76, Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.45, Lincoln Taylor (AUS) 13.94
Heat 13: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.27, Heath Joske (AUS) 14.27, Chris Ward (USA) 12.76, Ricardo Dos Santos (BRA) 9.00
Heat 14: Charles Martin (GLP) 14.43, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.10, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 12.93, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 10.84