Tanner Gudauskas and Mitch Coleborn both won their heats at the Nike Lowers Pro this morning. The prime event is the most exciting of qualifiers, mostly because it’s at surfing’s best wavepark, but also because of the premium heat draw. It’s the perfect filler between Bells and Rio and one that has Stab glued to the webcast. With a three foot swell and oil-like covering today, the playing field went kinda bonkers. Stab spoke briefly with both Tanner and Mitch to get a lil rundown of the goings-on at Lowers, right now, and where they’re both at..
Lowers right now is just so fun! I had fun. It’s just kinda sick. A lot of guys have been flaring up – did you watch that Julian (Wilson) heat? He was going mad. It was kinda sad, (Jules experienced his third consecutive elimination from a Lowers contest due to interference this morning) ’cause he did that huge air and couldn’t even make it with that air. It’s kinda easy out there. It’s just going off. Every heat, guys are getting hail mary scores ’cause it’s just that good out there.
Board-wise, a lot of guys are saying to go with less rocker. ‘Cause the wave is kinda soft, so you want a whole bunch of speed. That gets me stoked ’cause all I wanna do is have speed. A lot of my boards now have been super flat, like ironing boards. I ride the Channel Islands DFR model. I don’t know what (Al) Merrick’s doing – they look flat, but they go really good. A lot of guys are riding Mayhems – there’s a lot of froth about those.
Everyone pulls out crazy wetsuits for Lowers. You know, I did too. Vans gets them from Japan – ours aren’t quite as crazy as the Nike ones, they go for the big, bright colours. But, we actually got a fresh batch that have checkers on them. I like the checkers, they’re like my shoes!
Wardo has been putting in the most time in the water. I heard he was out all day yesterday and he’s still going in the contest, so it looks like it worked out for him.
It’s kinda early to say who’s gonna win! Someone from the San Clemente team would be sick.
The thing I like best about surfing a Lowers event is going left. I don’t get enough lefts in contests. And even if I do, it never feels like enough.
I actually didn’t see any of Julian’s big airs. I heard a couple of whistles from the beach, but I was just kinda out the back both times but not looking in. He kept getting waves just before me, so I missed both of his airs. They were pretty mental though.
I’ve got a really good board under my feet. I’ve been on it for the last coupla days, since I arrived. It’s a 5’10″ Chilli. I usually ride anything between a 5’10 and a 5’11″. Whatever I’m feeling at the time. But this one’s just a regular shortboard.
Flatter boards go better out there? Um, what I’m riding is no flatter than what I’d normally ride. I believe that a good board, mentally, is going to go well anywhere. I just like my board at the moment and I’ve just been doing a coupla backside reo’s, so… (laughs).
I want to qualify for the world tour. I’m going to do all the primes and a coupla six-stars, so that’s the goal for the end of the year – to be on tour. Hopefully I get a good result here. I got a second in Newquay, England last year which I lose from my points, but it’s kinda good ’cause this year they got rid of the one-world ranking and started everyone back on zero. That’s a better way to do it.
The best thing about an event at Lowers is being out there with three other guys. I’ve been surfing out there every day and, the waves are good and everything’s good, but you still come in a little frustrated from the crowd. You sometimes just feel a little bit bummed-out. Even if you get a good wave, there’s often someone in your road, or… it can just be a nightmare. To have it with three other guys is just crazy.
Anyone could win this. All the top guys just got knocked today. It’s that kinda wave, it doesn’t matter how good you surf, everyone can surf it so well. Judging from the past winners, you just can’t tell. Anyone could win ’cause it’s just two good waves in a heat. It’s so mechanical and more of an even playing field. And, it’s a peak situation. Like we just saw with Julian and Lincoln (Taylor), anything can happen.