Stab Magazine | Stab's Picks: 2015 Hurley Pro, Lowers
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Stab’s Picks: 2015 Hurley Pro, Lowers

El Nino’s a frothing triple shot cappuccino and So Cal’s fav skatepark’s loving the effects. Last year’s reigning champ, Mr Jordy Smith’s out for the event. The good news is, his knee’s better. The bad news, his back’s fucked. The boys have been acclimating to Lower’s playful walls the past few days, and it’s been […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 6 minutes

El Nino’s a frothing triple shot cappuccino and So Cal’s fav skatepark’s loving the effects. Last year’s reigning champ, Mr Jordy Smith’s out for the event. The good news is, his knee’s better. The bad news, his back’s fucked. The boys have been acclimating to Lower’s playful walls the past few days, and it’s been kicking. As we head into the competition window, there’s at least three solid days of shoulder-head-high surf for the elite to have their way with. September conditions prevail in San Clemente with warm weather, uncharacteristically warm water and swell. From the five freeway, the cobblestone shore, to left and right hand peelers we’re fit for a pleasant mangling of walls and lips.

Words by Damien Fahrenfort 

desouza

Expect a huge rail game out of Adriano in the next few days. Photo: WSL/Rowland

Adriano De Souza.
Adriano had one of the best starts to the year and extinguished like a candle in a steam-room. Somehow by the grace of God, and a shark he’s still in number one position on the Jeep Leader Board. He sneaked a fifth at J-bay but didn’t look like he had the same rhythm he had earlier in the year. I think he’s due for a huge result here. His wave selection at Lowers is on point. While a lot of the guys sit and wait out the back, Adriano seems to know how to pick off the inside runners that stand up a bit more. My call; going into Europe Mr De Souza will still be in the yellow jersey, coveting the number one spot.

***

Brother

Brother has been looking smooth and at home the past few days, because that’s exactly where he is. Photo: WSL/Rowland

Kolohe Andino. 
Kolohe often falls victim to the same curse that plaques most home town hero’s. All the hype and home town support strangles them into an early exit. Same endemic Bourez suffers from at Chopes. I think this year will be different for Brother. His freesurfs have been incredible. With the swell predicted it’s going to be slightly trickier, but still firing. Word on the cobblestone is Mr Andino’s been going ham and cheese out there the past few days.

***

gabs

Gab takes Lowers lefts tail high. Photo: WSL/Rowland

Gabs Medina
The only thing that’s going to hurt Gabs out here is the judges don’t score the lefts as high. He’s been the highlight of the freesurfs this last weekend and is coming off his best result of the year. Expect big scores and huge rotations out from him. While the rights can get a bit wonky in the surf that’s predicted the lefts are really consistent and a bit more bowly; huge leaps from the Brazilian are inevitable. The downside of Gabs going for broke every heat and posting massive scores is by the time the semi’s come around the judges have seen it all and his scores tend to drop.

***

dearjohn

Last year at Lowers John was unstoppable, until he was. Hands down the most inform surfer of the event, and this year the kid’s got his mojo rising. Photo: WSL/Rowland

John John Florence.
John was last year’s runner up and the best surfer of the event. He put on a free clinic in ’14 and cut some lines at Lowers that I’ve never seen before. He’s been putting some serious hours in the water the last week and apparently he’s been surfing like his ankle was never injured. Throwing airs into the flats and turning hard in the pocket. I’d love to see John get a win and get back on top.

***

bourez

The Tahitian’s got power in those trunks. Here he is last year giving his rail a proper burial. Photo: WSL/Rowland

Michel Bourez.
It’s been a tough season for Michel, especially after his incredible year last year. He’s been coming off an injury and I think he’s going to be hard to beat this year at Lowers. As long as he sticks to his strengths which consist of everything below the lip.  Last year Jords won by sticking to hacks and carves. Michel could get a win this year if he follows suit. The open walls of Lowers don’t need fin free airs just huge amounts of water displacement.

***

Jules

If the last edit Jules dropped is any indication of how he’s going to surf this event, it’s going to be a pleasure. Photo: WSL/Rowland

Julian Wilson.
There’s been no surfer more deserving of a win this year than Julian and this might just be his event. He’s got three second place finishes so far and hasn’t had two shockers in a row yet, my guess is he’s going to fly. What he has on his side too is his backhand is as good as his frontside so with the combo’d swell he will be able to adapt to the conditions. If he focuses on catching waves and giving himself opportunities it will be a really fun to watch.

***

A bad result is looming for these gents who should be in my picks above.
These two should be faves but I don’t think they’ll get result they’re hoping for. I love both these guys and they will both live in my Fantasy Surf team but unfortunately I don’t think they’ll do much at this event. Prove me wrong gents.

Filipe

The antonym to Filipe’s 0.00. Photo: WSL

Filipe Toledo.
There’s two consistent patterns we see from the judges. If you put on a performance to remember the previous event in solid surf (ie. the Pacific leg) then you’ll get rewarded in the next event. But if you put on a performance that’s remembered for how bad it was, you will get incredibly penalized. And after a 0.0 total in Tahiti I think the boys are going to be really critical on Filipe. There’s also a fair bit of surf predicted which might hinder his air game. I actually feel like an idiot saying he’s probably not going to get a big result here because Lowers is the most suited event for him.

taj

With a baby on the way, we’re sure at least Taj will continue to blast his tail. Photo: WSL

Taj Burrow.
My fav surfer of all time has a baby bubbling away and I think his head might not be in the game. He’s had a pretty bad year but there’s no reason that Taj should ever be out of the top ten. He’s done well at Lowers for so many years because he’s such a good surfer but to me he almost surfs too fast for the wave. He needs to slow it down and not get too excited. I think Tb needs a win to get his competitive froth back.

***

Round 1 Match-ups: 

Heat 1: K. Slater, D. Payne, J. Andre
Heat 2: A. Buchan, F. Toledo, B. Simpson
Heat 3: J. Wilson, A. Aranburu, S. Zietz
Heat 4: O. Wright, K. Asing, T. Hermes
Heat 5: M. Fanning, A. Melling, H. Ohhara
Heat 6: A. de Souza, M. Bourez, I. Crane
Heat 7: J. Flores, J. Parkinson, G. Hall
Heat 8: J. Kerr, M. Wilkinson, K. Andino
Heat 9: I. Ferreira, J. Florence, R. Christie
Heat 10: G. Medina, B. Durbidge, F. Patacchia Jr.
Heat 11: N. Young, K. Otton, C. Hobgood
Heat 12: T. Burrow, W. Dantas, M. Pupo

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