Stab’s picks for the 2014 Hurley Pro, Lowers
Lowers starts in a minute and this contest could not be hotter. Stab regards this moment in time as one of the best in memory to hold a world tour event at a high performance wave. Testosterone bubbles in the wake of biggest and best ever Chopes (for a contest). Flames palpably shoot from the tails of two […]
Lowers starts in a minute and this contest could not be hotter. Stab regards this moment in time as one of the best in memory to hold a world tour event at a high performance wave. Testosterone bubbles in the wake of biggest and best ever Chopes (for a contest). Flames palpably shoot from the tails of two young Brazilians, one of whom leads the title race and will hoist the ASP cup for the first time in Brazilian arms, and the second of whom is the best small wave surfer in the world. Last year’s Australian finalists return, ready to defend. A South African now owns a home locally and sports a new lease on life post near-death Chopes wipeout. And a young Californian, having the best year of his life, will finally perform at his home wave the way he so convincingly did in all those junior and qualifying years.
And so, we had Damien Fahrenfort, a biased South African, ex-pro surfer, ex-commentator and wildly affable savant when it comes to the world tour’s intricacies, provide us with his danger team for the 2014 Hurley Pro, Lowers. Take it, like any pre-event speculation, with perhaps a touch more than a grain of salt.
1. Jordy Smith
Jordy airs out the fins in his new backyard. Photo: Nick Green
Yes, yes, yes, the African bias is rich in this pick but just so you know, I usually don’t bet on him. Especially as of late with his unpredictability and poor performances. A big heat in round one ain’t enough to warrant a pick. So, what’s different about Lowers? A couple of things, actually. Clearly there’s been things that haven’t been working so for Lowers, Jordy’s decided to strip it all right down. He’s finally figured out where he wants to live and bought a beautiful home in San Clemente, meaning he’ll be waking up in his own bed and rolling down for his heat. He’s been surfing at Lowers every day for the past two months, whereas usually he burns into town a day or two before the contest. He won’t be rolling around with a big entourage at Lowers, just his wife and a few good mates for support. He’s figured out his formula, he does his best surfing when he’s just focused on surfing and having fun. Sounds like a simple formula, but easier said than done.
2. Filipe Toledo
Filipe, tight and bright with studio light at Le Trestles. Photo: Tom Carey
If the surf this year is anything like last year, who the fuck is going to beat this fella? It’s impossible. You’d have to cut off one of his feet and even that might not help; He just won the US open with a gammy foot. That injury that made him shy away from Tahiti is all healed up and he’s hungry for a W. His stomping air ratio is higher than anyone else’s in the world right now. The only thing that could make it tough for him is if he comes out too strong in early rounds. Those 9-point airs in round one turn into 7-point airs in round four, and so on. Although his rail game is also pretty good, he could use a couple extra pounds. Maybe come to California early and get on that fast food diet.
3. Taj Burrow
Who doesn’t love the idea of TB getting back to back wins at Lowers? He’s surfing better than ever and loves nothing more than showing the young folk up at the most rippable waves on tour. He’s also probably the coolest cat on tour and overdue for a title, never mind a win. If it’s under four feet he’ll be very hard to beat, but as soon as the surf gets a bit bigger it allows him to start making errors. Bumping into the ex around the event could be a factor, too.
4. Kolohe Andino
Kolohe, glitter under grey skies at Lowers. Photo: Quinn Matthews
Having the year of his life and finally get the results he deserves. What’s changed? Nothing! Well at least nothing to do with his surfing because he’s been surfing unreal the last two years. He’s found his confidence at last, and truly believes he deserves to be on tour. He’s dropped all the other bullshit and now the pendulum has finally swung. Close calls are going his way and he’s the one winning those three man battles. Dream scenario for surf fans: Head high Lowers, light side shore wind for the rights. Kolohe beats Taj in an epic Semi, Filipe beats Kelly in the other. The final is an air off, Kolohe getting the win in the dying seconds by the grace of a huge slob rotator. Weirder things have happened.
5. Gabs Medina
Gabs will be in, minimum, the quarters. Fact. ASP/Kirstin
Probs not going to get the win the event, but quarters or semis at least. Why do I say he won’t win? Because he’s not in “win” mode right now, he’s in “place” mode. After Tahiti he’s got the world title in his sights and he knows he’s just gotta make a few more quarters and semis to wrap this thing up. If he didn’t use all his luck up getting past Kelly in the final then he should probably stop surfing and play the lottery every friday arvo for the rest of his years. He’s pretty good at proving everybody wrong so we’ll see.
6. Julian Wilson
Julian isn’t shy about a 19-point heat total at Lowers (some of his performances last year were clinical). ASP/Rowland
Get your shit together, son. You’re costing me serious tin in the betting department. Since his third at Bells, where he surfed better than anyone in the entire event (except for Jordy’s one wave) he’s been on the decline. But the positive? He’s been surfing incredibly well and if he didn’t hit rock bottom in Tahiti then he should probably lock himself in a doomsday bunker. Airs, rail game, he’s got it all and, like Jordy, they’re both overdue for a win.
7. Freddy P (*Outside Chance)
Oh, Freddy! Make all our dark horse dreams come true! ASP/Kirstin
If it’s all turns, no airs then my man Freddy P could win this event. He got a win here when it was a prime and a second the following year. He knows Lowers well and does big turns. He’s got one of the freshest of rail games and the belief it takes to win a WT event. It’s quite bizarre he hasn’t won a WT event yet and the good thing about Freddy is he isn’t just on tour trying to exist and stay on. He’s there to win events and be in the top five, whether his results show it or not.
Hurley Pro at Trestles Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS), Adrian Buchan (AUS), Travis Logie (ZAF)
Heat 2: Mick Fanning (AUS), Miguel Pupo (BRA), Brett Simpson (USA)
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF), Filipe Toledo (BRA), Jeremy Flores (FRA)
Heat 4: Joel Parkinson (AUS), Kai Otton (AUS), Raoni Monteiro (BRA)
Heat 5: Kelly Slater (USA), Matt Wilkinson (AUS), Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
Heat 6: Gabriel Medina (BRA), Adam Melling (AUS), Carlos Munoz (CRI)
Heat 7: Adriano De Souza (BRA), Sebastian Zietz (HAW), Aritz Aranburu (ESP)
Heat 8: Kolohe Andino (USA), Fredrick Patacchia (HAW), Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 9: Nat Young (USA), C.J. Hobgood (USA), Dion Atkinson (AUS)
Heat 10: Owen Wright (AUS), Julian Wilson (AUS), Alejo Muniz (BRA)
Heat 11: Josh Kerr (AUS), Jordy Smith (ZAF), Tiago Pires (PRT)
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Mitch Crews (AUS)
Swatch Women’s Pro Trestles Round 1 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW), Dimity Stoyle (AUS), Alessa Quizon (HAW)
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Laura Enever (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Mahina Maeda (HAW)
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Alana Blanchard (HAW)
Heat 5: Tyler Wright (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 6: Lakey Peterson (USA), Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), Johanne Defay (FRA)
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