Well, John Florence’s Knee Looks Fine
And Tanner Gudang’s Ten Point Ride.
The morning started on a sad note with the death and apparent suicide of David “Woody” Wood. Who served on the ASP/WSL security for 20-plus years, and the post heat interviews saw hearts go out to his life and his family.
In the early morning, the girls pushed their way through round two. The waves were clean, still a bit slow and it wasn’t until about 1 or 2 pm that the surf became consistent. By the day’s end, shoulder-head-high-plus sets were drifting through the cobblestone point and despite decent onshore flow, the world’s best showed us the high-performance field, better known as Lowers.
At 11 am, round one of the men’s kicked off. One of San Clemente’s transplants, Jordy Smith (who won at Lowers in 2014), took the first heat. The big man from South Africa worked the waist to shoulder-high surf on tap, riding his 6’0 Channel Islands Bunny Chow Epoxy. He set the tone for high scores early and put up the first nine of the day with a wrapping fins free whip, where he let the tail slide back into the pocket before putting the pressure on his toe side and regaining control. After Jordy’s nine, Nat Young and Keanu Asing were without hope.
“I worked my ass off on the first one,” said Jordy after his heat. “The tide’s coming up, and the waves are gonna get flatter. I just put something in the bank and went for a good one when I got priority. I switched to my epoxy because with the higher tide you need a board that floats over the water.”
Local wildcard, Tanner Gudauskas displayed his knowledge of the break with the only perfect ride of the day. As the swell came up so did the wind, which put ribs on the wave face. As fun as Lowers stays when there’s texture in the water, the lumps force extra focus on drawing the right lines. Tanner’s surfs Lowers at the highest level, and it was round two for Conner Coffin and Matty Wilko.
“I was wanting that Johnny smooth wall,” said Tanner in his post heat interview. “I’ve never felt this frothed, fired up and focused. I just want to prove that I deserve to be here and have been trying my hardest on the QS. I’m just really grateful to be representing San Clemente.”
There’s been a lot of discussion surrounding John’s knee. But after his performance in round one, the verdict is in. John’s knee’s doing just fine. “I’m not injured,” he laughed to Rosie Hodge. “I was just joking. It’s feeling great. It was just a minor tweak to my MCL. That last wave in Tahiti just crunched me down; it’s all good.”
Kelly Slater came out in round one firing. After his win in Tahiti, it looks like his competitive spirit is back. He’s excited to surf and is performing at the level we come to expect from the King. His heat vs Filipe Toledo was a back and forth showdown. Kelly led up until the final two minutes. Then Filipe shattered his round three hopes with a nine-point ride. He initiated it with a committed layback, drifting his tail and stabilising his rail with his hand on the rebound. A few more hits down the line dropped Mr Slater into round two.
Joel Parkinson had the highest heat total of the day (18.67) vs good friend and longtime competitor Mick Fanning, and Jadson Andre. Joel put up a nine early in the heat then backed it up with another. Jadson and Mick surfed good, but couldn’t ante up to Parko’s excellence.
Today ended after the 11th heat with a severely slow showing of waves. Stu Kennedy won with two five-point rides over Josh Kerr and Kolohe Andino. The hometown curse for Kolohe continues, he didn’t catch a single wave until the final ten minutes and finished with a heat total of 3.43.
The final heat of round one will commence tomorrow featuring Sebastian Zietz, Michel Bourez, and Alejo Muniz.
Unlocked: Kael Walsh, Rolo Montes, And Al Cleland Jr In ‘Saturn’
Quik’s new 20-minute surf film is so good you’ll want to burn a DVD of…
How Surfers Get Paid, Episode 4
The energy drinks are here. They’ve got millions of dollars, and they want your head.
‘Saturn’ Orbits Into Southern California
Quiksilver's newest film made landfall in Encinitas, and we were there to document the occasion.
The Vans Triple Crown Of Surfing Returns In 2023
Can anyone beat John Florence and Carissa Moore in a three-week window?
What Will Airs Look Like In 10 Years?
The final installment of our editorial exploration into the nuances of airborne surfing.
Can A South African Cavern Queen With No Pipeline Experience Do Well At The Vans Pipe Masters?
Sophie Bell will have a steep learning curve in Hawaii.
After Years Of Tragic Shark Attacks, Surf Competition Returns To Reunion Island — And A CT Event Could Follow
"We compete at J-Bay and Margarets where there's the same problem." -Johanne Defay
Sharing Tubes And Hummus In The Middle East’s Surfing Jewel: Israel
No Contest does Tel Aviv!
Joao Chianca Wants A Pipeline Rematch With JJF
And ain't afraid to ride more foam to do it in the Vans Pipe Masters.
An Unorthodox Marriage Of Science And Surf
Cliff Kapono and The Mega Lab are changing stereotypes on all fronts.
Harry Bryant Dumps Crutches, Visualizes Pipeline Pits After Snapping Leg
“For once in my life, I’m taking something a bit more serious."
What If You Bought This Sumatran Surf Camp For $690k?
Making a blue print out of surfing's most recurring day dream.
Sierra Kerr On Greasing Full Rotes, Making Dad Cry & Her Concussion @ VSHPBME
'I haven’t got my license yet, but I'm thinking of buying a little truck.'
“There Definitely Needs To Be More Girls That Try Airs”
Caity Simmers' thoughts on her Vans Pipe Masters debut.
Preview: Who’s John John Florence Flushing Down The Haleiwa Toilet Bowl?
The final event of the CS schedule is almost upon us. Let's dissect.
How A Magic Island Birthed One Of The Most Radical Surf And Skate Scenes In The World
Mateus Herdy, Pedro Barros and friends in Red Bull x Stab's No Contest, Brazil.