Photo: Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, earned the highest scores of Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro competition in his Round 2 heat today.
The second day of the ASP PRIME Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro saw ASP World Tour surfer Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, young local talent Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 22, and up-and-comer Gabriel Medina (BRA), 17, push performance barriers in Round 2 by reveling in the clean one-to-three foot waves at Lower Trestles at San Onofre State Beach to post the highest scores of the event.
The Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro represents the third ASP PRIME event of the year and has attracted several of the world’s best surfers in search of the heightened points on offer towards their ASP World Ranking.
Andre locked into a clean lefthander to unload the highest single wave score of the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro, a nearly-flawless 9.87 out of 10 with an impressive combination of powerful carves before pulling out his signature, frontside air-reverse to add to his 8.60 for the highest heat total of the event (18.47 out of 20).
“I knew it was going to be a tough heat because Caio (Ibelli) is one of the best juniors in the world and Miguel (Pupo) has been surfing so well lately and Austin (Ware) has been on the tour for a long time and I knew I had to go big,” Andre said. “I just did three big carves and a big air.”
Andre, current No. 12 on the elite ASP World Title Race, has been focusing on improving his surfing in all conditions and feels that the training is paying off.
“I’ve been trying to mix it up and I feel good because I see that it’s working,” Andre said. “I’m trying to do other maneuvers, not just one big air. I have been traveling and want to show that I’ve improved. I’m just stoked that I made my heat, that’s my goal.”
Gudauskas slowly built momentum throughout his heat, notching an excellent score of 8.00 for a ferocious layback before unleashing a near-perfect 9.63 out of 10 by blasting a flurry of powerful backside turns on a long righthand wall.
“I really was just out to pasture when that wave came in and everyone slid right because I think they were looking to go left and I just got this chip from out the back,” Gudauskas said. “I felt like I got lucky with the waves I got. I didn’t have rhythm in the beginning and I got a wave, it was just like my last heat.”
Gudauskas’ 17.70 heat total, one of the highest of competition, saw the goofy-footer earn top honors in an intense, high-scoring heat over fellow San Clemente native Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, CA), 17, who advanced in second, ASP World No. 11 Adriano de Souza (BRA), 24, and Pablo Paulino (BRA), 24.
“That heat was so gnarly, I was thinking that if one more set came in I could easily go to third,” Gudauskas said. “Those are fun heats, but at the same time, when you lose those it’s a tough one so I feel for Adriano (de Souza) and Pablo (Paulino).”
Gabriel Medina continued his strong form in Round 2 by putting on a progressive clinic with tail-drifting turns and airs on two steep Lowers lefthanders to earn two of the event’s highest scores of a 9.17 single wave score while dropping a 17.60 heat total to take a victory over ASP Dream Tour campaigners C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 31, and Dan Ross (AUS), 28.
“I’m so stoked to get through and it was kind of hard to surf because the water is so cold,” Medina said. “I got two good waves and I’m so stoked to be here at Lowers. I’ve been here twice and I just love it, it’s a really cool wave.”
Thiago Camarao (BRA), 22, who was testing a new board in his heat, was another high-flying Brazilian who turned heads today by notching a 15.67 out of 20 heat total to take his win over ASP Dream Tour surfer Adam Melling (AUS), 26, who advanced in second.
“I just got a new board yesterday because the waves are so different than where I live,” Camarao said. “It feels so good, but I need to practice more on it on my backhand. I’m sure I’ll get to practice more on my backhand in the next heat, but I’m really happy to have won that heat and to make it through to the next round.”
Lincoln Taylor (AUS), 22, was responsible for the day’s biggest upset by issuing defending event champion Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), 30, and Raioni Monteiro (BRA), 28, early eliminations from the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro by finding the best righthander in a wave-starved heat to advance into the Round of 48.
“It was a solid heat with Gabe (Kling) having won last year and Raoni (Monteiro) has been ripping this year,” Taylor said. “It was one of those heats that was tough for everybody and its just luck at the moment. If you luck into the good one, you’re going to get through and I was lucky.”
Running in conjunction with the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro will be the ASP 5-Star Oakley Pro Junior, which will see the 32-man field battle for the vital points on offer towards qualification for the elite ASP World Junior Tour.
The Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro holds a waiting period from May 3 through 7, 2011 and is webcast LIVE via http://www.nike6lowerspro.com/