By Andrea Swayne
At the start of Day 3 of the Hurley Pro and San Onofre State Beach, Lower Trestles today, San Clemente had two local surfers in the mix. The day ended with only one left standing.
Man-on-man Round 3 heats saw Kolohe Andino’s campaign come to an end at the hands of Australian, Taj Burrow, who beat him with a two-wave combined score of 16.20 points (out of 20) to 14.67.
Later in Round 3, San Clemente’s Patrick Gudauskas caused the upset of the day eliminating 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Florida) 15.57 to 14.80.
Not only did Gudauskas’ win stop Slater’s string of consecutive Hurley Pro wins at three, it also threw a bit of a kink into the defending champion’s race for a 12th world title by allowing others to gain on Slater’s No. 1 ranking going into this event.
Gudauskas continued his hot streak in Round 4 striking early with a 7.40-point ride that would remain the highest wave score of the heat, that is until he struck again with a last-minute 7.83 just seconds before the buzzer. Gudauskas’ 15.23-point total left Brazilian, Adriano De Souza (13.40) and Australian, Kai Otton (13.03) in his wake and sent him straight through to the quarterfinals and a guaranteed minimum fifth-place finish.
“I’m so pumped … I was thinking, when we surf in the winter time out here on those north swells and there’s no one out, it’s kind of like this, real dribbly and an occasionally a good left. So I kind of just felt right at home out there. And those guys have been surfing great all year, so it’s nice to beat them,” said Gudauskas in his post-heat webcast interview.
Gudauskas said the crowd of supporters cheering him on from the beach also served as great motivation for him throughout the day’s competition.
“When the sets were coming I could hear them roaring … It really gets me fired up when I know the whole tribe is down on the beach … it’s been a pretty sick day … I’m pretty stoked,” he said.
Going into the competition Gudauskas was ranked No. 36 and surfing as an alternate, having narrowly missed qualifying for this year’s World Tour. He had also never won a heat in professional competition at Lowers. His Round 4 win today marked three heat victories in a row. Could this momentum and home break advantage carry him to a victory that will help boost him back into the Top 34 and re-qualification for next year’s Tour? Fans and friends hoping to see that happen, are planning to turn out in droves again tomorrow to show their support and cheer on the local favorite.
Conditions permitting, the action will resume tomorrow with Round 5. Contest officials will make the first call at 7:30 a.m. to determine whether the event will resume or a lay day will be called. The waiting period for the Hurley Pro runs through September 21.
Catch all the action on the live webcast at www.thehurleypro.com.
CJ Hobgood, USA
Kai Otton, AUS
Adriano De Souza, BRA
Taj Burrow, AUS
Mick Fanning, AUS
Travis Logie, ZAF
Adam Melling, AUS
Josh Kerr, AUS
Jordy Smith, ZAF
Patrick Gudauskas, USA (San Clemente)
Michel Bourez, PYF
Julian Wilson, AUS