The world’s best surfers took to the skies at the Boost Mobile Pro at Lower Trestles today. World No. 2 Joel Parkinson (AUS) and ASP World Tour rookies Dane Reynolds (USA) and Jordy Smith (ZAF) are one step closer to vying for a Boost Mobile Pro title courtesy of the airs they boosted today.
Parkinson drew fellow Australian Dan Ross and was well in the lead when he opted to olley over his opponent while racing down the line in the last heat of the day. He added a big air that looked unmakeable at the end and was awarded a 9.93 that increased his lead and secured him a spot in Round 4. He now holds down the highest heat total of the event – an 18.83 out of 20.00.
“There were so many good air sections in that heat and I wanted to do one earlier but I considered more about winning,” Parkinson said. “There were a couple of good air sections on that last one so I just let it fly I guess.”
Parkinson won the Boost Mobile Pro in 2004 and having not tasted victory for awhile, would no doubt relish victory here at Trestles. Sitting just behind ASP No. 1 Kelly Slater (USA), Parkinson is in a position to stall Slater if he does well here. Adding big aerials to his more characteristic carving turns could be key in that.
“Trestles is probably the most high-performance wave in the world,” Parkinson said. “The swell is here, the waves are good and everyone is just going flying. Once somebody does something really good like Jordy (Smith) or Dane (Reynolds), you feel like you have to keep lifting bars. I’ve tried not to think about that, but it’s like instinct.”
Reynolds’ near-perfect 9.97 wave score, the highest single wave score of the event, helped earn him a heat win over Dean Morrison (AUS) and a berth in Round 4. Reynolds threw down a series of seriously critical turns and carves before topping the wave off with a big 360 air to get the score.
“I actually didn’t think that wave was going to be that good,” Reynolds said. “Dean was asking me if I wanted it and I thought it was going to have too much shoulder to it. I figured I’d go and give it a try and it ended up lining up really well on the inside. I really wanted to go out there and do some airs. I just want to have some fun and it seems to be the only way I can make heats, so it works out for me.”
Reynolds made it to Round 4 as a wildcard last year and, should he maintain his current form, looks like he could easily surpass that result last year.
“It’s basically the easiest wave in the world to surf,” Reynolds said. “I think everyone looks pretty comfortable. As far as high performance surfing goes, it’s really easy to display what you’ve been doing.”
Smith looked like he was about to exit the event with his third 33rd (last place) of the season until he hijacked a last minute wave to earn a 9.93 and win the heat. Damien Hobgood (USA) was eliminated.
“I definitely needed that,” Smith said. “I’ve been getting 33rd’s like I’ve been drinking water so I’m just so happy to make it through to the third round.”
Unlike Parkinson and Reynolds, who both surfed their Round 3 heats late this afternoon, Smith showed his flair in Round 2. Only the first four heats of Round 3 were completed today. He’s now ensured an equal 17th but has come into the event hoping to do much better. He hasn’t made it out of Round 4 yet this year.
“I definitely need to get better than a ninth,” Smith said. “This year I’ve had a shocker with boards and I’ve made a lot of rookie mistakes. I’ve been taking boards I’ve never ridden before to places I’ve never surfed before, which is stuff I shouldn’t be doing. I should be prepared more before the contests, which is what I tried to do here.”
Boost Mobile Pro Wildcard Yadin Nicol (AUS) also aired his way into victory over three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW) to slot himself into Round 3. Surfing in his third ASP World Tour event as a wildcard – he also had a spot in Fiji this year and last – Nicol nailed some signature aerial maneuvers to advance over Irons.
“You’re not going to get the scores unless you go for it and I like surfing like that I’m pretty happy with how things went out there,” Nicol said. “Any result for a wild card is pretty big and I’m stoked with how it went. I think I just got a better start. I don’t think Andy found the waves he wanted.”
Nicol has drawn reigning ASP World Champion Mick Fanning in Heat 9 of Round 3.
Bruce Irons (HAW) won the last ASP World Tour event in Indonesia and maintained that momentum to beat Aritz Aranburu (EUK) today.
“Compared to my last heat that was really good,” Irons said. “I had a bad board in my last heat so I went back to an old-faithful and the waves are good so I just went out and had fun out there.”
Irons has said that 2008 will be his last full-time trip on the tour, but his competitive edge seems sharper than ever.
“Definitely, winning is key,” Irons said. “But it’s my last year so I’m just enjoying it and having fun. I’m getting married and having a kid so things are good.”
Californians Timmy Reyes and Taylor Knox avoided early elimination by surfing well and winning their Round 2 heats today – they’ll now meet in Heat 10 of Round 3.
“I’m glad to make it through that second round,” Reyes said. “I’ve had some tough first rounds all year. I’m used to performing at my best and this year I’ve been fighting just to survive. Hopefully this event can break it all out for me.”
Another call on competition status will be made at 7am tomorrow and Round 3 is expected to resume with Heat 5 featuring Bobby Martinez (USA) versus Ben Bourgeois (USA).