Plus Aussie rippers Tom Whitaker and hot rookie Owen Wright; Hawaii’s Kai Barger, the world junior champ; former world champ Sunny Garcia; Fred “Freddy Boy” Patacchia, who won it last year; and Tahitian Michel Bourez, to name a few.
In the Oakley Pro Junior, Santa Cruz’s Nat Young leads a hot field of competitors along with East Coaster Evan Geiselman, Hawaiian Granger Larsen and San Clemente’s Kolohe Andino, who look to tear up those rippable peaks.
Last week in Brazil at the Billabong Pro Santa Catarina, Brazilian rookie sensation Andre took the win over nine-time world champ Kelly Slater. Both surfers were ripping heat after heat, meeting up in the action-packed final that was super close.
It’s been years since a Brazilian has won an A.S.P. championship tour event, but an on-fire Andre busted two sick airs on one wave to take a 14.40 to 14.00 decision over “Slates.”
In the semis, Andre also defeated Reynolds, who had the high score of the contest, a 9.77, in his quarterfinal heat for a huge backside monster air.
The new ratings see Slater in first, which made him happy because it’s been a while since he’s led the standings, Smith second, Taj Burrow dropping to third, Mick Fanning an equal fourth with Andre, who moved up from 13th — a nice jump with the win — and Santa Barbara’s Bobby Martinez and Reynolds in equal sixth position.
It looks like it’s the official end of ski season, as all the resorts finally shut down for the 2009-10 season, which was one of the best in years.
RICK FIGNETTI is a 10-time West Coast champion and a longtime KROQ-FM surfologist. He owns a surf shop on Main Street. You can reach him at (714) 536-1058.