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Haakenson: Check out Hurley Pro at Trestles

Joe Surf

September 20, 2012|By Joe Haakenson

The best surfers in the world are going at it this week in the Hurley Pro at Trestles, a rare chance for many in Orange County to see these guys competing for a world championship.

The Hurley Pro is one of 10 contests in the Assn. of Surfing Professional World Championship Tour, and it's the only one in Southern California. There's also a contest in Santa Cruz this season, but the rest are in the far-off exotic locales such as Fiji, Australia, French Polynesia, Brazil, Portugal, and Hawaii.

There are only four contests left after the Hurley Pro, so this one will go a long way in determining the world champ. Mick Fanning entered the contest leading the World Tour standings, ahead Joel Parkinson, John John Florence and Kelly Slater, who are second, third and fourth, respectively.

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They were able to get in the first two rounds of the contest Sunday and Monday, but surfing was called off because of small waves Tuesday. Forecasters predicted a solid south swell to come in later in the week.

The first two rounds saw the whitewash of a few SoCal surfers, as San Clemente's Patrick Gudauskas and Kolohe Andino, and Santa Barbara's Conner Coffin, were eliminated in Round 2.

Huntington Beach's Brett Simpson, though, advanced into Round 3 with a Round 2 win over Australia's Kieren Perrow, 15.83 to 12.70.

"I was stoked," Simpson said. "I like a lot of waves and I like to get my feet in the wax. KP [Perrow] is a great competitor, a great surfer and he did what I expected, which was to wait for good ones.

"I took my chances on some smaller ones and the judges rewarded me and I'm glad. I just threw out that bad heat yesterday and I was able to find those little ones that I could link a few turns in on."

Waves permitting, Simpson, who began the contest ranked tied for 18th in the World Tour standings, was scheduled to go up against South Africa's Jordy Smith Wednesday in Round 3, a touch matchup for sure.

Slater won his three-man heat in Round 1, advancing directly to Round 3. But it wasn't easy because Slater hasn't been in the water much lately.

"I've got to be honest, I'm not surprised it was a slow one because I had Taylor Knox in my heat," Slater said. "He's had the most restarts ever at Trestles before for some reason.

"I wanted to win that first one because I haven't been surfing that much lately. I surfed all day [Saturday] and I'm kind of tired today. The last few weeks I haven't surfed a whole lot and I'm trying to figure out new boards."

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