Surfing Soapbox: Some surprises at Lower Trestles

Well, so much for the Kelly Slater and Dane Reynolds show.

Slater no-showed, opting to surf Snapper Rocks on the Gold Coast of Australia rather than compete at Lower Trestles, an event he has dominated since winning his first professional event there in 1990.

Reynolds' comeback was back on track for one heat, pulling off a magical frontside slob air to place second in his first heat and advance.

But the magic stopped there for last year's No. 4 surfer in the world, who was competing in his first event of the year at Lowers, after suffering a knee injury. Reynolds followed up with a paltry 2.7 total points in his second heat to finish fourth. Yes, folks, a total heat score of 2.7 points.

Last year's winner Gabe Kling was ousted in his first heat along with last year's runner-up, Chris Davidson.

With a small inconsistent swell in the waist- to chest-high range, there have been plenty of big-time upsets; however, the San Clemente locals have been blazing along with the ever-small wave mastery of the Brazilians.

Advancing through Wednesday and on to the Round of 24 were San Clemente's Tanner and Patrick Gudauskas and Kolohe Andino; Santa Barbara's Bobby Martinez; Florida's Cory Lopez; and Brazilians Gabriel Medina, Heitor Alves, Alejo Muniz and others.

Look for the weather to remain nice, cooling a little, and the waves to remain somewhat small and inconsistent. Who's my pick to take a big win this week at Lowers? I'm going for a big Cinderella story outcome with Tanner Gudauskas winning.

JAMES PRIBRAM is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer and John Kelly Environmental Award winner. He can be reached at

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