Hurley Pro at Trestles – Slater surges, Taj falls

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The 2009 Hurley Pro at Trestles got off to an exciting start on Sunday in small and textured conditions. Opting to use the old contest format with all surfers surviving through the first round, there were no shocking first round upsets, but there were a few surprise wins.

Kelly Slater posted the highest heat score of the day with an 18.50. He got an early 9.0 and backed it up just moments later with a 9.5, leaving his California cohort Rob Machado and Australia's Ace Buchan virtually helpless in the less than stellar conditions.

Local California wildcard, Brett Simpson, fresh off his huge US Open victory, came out of the gates firing with a big win over Aussie stars Taj Burrow and Dean Morrison.

The Fronchies made some of the biggest noise of the day, with all four on tour winning straight through to round 3. Miky Picon took the first heat of the day, topping Aussies, Tom Whitaker and Ben Dunn. Tahitian rookie Michel Bourez took the next Francophone win in round 12, where he had a heated wave exchange with an in-form Jordy Smith, and handily defeated Greg Emslie, both of South Africa. Jeremy Flores followed in round 14 with a convincing win over Basque surfer Aritz Aranburu and the now permanent Aussie injury replacement surfer, Jay “Bottle” Thompson. Tim Boal took the following heat, sending California's own Nathan Curran and Australia's Mick Campbell to the losers round.

Other strong seeds and event favorites performed well in round one, with big wins going to Mick Fanning (AUS), Bede Durbidge (AUS), Damien Hobgood (USA), Fred Patacchia (HAW) and Dane Reynolds (USA).  Wrapping up the first round victories were South Africa's David Weare, Hawaii's Kekoa Bacalso, Australia's Kai Otton and Chris Davidson and Brazil's Heitor Alves.

Day one finished up with a two heat preview of round two, where current ratings leader Joel Parkinson eliminated Hawaiian wildcard Kai Barger, and Rob Machado barely edged out Taj Burrow, dashing Taj's hopes of regaining some ground in the title race.

When competition resumes, we'll see the continuation of round two, starting with a goofyfoot matchup between Floridian former world champ CJ Hobgood and Germany's Marlon Lipke. Tune in to the event website for a complete recap, including photos, videos on demand and heatsheets, and be sure to check in tomorrow for all the live action.

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