LOWER TRESTLES, San Clemente, California (Monday, September 9, 2013) – C.J. Hobgood (USA), 34, 2001 ASP World Champion, has had an excellent start to his 2013 ASP WCT campaign and sits just inside the Top 10 following the Billabong Pro Tahiti. With Hobgood currently competing in his 14th year among the world’s best surfers, the Floridian knows the intricacies of the WCT more than most. Hobgood recently chimed in on The Inertia to share his thoughts on the upcoming Hurley Pro at Trestles, an event that often marks a turning point for both the ASP World Title Race and precious requalification campaigns. This… is his story…
Trestles is the time to reset the clock and wipe the slate clean. At least, that’s what every surfer on Tour is telling themselves. You almost get that first contest of the year feeling – the one we all get at Snapper.
You see, at this point in the season, the ones at the bottom know that everything can change because Trestles starts a long leg of back-to-back contests. And what better way to get on a roll through Europe than to get the motor fired up at a place like Trestles?
If you can do that, it doesn’t matter how far back you are, you will re-qualify. Brother was a good example of this last year. Coming off an injury, he banged out two ninth place finishes in France and Portugal and re-qualified.
The guys in the middle of the pack who are out of the World Title race want to get on a roll and move up in the rankings, but the only thing they should be concentrating on is getting a win before the year ends. Well, that and surfing well – win or lose. But they already did enough work to re-qualify, and no one remembers the guy who got ninth or 15th, except maybe some fine print in their contracts. I can’t remember who finished in those places last year, but I always remember a win, so since they’ve already solidified their position for next year, they may as well go for it.
Then there are the guys in the World Title race. They understand that the past doesn’t matter. They know exactly what needs to be done in order to keep them in the race until Pipe: consistency.
There are four guys who are really in the World Title race right now: Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Joel Parkinson and Jordy Smith. Taj Burrow is hovering on the outside.
Finishing in the quarters or above partnered with a win in these last four events could net any of them a title.
Now that we’ve talked about where their heads should be at, let’s talk about where their preparation should be at going into Trestles.
Everyone is ordering their fair share of boards from California shapers, the lion’s share of which are Channel Islands or Mayhems. An important rule in competition surfing is to never stop searching for that magic board even if you have one in the bag already. A magic board for Trestles will translate into one for France and Portugal.
Take Alejo Muniz, for example. The guy’s been having a tough go this year. His DHDs haven’t been working that well for him, as illustrated in Bali when he was going backwards in his heats. When he showed up to the US Open with a Mayhem he ordered from a different shaper, he got a win.
Then there are the fins, which I talked about at length a little while ago. The majority of the surfers you’ll see at Trestles will be on thrusters. You may see a few experimenting with a quad or a quad guitar pick (five fins), depending on the size. Trestles is a wave that slows up at times throughout the ride, making you cut back and change directions a lot, especially on the left. Thrusters are, in general, the best overall compromise.
Now that we’ve checked off the brain puzzle, the board puzzle, and the fin factor, let’s talk about the fun part: surfing with 40 of your best friends and trying out different equipment, finding out what works best.
Everyone basically puts on their dick hat and gets the work done, while trying not to lose too many fans in the process. Most of the competitors are in the same boat, so everyone understands.
Then let the games begin. Get a game plan and be prepared to adjust it, as Trestles is notorious for handing you a heat with either no waves or slim pickings.
Watch Hobgood compete at the Hurley Pro at Trestles from September 15 through 21, 2013.