It's inescapable, as the final day of the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro looms, Portuguese chatter can be heard under nearly every beach umbrella and in every post-heat interview. The Amazon nation is out in force. It's like a tail-flicking version of Carnival down here, but instead of Rio the parade's running straight through the heart of Surf Industry, USA. Bring on the Brazilian revolution, I guess.
Throughout the week embattled ASP vet Neco Padaratz, one of the godfathers of Brazilian style, has been lingering around the contest site. Driving a dusty VW station wagon, with family in tow, he looks contemplative. It's possible he's wondering how it could be that he was born a generation too late. Approaching 40, his body's not what it once was, especially considering the average age of the surfers left in the contest is a spry 22 and a half.
But Padaratz has to take some kind of consolation in knowing that he helped pave the way for what's been happening at Lowers this week. Of the eight surfers left, six are Brazilian; the oldest being Heitor Alves at 29 years old and the youngest a spry 19-year-old Miguel Pupo. When Pataratz started there was little to no support for surfers from Brazil. The sponsorship dollars hadn't arrived, the various junior spawning programs were nonexistent, and lets be honest, when somebody said, "You surf like a Brazilian," it wasn't exactly a compliment.
Enter Alejo Muniz, Jadson Andre, Miguel Pupo and Gabriel Medina. Every grom from San Clemente to Sao Paulo would kill to surf like them. In the words of Samuel L. Jackson, "This is some other level sh-t, man!"
Meanwhile, from a contest that was originally boasted Kelly Slater and Dane Reynolds as headliners, America's hopes have been reduced to a break-out performance by a 17-year-old and an impressive return-from-injury showing by a 22-year-old.
In Kolohe Andino you're seeing the emergence of America's next great surf star. It's like Kelly Slater circa "In Black and White," only better. Andino's doing double duty, blitzing through both the Pro and Pro Junior events. He's hardly bobbled once.
And Gudauskas, he walks through the contest area with that unmissable Gudang grin, like he's having the time of his life. Posted up the beach with his brothers, parents and friends, it's all "just a day at the beach."
On tap tomorrow Surfline's calling for the "small Southern Hemisphere southwest swell will continue to offer very contestable surf on Saturday. We'll also see some small northwest wind swell pulse back up slightly. The morning marine layer will also continue, with partial clearing in the afternoon. Wind will remain light."
This thing will be done and dusted by early afternoon, we'll fill you in when there's a winner.
Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro Non-Elimination Round of 12 Results:
Heat 1: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.83, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.54, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.14
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.70, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.70, Heitor Alves (BRA) 10.26
Heat 3: Junior Faria (BRA) 13.20, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.50, Jadson Andre (BRA)
Heat 4: Miguel Pupo (BRA) Tim Reyes (USA) 12.80, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 10.80
Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro Elimination Round of 12:
Heat 1: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.60 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 9.23
Heat 2: Jesse Mendes (BRA) 13.53 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 12.97
Heat 3: Thiago Camarao (BRA) 16.93 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.57
Heat 4: Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.50 def. Timmy Reyes (USA) 9.33
Oakley Pro Junior Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Dylan Goodale (HAW) 10.77, Tayler Brothers (USA) 9.97, Luke Davis (USA) 9.17, Taylor Thorne (USA) 8.07
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.10, Jack Freestone (AUS) 14.00, Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.06, Doug Van Mierlo (USA) 9.86
Heat 3: Nat Young (USA) 14.00, Andrew Doheny (USA) 12.53, Dane Zaun (USA) 10.26, Frederico Morais (PRT) 8.63
Heat 4: Keanu Asing (HAW) 12.60, Conner Coffin (USA) 10.63, Victor Done (USA) 10.14, Jacob Halstead (USA) 6.87
Oakley Pro Junior Round of 32 Results:
Heat 3: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.66, Taylor Thorne (USA) 13.50, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 12.30, Albee Layer (HAW) 8.27
Heat 4: Kolohe Andino (USA) 15.73 ,Dylan Goodale (HAW) 11.07, Kaito Ohashi (JPN) 10.04, Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 5.80
Heat 5: Nat Young (USA) 14.56, Victor Done (USA) 11.27, Colin Moran (USA) 8.73, Nick Rupp (USA) 8.63
Heat 6: Andrew Doheny (USA) 11.84, Conner Coffin (USA) 11.17, Dylan Kowalski (USA) 9.74, Ian Crane (USA) 9.67
Heat 7: Keanu Asing (HAW) 7.27, Dane Zaun (USA) 6.83, Chase Wilson (USA) 6.34, Balaram Stack (USA) 6.07
Heat 8: Jake Halstead (USA) 14.04, Fredirico Morias (PRT) 13.63, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 13.00, Nathan Carvalho (HAW) 10.43