It was a good day in Southern California and an even better day in Brazil. With Brazilian favorites Filipe Toledo and Silvana Lima taking home wins at the 2017 Hurley Pro and Swatch Pro. For the Swatch Pro we saw Lima up against 2016 Rookie of the Year Keely Andrew, this event marked Andrew’s first final appearance while on the Championship Tour. Both Andrew and Lima earned well-deserved spots in this final, each taking out the events top contenders. However these two weren't the only surfers turning heads down at Lower Trestles.
Event standouts included Lakey Peterson who was showing such strong surfing throughout the entire event pushing her through every round and earning her an equal 3rd in a semifinal finish against Lima. Peterson displayed some impressive maneuvers throughout the entire event, throwing airs and earning 9.8 and 9.7 rides in her quarterfinal heat against an equally in form Carissa Moore. The last time anyone saw this kind of marathon surfing from Peterson was earlier this year at Snapper Rocks. Peterson tore up the Gold Coast throwing up multiple 9-point rides and a casual perfect 10 against Lima. Although Peterson placed 2nd at the Roxy Pro Gold Coast, she made it very clear to fans and competitors that after being out on injury for the first half of the 2016 season that she is back and ready to seat herself comfortably in the top ten by the end of this season.
While in previous years the stop at Lower Trestles has been magnified as a crucial turning point in the world title race; this year’s event in San Clemente served more as a training ground for the CT’s rising stars. With the Jeep Leaders’ yellow jersey finding itself a new owner, Sally Fitzgibbons, it will be interesting to see how the European leg unfolds. Between Portugal and France, Fitzgibbons has the opportunity to make her dreams of winning a world title a reality in 2017. However with Courtney Conlogue sitting just behind Fitzgibbons in the rankings at No. 2, the outcome of the 2017 season is still unpredictable. These two incredibly talented young ladies who have both persevered past second place finishes now have the chance to shed their runner up titles in exchange for a World Title. While it is possible that with three events left this year anything can happen, let’s hope that Fitzgibbons and Conlogue can keep their strides going and generate what could be one of the most exciting title races the WSL has yet to see.