The Orange County surf world's long relationship with its most famous, most consistent surf break has been fraught with tension and battle. The long struggle against the toll road and the locally led, grassroots resistance movement that coalesced into Surfrider's "Save Trestles" campaign have drawn the most media attention. But here in Orange County, there is always something to fight over at Lowers.
There's no feeling in the world like competing with 40 other dudes for makable corners in waist-high wind chop. Or with hundreds of dudes when the surf is half decent or better. Stories abound from the old, old days at Trestles, when surfing the clean-lined point still required avoiding armed forces personnel on a renegade trail down the bluffs. And of course, there's the guarded relationship Trestles has always had with competitive surfing. Allowing a measly three contests per year has certainly, in some ways, kept away the corporate goons and would-be carnival promoters that would cover the beach below the train bridge with tents and logos 100 times that many days of the year if they could. Our compliments to the State Parks. However, when resources are scarce, casualties ensue. Two of the permits issued each year go to the ASP and WQS tours. The remaining slot, reserved for an amateur organization, has been filled for 18 years by the National Scholastic Surf Association. But after nearly two decades of domination at the highly contested break, the NSSA will not be back in 2010. Instead, the California State Parks awarded the permit to Surfing America, another amateur org. According to surfing America, though, a drastic restructuring of the event will mean that next year's USA Championships at Lowers will include the best surfers from all the major amateur organizations, including the NSSA. So ends yet another battle over those glassy peaks. After the USA Championships in Huntington this year, it seems the event will move to Lowers and claim the spoils of its victory. Also, the Hurley Pro, the sixth stop on the elite ASP World Tour, is coming up at Lowers next month, starting September 12th. Weather and waves are expected to be awesome, according to Hurley's website. Check out www.hurley.com/hurleypro for updates, photos and more.
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