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Surf fans head to Trestles as world’s best kick off big contest

September 6, 2017

The waves were small, but the action was big at Lower Trestles.

The world’s best surfers on Wednesday, Sept. 6, kicked off a big surf contest at the cobblestone beach just south of San Clemente. The women hit the water first as the Swatch Pro got underway.

The contests draw hard-core surf fans who make the trek down to Lower Trestles to see their favorite surfers up close. On Wednesday, the waves were in the 2- to 3-foot range, but surfers made the best of the conditions.

Local favorite Courtney Conlogue won her round 1 heat, allowing her to jump to round 3 when the contest resumes.

Conlogue, of Santa Ana, didn’t have trouble finding waves, and took control of the heat after posting big scores. She’s been surfing at Lower Trestles since she was 6 and knows the surf break better than anyone.

“Honestly, I was just wanting to get the ball going, the waves are kind of tricky and funky,” she said via live webcast. “I ended up linking up with some good sets and having a blast.”

And having just two other surfers in the water is a perk of the job.

“This is what it’s like to have no one in your way, this is awesome,” she said, laughing.

The waves dictate when the contest starts, with a waiting period running through Sept. 17. The surf was so dismal on Wednesday that the contest ran only a few hours, ending before noon.

In the men’s event, the Hurley Pro, local surfers will be rooting for San Clemente’s Kolohe Andino and Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi, who is coming off a win at the U.S. Open of Surfing a few weeks ago.

San Clemente transplant Jordy Smith, of South Africa, is the reigning champ of the event.

Getting there: Take I-5 and exit Basilone Road and see contest entrance to the right. Parking is $20. A shuttle also runs from the San Onofre campground parking lot.

Forecast: Waves look dismal for the first part of the event, but a swell is in the horizon for the last half of the waiting period.

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