Several of the world's top-ranked surfers are in Orange County this week to compete in the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro at Lower Trestles in San Clemente.
Conditions permitting, the event is scheduled to run through Saturday.
The Assn. of Surfing Professionals PRIME event has drawn 36 surfers from the elite World Championship Tour, each looking to earn points and maintain their world rankings. Dozens of up-and-coming professionals are also entered in the field of 128.
The PRIME events debuted last year and consist of a limited number of contests at some of the best venues in the world.
With the ASP World Tour field reducing from 45 competitors to 32 at the halfway point of this season, the points available at the PRIME events become of greater importance in surfers' overall ranking for the year.
Among those entered are five surfers ranked in the top 10 on the ASP World Tour. Jordy Smith of South Africa is No. 3, Adriano De Souza is No. 6, Dane Reynolds of Ventura is No. 9 and Adrian Buchan of Australia and defending champion Fredrick Patacchia of Hawaii are tied for 10th.
Four rookies on the ASP World Tour who hail from Orange County are also entered: brothers Patrick and Tanner Gudauskas of San Clemente, Nate Yeomans of San Clemente and Brett Simpson of Huntington Beach.
"I am always really stoked to compete at Trestles," Tanner Gudauskas said. "Actually, I am always super stoked to just surf at Trestles, but to have only three other guys out is the cherry on top of the cake. Last year was cool to get a result there; it definitely fired me up and put me on the track to keep getting results."
Yeomans, who advanced to the semifinals last season, is also looking forward to competing in his backyard again.
"For me, having the local support has been big," Yeomans said. "I think the major thing is you come into the event with more confidence. At this level, confidence is a huge factor."
The event also offers crucial points for those competing on the World Qualifying Series.
Other popular surfers scheduled to compete are Taylor Knox of Carlsbad, Damian Hobgood of Florida, Sunny Garcia of Hawaii and Cory Lopez of Florida.
Running concurrently with the Nike 6.0 is the Oakley Pro Junior, which will feature 32 surfers age 20 years and younger.
Forecasters are calling for a small but contestable south-southwest swell for the start of the event.
According to Surfline, the official forecaster, a new and good-sized south-southwest swell will build throughout today and appears strongest Thursday.
The swell is expected to slowly fade heading into the weekend.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun