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SURFING

Southland Event Lures a Top Field

April 25, 2006|Pete Thomas

Many of the world's best surfers are convening in the Southland for the first time this season, among them Rob Machado, twins C.J. and Damien Hobgood, Taylor Knox and Tim Curran.

They're part of a 192-man field that will vie for $75,000 in prize money as well as tour points in the Body Glove Surfbout today through Saturday at Lower Trestles near San Clemente.

The event was won last year by South Africa's David Weare, who also will compete. But it was Oxnard's Curran who drew the most applause, after a board-grab aerial that he somehow landed after a 10-foot free-fall during his quarterfinal heat.

"When I came down I felt my knees buckle," said Curran, who received a perfect 10 for the maneuver. "I think if I hadn't been wearing booties, I would have broken both my legs for sure."

That might not be a concern this year because the waves aren't expected to be as large as they have been for the previous few contests at the point break.

However, a moderate south-southwest swell is expected to arrive beginning Wednesday and Sean Collins of Surfline.com predicts "head-high-plus" sets for Saturday's finals.

The Surfbout, held in conjunction with the Oakley Pro Junior, will kick off the Macy's California Trifecta Surf Series. Among the series' events are the two-star Newport Pro in September at Newport Beach and the four-star O'Neill Coldwater Classic in October at Santa Cruz. The Surfbout ranks four stars out of a possible six on the Assn. of Surfing Professionals' World Qualifying Series tour, which is a springboard to the elite World Championship Tour.

-- Pete Thomas

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