Many of pro surfing’s greatest moments occurred at Trestles. Illustrator Alvar Sirlin brings four to life.
Tom Curren, 1982, California Stubbies Trials
Before this Santa Barbara surfer launched his pro career in 1982, Australians dominated the world tour. His win at Trestles provided a glimpse of what was possible for the future 3-time world champion and preeminent surfer of the 1980s. Another former world champion, PT Townend, said: “That was the springboard and launch for his professional career, just like it was for Slater at the end of that decade in 1990.”
Gabriel Medina, 2012, Nike Lowers Pro
Medina was not the first Brazilian to win a major event at Trestles (Miguel Pupo in 2011) but his performance at this event in 2012 served as his introduction to the wider surfing world. Two years later he would become the first-ever Brazilian world champion and leading representative of a new wave of talented South American surfers dubbed “the Brazilian storm.”
Christian Fletcher, 1989, Body Glove Surf Bout
An aerial display from this San Clemente surfer marked a critical transition in pro surfing as competitors began tossing their boards above the lip of a wave. Play-by-play announcer Rockin Fig, who was on the beach that day, said “I remember three airs on one wave, just like ‘oh my god.’”
Kelly Slater, 1990, Body Glove Surf Bout
An 18-year-old Kelly Slater was exuberant as he hoisted the winner’s check on Sept. 9, 1990. It was Slater’s first pro victory, and the beginning of the greatest professional career in the history of the sport. “I can probably look back and argue that was the most significant event for me maybe in my life,” Slater said.