Date: Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Conditions: 5-7-foot faces with overhead sets at Lower Trestles
Martin Potter (GRB) vs. Brad Gerlach (USA)
In perhaps the most highly anticipated heat of the 2014 Hurley Pro, Martin Potter (GBR) and Brad Gerlach (USA) faced off in an ASP Heritage Series matchup. The two are longtime archrivals who publicly clashed more than once, the most infamous of which was a 1991 altercation in Japan. During that matchup, Pottz punctured Gerr's board, derailing his opponent's World Title dreams.
"We both know where we stand with each other," Pottz said in a pre-heat interview. "It's a love-hate relationship."
Potter, who was 1989 World Champion, opened the heat with a midrange 4.83. But Gerlach answered back, dropping in to a solid righthander almost casually. He took a deep bottom turn for a big, vertical crack at the lip and seamlessly flowed into wrapping, elegant turns. The judges were pleased; he earned a 7.83.
Potter had priority and tried for a set wave, but he was too far outside and it washed by. Gerr, though, was just far enough inside and took his opportunity. He paddled into another right, showing off another big, opening turn to set up some float time and continue down the line. He scored a 6.33 and solidified his early lead.
Gerr took off on yet another inside wave, but wobbled at the top and fell back into the foam. Potts answered back, driving down the line with signature speed. But he couldn't quite make it up the face for a comfortable floater and fell off the back, earning a 4.83. Gerlach topped the scoreboard with a 14.00 to Potter's 10.76.
"It was so fun to have this rivalry with Pottz over social media," Gerlach said after his win. The additional outlet, which didn't exist when they former pros were on the World Tour, allowed them to exchange raw words ahead of the heat.
In the end, "I was stoked watching him... I wanted us both to catch a lot of waves. It's so rad after your career. It's also really nervous. It's not like you're warmed up.
"I was frothing all day," he added. "I'm grateful I had the opportunity to go against Pottz. I'd also love to against Curren. He always used to beat me, too. Maybe I can beat him now that he's 50."
The first ASP Heritage Series event featured American Tom Curren up against Aussie Mark Occhilupo, who went head-to-head in massive waves at the 2014 J-Bay Open.