In 1991, Brad Gerlach and Martin Potter had a famous altercation during a tense heat in Japan. More than two decades later both surfers competed against each other at Lower Trestles.
Twenty-three years ago, Potter punctured Gerr’s favorite surfboard and put an end to the Floridian’s world title hopes. Brad finished the 1991 ASP World Tour runner-up, right behind Damian Hardman.
“Heat starts, I’m kind of leading, he’s got priority. A wave comes through, and he ends up letting it go. So I turned around and went and ended up blitzing the wave all the way to the beach,” explains Potter.
“I ended up beating him and ruining his chances for a World Title. When I was paddling back out, I had a big smile on my face because I knew he had just totally screwed up.”
The incident forced contest officials to suspend the heat. “We were getting into it. It was about 10 minutes in, and it could have got ugly if they didn’t call us out of the water, so it’s probably good that they did,” adds Gerlach.
But they’ve returned to the water. Together, at Lower Trestles, for an ASP Heritage Series clash.
The 1989 world surfing champion opened hostilities with a 4.83, but Gerlach answered back with a solid right-hander punctuated by a deep bottom turn for a big, vertical crack at the lip and impeccable turns. The judges were awarded him a 7.83-point ride.
The archrivals kept reliving the 1990s. Potter loses a set wave, and Gerr takes 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.
“It was so fun to have this rivalry with Pottz over social media. 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,” explained Brad Gerlach.
“I was frothing all day. 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.”
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and Gerlach waited 23 years.
ASP Heritage Series | Lower Trestles
Brad Gerlach (USA), 14.00 def. Martin Potter (ENG), 10.76
“Ger’s never going to be accused of not being stylish, he loves to bathe in it – sometimes to much” – Ross Williams
Longtime rivals Martin Potter and Brad Gerlach face off in the second Heritage Series heat at Lower Trestles.