With Kelly Slater, Jordy Smith, Mick Fanning and crew making their US Open debuts today, the sea of bodies invading Huntington Beach hit the high-tide mark.
Amidst the swarm of people who have no idea there’s a surf contest going on, there was a noticeable swelling of people who appreciate good surfing on hand. And the Round of 96 saw some pretty solid action in between long lulls.
As one would expect at a place like Huntington, there were some upsets.
Andy Irons had a shocker of a heat, racking up only 4 points total. Andy is a former winner in H.B., so the loss was significant, but whether or not his comeback attempt is sputtering we won’t know until he gets to Tahiti.
Both CJ and Damien Hobgood were eliminated on Wednesday as well. CJ fell to young Evan Geiselman, the man who will undoubtedly grab the state torch from Slater and the Hobgoods some day.
Of those who squeaked through, Rob Machado can consider himself lucky. With just 6.85 points, Rob held a razor thin edge over Chris Davidson, the man who finished 3rd place, for the final six minutes. The ocean went flat.
Jordy Smith and Mick Fanning escaped early exits from competition with solid second place finishes.
The Brazilians air force looks as impressive as ever, with Jadson Andre, Gabriel Medina and Miguel Pupo doing most of the violent strafing.
Big boys Kekoa Becalso and Bede Durbidge didn’t let size matter in the small stuff. They both dominated their heats, as did Mr. Kelly Slater.
The action picks right back up tomorrow with Dane Reynolds kicking things into high gear early.