That a Brazilian has never won the U.S. Open of Surfing may come as a shock when you consider how similar the conditions in Huntington Beach, California, are to those in the South American country that Miguel Pupo, Gabriel Medina, Filipe Toledo, and Adriano De Souza call home. On Sunday a Brazilian victory seemed like a foregone conclusion with the waves in the 1- to 3-foot range. Four of eight quarterfinalists were Brazilian, with Medina and Pupo advancing to the semis in seemingly unstoppable fashion, and with both surfers landing their signature tail-chuck-reverse on nearly every wave.
But even the Brazilians couldn’t stop the last second heroics of Julian Wilson, who beat Medina in the semifinals in what would turn out to be the turning point in the event. Wilson was able to carry that momentum into the final, where he held the lead over Pupo for all 35 minutes of the heat.
Julian had been a standout since day one, where a massive front-side air-reverse netted him the highest score of the day, a 9.87.
With arguably the most impressive roster of any ASP event ever, and a literal sea of humans in attendance throughout the week, this year’s U.S. Open was not only the biggest event on U.S. soil, but with a $100K first place check, this is probably the biggest win of Julian’s career.
The 2011 ASP Rookie of the Year’s only other Prime win came last summer when he won the Quik Pro Portugal. Coincidentally, in that event he had to beat the same two Brazilians in the semi and final heats.
To get to the final, Pupo shocked a rampaging Kelly Slater in the semifinal, posting two big scores and leaving the defending event champ needing a good score with just over eight minutes left. The high tide and fading swell were on Miggy’s side as the two sat splashing water all the way until the hooter; Kelly had just come off a morning victory over an in-form Dane Reynolds in the quarters.
Lakey Peterson took the ladies crown and Conner Coffin took out a heated junior title.
Click here for photos from the sand taken by Patrick Hourihan.
NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING FINAL
1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.53
2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.76
NIKE U.S. OPEN OF SURFING SEMIFINALS RESULTS:
SF 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 16.33 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 13.33
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.70 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 14.37
NIKE U.S. OPEN OF SURFING QUARTERFINALS RESULTS:
QF 1: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.57 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 8.83
QF 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.00 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 9.84
QF 3: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 19.20 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.13
QF 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 8.84 def. John John Florence (HAW) 8.17