Peaky 2- to 4-foot Huntington Beach was the scene of an all out top-seed massacre Monday, the opening day of the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing.
What at first appeared to be the most star-studded roster for a WQS contest ever has been reduced to a field of names we’d expect to see after just 18 heats of round 1. Eight WT surfers were sent packing, including world No. 1 Mick Fanning, Ace Buchan, Owen Wright, Taj Burrow, Matt Wilkinson, Taylor Knox, and both Damien and C.J. Hobgood.
Moments after his surprise elimination, Wilkinson was asked why so many of the elite tour surfers have been losing. He grinned and said, “Uh … we’ve had a few weeks off?”
Wilko is referring to the break between the Volcom Fiji Pro in June and the Billabong Pro Tahiti in August. While some top surfers took up grueling paddleboard races during the break, most went home or on photo trips. But all of them — all 32 that comprise the World Tour — have made the trip over to Huntington for the U.S. Open, which is not a World Tour event. Now, some of them have even more time off.
The event will resume Tuesday morning at 7:30 with the completion of round one.