Brett Simpson Wins Second Straight U.S. Open of Surfing Presented By Hurley
If last year was a fairy tale win for local boy Brett Simpson, repeating this year was the blockbuster sequel. “It’s almost unimaginable,” he said “Two in a row—this is the stuff that you don’t even dream about.”
In inconsistent, waist high Huntington surf Simpo took out world number one Jordy Smith to win the US Open of Surfing presented by Hurley and Nike. Smith came in on a roll, winning three of the last four comps he’s done, but had somewhat of a shocker in the final. “I kinda sucked out there,” Jordy joked afterward.
Above: 2010 US Open of Surfing final day highlights.
That makes 200,000 dollars Simpson has won the last two years. Perhaps the only thing sweeter than the big payout is the confidence booster of World Tour superstars he left in his wake. On his way to the final, he took out Dane Reynolds, Kelly Slater, and then finally Smith—three of the top four surfers in the world. Simpson is sitting at the number 24 spot on the World Tour, a bit too close for comfort for the mid-year chopping down to the top 32. And while he hasn’t done as well as he’d like in his rookie year on the World Tour, he’s getting very comfortable beating the world’s best in Huntington. In fact, he won every heat he had at this year’s comp.
There were a few action packed heats earlier in the day (the Mick Fanning vs Jadson Andre quarterfinal stood hair on end), but the last 35 minutes were a bit slow by comparison.
The finals stared off sleepy and jittery, with both Brett and Jordy falling on their first waves. Brett got things on track with a few backside hits on a left for a 5.5, and then it went flat. It was bombing for most of the Allstar heat just before, and then for the finals the ocean turned off. The two sat out the back for an eternity, before Jordy gave up priority on a closeout right.
Above: TransWorld SURF’s Chris Coté interviews Brett’s Dad and Brett’s winning surfboard…
Uncharacteristically, Jordy had some tactical errors and kept looking at rights, which hadn’t been working at all. His high score ended up being his second wave, a 4.33. Meanwhile, Simpson looked like everything was going to plan, as he methodically smashed apart another left and racked up a 7.7, putting Jordy in a tough spot. Jordy needed just short of a nine, and would have to unleash something huge. He had a chance on a set left, but picked the first wave, which had some chop on it. Still, he put it on the line, hucking a big backside air reverse on the end section, but slipped off on the landing, sealing his runner up spot.
“Is this a dream?” said Brett just after escaping the madness of the beach for the stage area. “It’s not rigged guys,” he joked. After last year’s win at probably the most exciting US Open in history, Simpo found another way to put his name into Huntington lore, as the last back to back win here was by Mark Occhilupo in 1985 and 1986.
Now it’s on to Tahiti, where Simpson will be fighting to keep his spot on tour. Only he’ll be doing it with a major momentum push, and 100k richer.—Casey Koteen
Evan Geiselman Brings The 80s To The Pro Junior
Being a top Pro Junior amidst the most chaotic, bikini clad, open bar event in all of surfing is intense. Their pictures are on windows on Main Street, on buses owned by their sponsors, and on any tail they want. How does one stay focused on heats? “I’ve just been having fun,” Evan Geiselman tells me in his dripping wet, brightly-colored-80s-esque Hurley wetsuit. “That’s all I did this whole week. I took it serious but I just wanted to have fun. I didn’t let anything get into my head and just surfed.”
Evan came into the US Open of Surfing as the top rated Pro Junior in North America, lots of pressure to get a huge victory in front of thousands and thousands in Huntington. I partied a few times with him and older brother Eric this week and Evan definitely did not take things easy. Every time I saw him—in the water, on the beach, aboard the Red Bull double-decker party bus, or at bars he wasn’t legally allowed to be in—it was balls-to-the-wall. “It’s been the craziest week ever,” Evan says. “It’s been hard on my body. Pretty wild nights and crazy days among tons of people, but it’s been fun.” Oh to be young and famous. Oh to be in the Pro Junior final in front of all the surfing world.
The four left standing on Sunday were Evan G., Kolohe Andino (despite an interference call in his semis on Saturday. Oh, and he won the Hurley Lowers Pro trials wildcard thing, too), Alejo Muniz, and Miguel Pupo (who lost out to Jordy in the men’s side of things this morning). These four have easily been the junior standouts of the event.
Evan’s air reverses are just so suave and perfectly spun. He starts the final with an 8 via a floater into that suave air reverse for the early lead. Evan’s intensity has been elevated all week—remember, balls-to-the-wall.
Alejo and Miguel take off on the same wave, but separate peaks and are racing towards each other—Alejo going right, Miguel going left. Pupo backs out and Alejo blasts a drifting carve but fumbles the air reverse on the inside. But wait, interference was called on Alejo since Miguel was up first. Alejo gets no score from that wave and only gets one and a half of his waves scored towards his total. Critical mistake.
Kolohe’s first solid score is on a crap, mush wave and he slams one of those backside tail hucking 360 turns—the kind that Dane, Dusty, and Mitch Coleborn all do so violently beautiful. They reward Kolohe’s version with a 6.33.
Despite Alejo’s interference mistake he’s still ripping incredibly hard. A big tweaked air reverse and after the Huntington Hop to the inside another little check air—8.87 puts him in second. If he hadn’t had the interference call he would’ve been carried up the beach instead.
With five minutes left Geiselman is still leading. Kolohe needs the least to take the lead. Evan shadows him and eventually forces Kolohe into an inconsequential wave. Despite their battles they are the best of friends, but they always want to beat the other.
Which of the two Americans brought more girls to their room, consumed more vodka and Red Bulls, danced later into the night? I would say Evan because he also took the biggest Pro Junior event in all of America today. In June he beat Kolohe in the Surfing America Championships, too. “I definitely had momentum from that title,” Evan tells me after today’s victory in that same annoyingly bright wetsuit. “I’ve just been rolling this whole year with confidence. My confidence is as high as it can be right now.”
Partying and winning can still be done in today’s über-competitive, train-all-day surf contest scene, just like it was in the 80s—Evan proved that today. He is America’s best competitive surfer right now—when he’s having fun there’s no defeating him. I’ll let the Golden Boy himself sign off from surfing’s biggest, longest party: “Definitely no better way to cap this insane week off. Nothing’s better.”—Ryan Brower
2010 US Open of Surfing coverage presented by Pacifico Clara Cerveza