Slater, Machado, and Fanning continue their march toward the $100,000 prize.
By Casey Koteen
Competitive surfing at Huntington has gone through a handful of iterations over the years, and as this year marks the 50th anniversary of surf comps here, it’s only apropos that this year looks to mark the next transformation.
The carnival atmosphere of the past still echoes, due to the sheer amount of people on the beach. But the cattle runs on the beach, the weird drum circles, and some (not all) of the hoopla is largely gone, replaced with a higher focus on surf action. And the $100,000 prize for first place – the largest ever in surfing – doesn’t hurt to bring the action in the water front and center either.
It’s not just attracting fans, though. A bounty of elite level World Tour pros threw their hats in the ring hoping to win the 100-large. Even in early round heats, the star power is already ringing out. When was the last time you saw Mick Fanning in a WQS jersey? If you’re in the mainland U.S., it’s been a long, long while.
Kelly Slater. Photo: Steindler
Slater is here, Yadin Nicol, Andy Irons, Chris Ward, C.J. Hobgood, Adriano de Souza, Taylor Knox, Michel Bourez, Rob Machado, Julian Wilson, and some others. Of those, only Chris Ward and Taylor Knox didn’t advance today, out of Round 3 (48 surfers).
As expected, Slater was the talk of the day. Board choice, new tour buzz, world title hunt, going after the 100k; there’s a lot to talk about. “I feel pretty good, I’m a little tired,” he said. Ironic, since he logged a total heat score of 15.4, the highest of the round. “I’ve been on a lot of flights lately, and my diet has been a little out of whack, I don’t feel like I’m in the best shape, but maybe by the weekend I’ll get myself tuned back up.”
More likely he’ll be tuning some other competitors up on his way to the weekend. And yes, in case you were wondering, he was riding an interesting board, an even greater departure from his last creations. It was a slightly retro looking affair, with a double stringer, and a quad fin set up. It looked like it was going good for him, though, whatever it was.
With this much talent, there were highlights from just about every heat. Brett Simpson and Nathaniel Curran shredded through their heat, the first of the day. Simpson racked up a 13.17 heat score, and looked solid. He’s currently rated ninth on the WQS, and making it through his Round 3 heat is already going to contribute some points to his World Tour quest. “I’m basically even as of this round with my low score, so anything past this is going to get me points,” he said. But, the Huntington local is clearly not done here. “My goal is the quarters.”
Fellow WQS warriors Yadin Nicol and Pat Gudauskas squared up in heat four, and went one and two, respectively. Yadin, rated 23 could especially use the points here. And Pat, who came within one wave of making the World Tour last year, and is currently rated eighth on the WQS, would bloody love to get a result here to kickstart the second half of his year.
Other big winners were Travis Logie, Adriano de Souza, Rob Machado, Eric Geiselman, C.J. Hobgood, Julian Wilson, Mick Fanning ?. too many to list here, just check the results below.
Men’s action continues tomorrow, Round 4 starts tomorrow at 8:00 a.m., and judging by the sets starting to pulse this afternoon, the swell appears to be right on schedule. And it might just be booming tomorrow morning.
The Girls Are Back In Town
By Ryan Brower
The Women’s side of action came out of the gates running today with the completion of the Round of 24. The first heat of the day included 2008’s Womens’ and Girls’ US Open winners, Malia Manuel and Coco Ho. The two teenagers, with their peers Carissa Moore, Sage Erickson, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Courtney Conlogue, made big headway into the Round of 12.
Malia and Coco started off slow in their heat, with Megan Abubo taking an early lead. “That heat started really slow. The waves were changing. The other girls had the lead for the better half of the heat,” the youngest-ever US Open champ stated. “But luckily a few came in right to my little area where I wanted to surf.” Malia and Coco both got the scores they needed, and took the heat one-two. As for the defending champ’s bulls-eye on her back? “I heard Coco’s been talking that she wants some revenge. I’m sure all the girls want it as bad as I do, we’re all going for that title.”
One of their fellow teenage competitors, Carissa Moore, is surely gunning hard for that title. She’s been touted by surf media from here to the end of the earth as the future of women’s surfing. Carissa showed that potential this afternoon with the best wave and heat score of the day – racking in a 9.17 righthander that cornered off nicely and allowed her to throw three power turns. The 16.00 heat score she snagged gave her the win and coincidentally knocked out former US Open and ASP champ, Sofia Mulanovich. Being Carissa’s first year back at the US Open in a few years, it seems she’s adjusting nicely to the circus. “It’s a little crazy, but I’ve got my whole family here and I’ve got their support. I’m just really glad to be back and be a part of this.”
The Round of 12 is set for youngsters Carissa, Coco, Malia, Sally Fitzgibbons, Sage Erickson, Bruna Schmitz, and Courtney Conlogue to all be a part of it. But don’t count out the likes of defending two-time ASP champ, Stephanie Gilmore. She battled through a heat today where she struggled a bit to get a solid score, and still made it through. And though we like to call Steph a veteran, don’t forget she’s only 22. Tomorrow’s Round of 12 kicks off at 11:20 in the morning, so look for the girls to continue raising the level of performance all the way to the finals.
RESULTS FROM DAY 6
Hurley U.S. Open Round of 48 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.17, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 10.97, Paulo Moura (BRA) 7.60, Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 6.13
Heat 2: Dustin Cuizon (HAW) 13.00, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.84, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.63, Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.96
Heat 3: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.10, Nat Young (USA) 11.83, Alain Riou (PYF) 12.63, Casey Brown (HAW) 7.33
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.20, Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.74, Kai Barger (HAW) 12.67, Shaun Gossman (AUS) 12.40
Heat 5: Eric Geiselman (USA) 12.33, Andy Irons (HAW) 12.00, Mike Losness (USA) 11.70, Chris Ward (USA) 10.30
Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.26, Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.83, Glen Hall (IRE) 11.80, Adam Robertson (AUS) 8.27
Heat 7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.90, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.60, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 12.50, Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.83
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.76, Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.74, Kai Barger (HAW) 12.67, Shaun Gossmann (AUS) 12.40
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.40, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 11.93, Brad Ettinger (USA) 8.54, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 7.03
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.10, Leigh Sedley (AUS) 14.34, Jarrad Howse (AUS) 10.80, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.67
Heat 11:Rob Machado (USA) 12.56, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.36, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.83, Roy Powers (HAW) 5.60
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.90, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 10.37, Adam Virs (USA) 7.10, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 5.17
Hurley U.S. Open Round of 96 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 22: Roy Powers (HAW) 14.17, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 13.33, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 9.90, Teppei Tajima (JPN) 6.93
Heat 23: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 11.83, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.13, Joan Duru (FRA) 9.87, Richard Christie (NZL) 2.70
Heat 24: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.00, Rob Machado (USA) 12.73, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.87, Brent Reilly (USA) 7.97
Women’s Hurley U.S. Open Round of 24 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.10, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.83, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 9.33, Megan Abubo (HAW) 9.06
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 12.84, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 7.57, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 7.07, Claudia Goncalves (BRA) 5.10
Heat 3: Sayuri Hashimoto (JPN) 9.57, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 9.27, Leila Hurst (HAW) 7.56, Paige Hareb (NZL) 6.06
Heat 4: Sage Erickson (USA) 12.23, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.74, Ornella Pellizzari (ARG) 7.60, Anastasia Ashley (USA) 4.93
Heat 5:Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.00, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.94, Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 8.67, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 3.00
Heat 6: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.60, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.17, Caroline Sarran (FRA) 5.83, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 3.17