HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – The Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing today announced a global record $100,000 first place prize (up from $20,000) and a hefty $225,000 overall purse (up from $145,000) for the men's six-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event. The epic field of world-class competitors is headlined by nine-time world champion Kelly Slater; former world champions Andy Irons, Mick Fanning, C.J. Hobgood and Sunny Garcia; and three-time U.S. Open champion Rob Machado.
The Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing, the world's largest professional surfing competition, begins its nine-day run on Saturday, July 18 at the Huntington Beach pier and continues through Sunday, July 26. The event is owned and produced by IMG, a global leader in sports and entertainment. More information and live event coverage is available at www.usopenofsurfing.com.
With two dozen elite ASP World Tour athletes slated to compete (up from eight in 2008) along with most of the top-tier WQS stars, the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing boasts the highest quality roster for any qualifying event outside of the Triple Crown in Hawaii.
The unprecedented infusion of prize money is certain to boost the intensity level across the entire world-class field and make the competition more difficult for America's top-rated WQS campaigners Tanner Gudasukas (#6), Brett Simpson (#7), Patrick Gudauskas (#10), Austin Ware (#11) and Nathan Yeomans (#23). In addition to the former World and U.S. Open champions, also standing in their way are prominent surfers Chris Ward, Taylor Knox, Fred Pattacchia, Damien Hobgood and Adriano de Souza among others.
“This event has more humans on the beach than any event in the world,” says Rob Machado, who actually came up with the idea for the $100,000 first place prize purse. “I love the idea of bringing that stadium atmosphere excitement back. Plus, it’s the U.S. Open, man. With a name like that, you gotta do something spectacular.”
The $35,000 women's division is equally as impressive, boasting two world champions (Stephanie Gilmore and Sofia Mulanovich), eight of the top 10 girls on the ASP World Tour, and all of the top 16 in the current WQS standings. World-class talent like Jessi Miley-Dyer and Jacqueline Silva will battle against rising stars including WQS ratings leader Carissa Moore, Coco Ho, Sage Erickson, Courtney Conlogue and Karina Petroni.
Since it was founded in 1994, 28 out of 30 men's and women's ASP World Titles have been captured by U.S. Open of Surfing champions. The list reads like a who's who of professional surfers with Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Andy Irons, Layne Beachley, Sunny Garcia, Sofia Mulanovich and Stephanie Gilmore all standing atop the winner's podium. Several U.S. Open champions have finished runner-up in the world title race including Rob Machado, Shane Beschen, Taj Burrow and Keala Kennelly.
The U.S. Open of Surfing Nike 6.0 Junior Pro competitions for boys ($10,000) and girls ($10,000) and the Corona Nose Riding Invitational ($10,000) headlined by Joel Tudor round out the field and drive the cumulative purse for the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing to $290,000.
Open to the public free-of-charge, the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing begins on Saturday, July 18 and runs through Sunday, July 26. Festival activities, BMX and skate competitions begin on Thursday, July 23. Live webcast and consumer information is available at usopenofsurfing.com.