Saturday At The 2003 Honda Element U.S. Open
Do you like looking at beautiful people? If so, Huntington’s the place to be. The crowds came out in force, the weather was beautiful (again), the TransWorld SURF Village was packed, and most of all the competition was incredible.
As for the waves, well, the waves pulled a shocker on everybody today—it was actually better. Unlike the previous few days, there were plenty of corners (open faces) for competitors to take advantage of. Somewhat bigger, the sets closed out most of the time and surfers battled the same current that dragged them north yesterday. Today’s strategy was to either sit to the south (on Rob Machado’s peak) and take long lefts or sit next to the pier and find a right all the way in.
It seemed like the smaller- to medium-sized waves were the key because they allowed surfers to get more maneuvers in. The overhead, bigger waves limited them to two moves or less. Although there weren’t any men’s heats today, the women and longboarders went all the way through the finals.
In the longboard, San Diego’s Taylor Jensen, a nineteen-year-old, two-time NSSA national champ, unseeded perennial favorite Colin McPhillips as U.S. Open champ. Early on, Jensen used the strategy of sitting next to the pier and picking off the long rights for early scores of 6.17 and 8.33, however, midway he saw McPhillips charge back for the lead with a 7.6. Needing a quality third wave (top three waves counted), Jensen rebounded with a 6.2—basically sealing the deal. One last-ditch effort by McPhillips came up short and Jensen was the new champ. “I’m so stoked,” said Jensen after the heat. “I was just hoping to make the final against Colin and these guys.” The final results were Jensen in first, McPhillips in second, Pete Johnson in third, and local Dodger Kremel in fourth.
In the women’s, the final was a battle between 2002 ASP Rookie Of the Year Chelsea Georgeson and ex-world champ and defending U.S. Open champ Pauline Menczer. From the start, Menczer tried using the “Machado Peak” and got a couple low scores on lefts. Still over there, she found herself a rare right on the south end of the competition area and a score of 7.67. Midway through the heat, Georgeson put herself in the lead with two scores in the sevens. With the heat still somewhat close between the two, Georgeson threw the knockout punch when she caught a right next the pier and ripped it for a 9.33.
“Last year I did really terrible out here,” said Georgeson after the heat. “It’s not my favorite wave, but this year, I guess there was a little open face to work with. I just happened to get a right in the corner. I was just really lucky out there. I had a lot of fun and the girls were ripping.” The final results were Georgeson and Menczer followed by Jacqueline Silva in third and Julia Christian in fourth.
Tomorrow’s the big final day for the men. Until then.-AC