The Billabong Juniors At The U.S. Open

The circus comes to town.

The U.S. Open in Huntington Beach contains so much chaos it’s like a circus complete with Orange County clowns and tents. In one ring there’s fruitbooting, in the other, dirt jumping, radboarding (an “extreme” event), and a fine array of distractions. There also was a Billabong Junior, and it was won by South African Travis Logie.

As usual, millions of spectators had to park miles away to get glimpses of the nervous surf stars of tomorrow. “Just before the heat started and I looked at the beach, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said Logie. “There were little ants everywhere.”

“The only thing I care about is how I surf,” said Bron Huesenstamm. “I see all those people on the beach, and it just makes me want to surf better. I don’t want 10,000 people going, 'Man, that guy’s a Barney.’ That’s the only thing that makes me nervous.”

Without a coveted V.I.P. laminate allowing access to the player-status sponsor sections, the little second-class green band was good enough to watch from the stands as an endless parade of fake boobs flaunted their expensive surgery and lucky surfers scored the inconsistent surf.

Huesenstamm is one of them (the lucky surfers). After making it through the quarterfinals in the Q.S. event, his semifinal opponent Damien Hobgood decided he would skip his juniors semi to save some energy, “I didn’t feel like I was giving it 100 percent. If I’m not going to give it 100 percent, then why surf?”

This obviously pleased Huesenstamm, “He just opened the door for me, he’s arguably the best guy in the event.” After starting his heat with a strong score, the inconsistent surf made it hard on his wave count. With twenty seconds left, Huesenstamm found a savior wave that put him in first: “I was so stoked, I wanted to claim it, but all my friends would of kicked my ass.”

There weren’t that many good waves coming through for finalists Fred Pattachia, Anthony Macdonald, Logie, and Huessenstamm. “You just kinda have to pick and choose which waves are going to be good,” said Pattachia. “Sometimes you can get barred, and sometimes you can get a really good one. I tried to wait for a little while, then toward the end I needed a score, so I went for one that might have been my downfall. I had three minutes left. I feel I should’ve waited.”

Logie was patient, and it paid off with with a win. He was followed in order by Pattachia, Macdonald, and Heussenstamm in fourth. “Toward the end I started getting worried,”said Logie, “cause the other guys had two good ones each, and I really hadn’t had a good one yet. “But luck favored me, and I came out with some good ones in the end.” – Aaron Checkwood