The Philips Fusion US Open: Big Thursday Report

For complete Heat Results click here:ASP World Tour

Waves, waves, and more waves. There’s also supposed to be surf the rest of the week-hallelujah! Today’s heats at the U.S. Open in Huntington Beach were blessed with some nice, clean, head-high conditions, and south swell peaks. They may have looked fun, but according to competitors, it was really tough-especially with the early morning low tides. The lefts are longer, but because of the direction of the swell, they break at an angle that fades from the beach-so if they’re not closing out, they’re really mushy and hard to do turns on. The rights are faster, but they’re almost too fast and allow only a couple turns if not one. It could’ve been worse-windy like yesterday.
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The scene itself is setting up for its usual craziness. Of course there’s the traditional company sponsored autograph sessions at Jack’s and Huntington Surf and Sport-come down and see all your favorite pros up close. There’s also the usual tent city (including the TransWorld SURF Lounge), vendor booths, and of course the people. In Huntington Beach, people watching’s a sport-girls flow like water at Niagara Falls. A smorgasbord for the hundreds of competitors from around the world. If you miss anyone or anything during the day, there’s always the many contest parties held every night-it’s non-stop all week.

Today’s heats were where the trialists start meeting the higher seeds and stars like Bruce Irons (who got second in his heat) start surfing. Central California’s Nate Tyler has been ripping all week and a trial run of seven heats ended today-a good job for a young buck. Another young standout was Nathaniel Curran who made it through his second heat and nearly pulled a tube to air combo. Young Brazilian Bernard Pigmeu broke his board early in his heat, grabbed another one, and went back out to destroy and take over for the win. The guy that beat Bruce is a Santa Cruz hero named Kieran Horn. For a while, Kieran was unsponsored. If you’ve ever seen him surf, you’d wonder how the hell that can happen-he rips. An underground favorite with a buttery style, he finally got picked up by Split and will again display his incredible surfing ability. The following is a quick interview after the heat:

TransWorld: Have you been competing a lot this year?

Kieran Horn: I did one contest, a one star at Trestles. I have an ongoing jinx there. I never made a heat there even though it’s like a wave I surf every day there. So this is actually the first event. I haven’t had a sponsor and I just got picked up by Split. They’re helping me out. I’m gonna be doing this event and then go to Europe and then there’s four six-stars following this six star, so that’ll be five six-stars in a row. From not doing any contests and jumping back into it, it’s pretty heavy-we’ll see how it goes.
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Split finally gave you the motivation to get back into contests?

I always had the motivation, it’s expensive to travel and sometimes I feel good when I take a little bit of a break. I couldn’t go to South America or Australia-I just didn’t have the financial support. I always wanted to do it, Split put some faith in me to give me some support so hopefully it’ll work out good.

How happy were you to win that heat?

I was just happy the first heat. I caught that first wave and I got a good score on it so it’s nice-after that you can relax. They’re only counting two waves too and usually I’m pretty selective-too selective where I only catch a few waves for my heat and lost a couple times needing a half point or something. It felt good.

Another crowd favorite is the million-dollar-man Fred Patacchia. Following the ‘QS and a dream to qualify for the WCT, he’s an incredibly busy guy with an incredibly hectic schedule. Fred’s usually an easy interview , so we grabbed him for a couple questions:

TransWorld: It’s the day before youur heat, what have you been doing all week? Have you been going to parties or anything like that?

Fred: No, not really. I try to stay away from that stuff. I’ve just kind of been surfing Trestles a lot. I was up here since Monday. I’ve been trying to get some work done while up here trying to hook up with some photographers and shoot. I’ve also been practicing out here after the event. I’m also gonna try to get out there in the morning time before the event starts. I haven’t been doing much, just trying to focus. I know there’s five six-stars coming up so this is the main stretch right here.

Have you been lifting weights and doing aerobics?

No, not really.

That’s a joke by the way.

I did a lot of freestyle dancing and stuff.

What do you think about Huntington?

Huntington, it’s always a circus out here-there’s always something new going on. I always have a really good time while I’m up here. I try to stay away from everything that’s going on-it’s easy to get sucked into all the parties and girls and stuff. I’ve been doing my best to look the other way.

Where should I tell the ladies you’re staying?

We’re at the Ramada right now-no comments ’til after we win or lose.

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For complete Heat Results click here:ASP World Tour