Men’s Trials Heat Up And Women’s Junior Pro Hits The Water On Day 2
Day Two of the 2012 Nike US Open of Surfing began overcast and gloomy, but as the sun broke through mid-day, so did four determined trialists into the Men’s main event. Australian vet Nathan Hedge, Brazil’s Jean Da Silva and Hawaiians Keanu Asing and Torrey Meister all blazed in the final heats of the 32-man trials round, setting up for a stacked draw in the Round of 96. “Felt good to get one under my belt again,” said Nathan Hedge, long-time ASP World Tour surfer who is climbing his way back up the rankings. “The trials today were tough, but it’s what to be expected at the US Open of Surfing.”
An uptick in swell allowed the Mens trialists to open up at the famed south side of the Huntington Beach Pier. Chest-high peaks were on offer, with dramatic exchanges for the coveted four qualifying spots. In the first semifinal, Santa Barbara rising star Conner Coffin narrowly missed out, needing only a 4 to advance. In the second semi, both Keanu Asing and Torrey Meister caught heat-winners in the dying seconds, pushing heat leader Michael Dunphy into third.
In the debut of the Women’s Junior Pro, 24 up-and-comers were narrowed to eight through Round 1 and quarters. Those left will battle out the semifinal this Saturday, August 4. Kauai’s Leila Hurst and Tatiana Weston-Webb had standout performances with the two highest single wave scores of the day.
Once thought of as primarily a four-day festival, the US Open of Surfing now fires on all cylinders for nine straight days both in the water and on the beach. Official estimates had Saturday’s crowd at 55,000 with similar numbers today. And with autograph signings and interactive brand experience booths courtesy of Nike, Hurley and Converse, the fun will continue until August 5.
Up next for Day Three: The biggest names in surfing fill the arena as the Men’s Round of 96 begins. From Mick Fanning to Dane Reynolds to the eleven-time world champ Kelly Slater, everyone’s favorite pros will be out in the water, battling for another spot in US Open history.—US Open Of Surfing/Evan Slater