HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Wednesday, July 30, 2003 — Brazilian Jihad Kohdr accomplished something today at the Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing that he won’t soon forget. The former South American pro junior champion was able to defeat former two-time event champion and current Foster’s Pro Surfing Tour leader Rob Machado (Cardiff). Huntington Beach’s Ryan Simmons surfed what may have been his best ever U.S. Open heat while San Clemente’s Patrick Gudauskas survived a nail-biter to advance.
Mother Nature sent mixed messages today, starting with a freak tropical rainstorm in the morning followed by clear skies later in the day. Surf conditions did not improve as expected, with the waves remaining in the one to three foot range.
Kohdr was just one of several Brazilians to dominate at the $175,000 Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing Presented by O’Neill. Paired against Machado in the round of 128’s first heat, Kohdr opened slowly with a wave score of .67. His confidence continued to build and he followed with a 5.17 and 7.00. He saved the best for last, finishing strong by nailing two big aerials on his final wave to score an 8.5 (15.50 total points). Machado fought valiantly, but after winning five consecutive heats, he finished second on scoring waves of 7.27 and 6.10 (13.37 total points). Both surfers advance to the round of 96 on Thursday.
The Brazilian charge continued throughout the day as Adriano de Souza advanced over Asher Nolan (11.50 points to 10.97). Crhistiano Spirro defeated Australian Beau Mitchell (14.43 points to 9.83 and Anselmo Correia defeated Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara) with 13.33 points to 9.60.
Competing against former World Championship Tour (WCT) competitors Kaipo Jaquias and Dean Randazzo, Simmons surfed a solid heat from start-to-finish. An Alumnus of Coach Andy Verdone’s Huntington Beach High School surf team, Simmons advanced on scoring waves of 7.67 and 6.83 (14.50 total points). “The conditions were tough out there today, but I felt in synch, said Simmons.
In an old school vs. new school showdown, world air champion Kirk Flintoff (Australia) finished ahead of Brad Gerlach (11.83 points to 10.24). Boarding House: North Shore star Myles Padaca finished third with 6.60 points followed by Danny Nichols with 4.07. Richie Collins (Newport Beach), another old school veteran, advanced with a narrow victory over Australian Jock Barnes (10.06 points to 10.00). “It feels like the old days, said Collins.
Other notable surfers advancing today were Hawaiian Conan Hayes and Jason Shibata and Santa Barbara’s Bobby Martinez. The only Japanese surfers to advance today were Masatoshi Ohno and Norimasa Ono, who both won their heats.
The Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing is the world’s largest professional surfing competition and the highest rated men’s and women’s competitions on the eight-event Foster’s Pro Tour. The U.S. Open is critical in determining Surfing America’s year-end national champions (man and woman) and which Americans will have enough points to qualify for the elite 2004 World Championship Tour (WCT).
The Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing anchors Philips Fusion, America’s original and largest oceanfront event of its kind. The $225,000 action sports, technology and music festival, sponsored by Philips Electronics, attracts more than 600 world-class athletes from across the globe and features surfing, skateboarding and BMX in innovative venues along with an interactive electronics festival area and live concerts.
Competition continues on Thursday at 8:00 a.m. with the men’s round of 96, heats 1-16, followed at 1:30 p.m. with the opening round of the Honda Element U.S. Open of Women. Practice sessions in the Philips Key Ring Soul Bowl for bike and skate begin at 9:00 a.m.