Lost amid Brett Simpson's celebration after capturing the Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing title and its record $100,000 first place prize was another contest win one day earlier; the Hurley Pro Trials. Simpson overcame a strong challenge from Julian Wilson, Dusty Payne and Owen Wright to win a coveted wildcard entry into the 2009 Hurley Pro, the only elite World Tour event held on the Mainland U.S.
The $340,000 Hurley Pro, September 13 to 19, 2009 at Lower Trestles, San Clemente, is Hurley's first as the sole sponsor of an ASP World Tour event. Lined with cobblestones, Trestles is California's premier point/reef break and a world-class showcase for high performance surfing. The four day competition, held during a weeklong window, features the ASP's top 45 surfers (Kelly Slater, Joel Parkinson, C.J. Hobgood, etc.) and three wildcards (Brett Simpson, Rob Machado and World Junior Champion Kai Barger).
"Every event has its own trademark and Trestles is the place for high performance surfing in California," Hurley's Pat O'Connell said. "Each year, the world's best surfers come with a free surf mentality and the desire to make their mark on one of the most rippable waves in the world. Hurley believes in true performance, innovation and free expression, so to have a World Tour event bearing our name on the world's best surfing canvas is a perfect connection."
The Hurley Pro marks the only North America appearance of the ASP's elite Grand Prix circuit and has been won by Slater three out of the past four years ('08, '07 and '05). Although Parkinson (Australia) has opened a sizeable lead over Floridian Hobgood and Brazilian Adriana de Souza in the 2009 World Title chase, nine time world and defending event champ Slater (Florida) remains within striking distance and Trestles may well be his launching pad to a once unfathomable 10th title.
After defeating former world champion Mick Fanning to win the six-star rated Hurley U.S. Open, the 24 year-old Simpson moved to 5th place on the World Qualifying Series (WQS), well within striking distance of qualifying for the 2010 ASP World Tour. His performance this September against the world's elite surfers at North America's premier "high performance" wave may offer a glimpse at America's pro surfing future.
"Winning the Hurley Pro Trials at Huntington was huge for me," says Simpson. "I always look forward to competing at Lowers, and I'm excited to make an impact. There's nothing I enjoy better than competing against the best surfers in the world."