HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Thursday, July 28, 2005 — Six-time Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) women’s world surfing champion Layne Beachley (Australia) dominated the scarce waves today at the $185,000 Honda U.S. Open of Surfing Presented by O’Neill, scoring an overall heat score of 15.50, nearly two and one half points more than her closest rival. The former event champion’s performance was remarkable given that the conditions were two foot and marginal at Huntington Beach’s famed pier, forcing postponement of the men’s round of 48 until Friday when a new swell is forecasted to arrive.
With a performance that was head-and-shoulders above the rest of the world-class field, the 33 year-old Beachley, currently rated number four on the ASP’s elite World Championship Tour (WCT), used her knowledge of the venue and sage advice from legendary Surfline founder Sean Collins to post her stunning result. “When I came into town, Sean Collins told me that the surf would be small today so I ordered a new, shorter and wider board,” said Beachley, in town visiting with friends in the band INXS.
The result of Beachley’s equipment decision was in question initially when she opened with a 1.50 wave followed by a 4.33. But the savvy veteran found her groove and scored a 7.33, 6.33 and 8.17 in succession going from outside to inside, and carving deep turns on the feeble breakers. Surfing with a style very similar to Rob Machado yesterday, Layne made things look easy and maintained impressive speed enabling her to make the critical connecting sections.
“It’s a matter of timing the sets,” Beachley said. “I love Huntington Beach and I’ve won here before, but it was tough out there today and you have to make the most of what there is to work with.”
Hawaiians Carissa Moore, Melanie Bartels, Megan Abubo, Rochelle Ballard and Keala Kennelly were all heat winners today. Former two-time U.S. Open champion Pauline Menczer (Australia) and reigning two-time event champion Chelsea Georgeson (Australia) also won their heats.
Although the beginning of the men’s round of 48 was delayed, the final six heats in the men’s round of 96 ran this morning. World Junior champion Adriano de Souza (Brazil), Hawaiians Bruce Irons and Nathan Carroll and former world champion C.J. Hobgood (Florida) were among the top named surfers advancing.
The world’s largest surfboard will make its world record-breaking attempt for number of riders on one board at noon on Friday, July 29 during the Bank of the West Beach Games at the Huntington Beach Pier. The board is currently on public display in the 12-acre Beach Games venue.
The 40 foot behemoth was built by Australian Nev Hyman and weighs more than 1200 pounds. It was successfully ridden into the record books on Australia’s Gold Coast in March with 47 surfers aboard. The Big Board measures 10 feet wide and 12 inches thick. Due to its weight, 20 to 30 adults are required to manhandle the one-of-a-kind giant. The board is comprised of nearly a half ton of foam, 240 yards of 10 ounce fiberglass and 80 gallons of resin.
Surfing competition continues on Friday, July 29th at the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing at 7:00 a.m. with the women’s round of 24 (heats 1-6), 9:30 a.m. women’s round of 12 (heats 1-4), 12:00 p.m. Beach Games big board world record attempt and 2:00 p.m. men’s round of 48 (heats 1-8). Bike and skate competition begins in the Bank of the West Soul Bowl at 9:00 a.m. and continues throughout the day. Freestyle Motocross starts at 11:00 a.m.
The “2005 Bank of the West Beach Games featuring the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill” attracts more than 600 international competitors and features surfing, skateboarding, BMX, FMX and volleyball in world-class venues along with an interactive lifestyle festival spread over 12 acres. All events are open to the public, free of charge. The Honda U.S. Open of Surfing is sanctioned by Surfing America//ASP North America. Surfing competition begins on Friday, July 22 and runs through Sunday, July 31. Consumer information is available at www.usopenofsurfing.com and www.bankofthewestbeachgames.com