HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Sunday, August 1, 2004 — In front of a record crowd of 100,000 spectators, Australia’s Taj Burrow has won the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill and its $15,000 first place prize.
Seventeen year-old Brazilian Adriano De Souza captured the prestigious Lost Pro Junior title, while California’s Brendan White (Mission Viejo) won the O’Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding. On Saturday, Australia’s Chelsea Georgeson won the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing women’s division for the second consecutive year.
The $175,000 U.S. Open of Surfing, the world’s largest professional surfing competition, anchored the inaugural Bank of the West Beach Games which featured 600 world-class athletes competing in skateboarding, BMX, volleyball and FMX along with an interactive festival featuring 90 exhibits and live music spread across 12 acres. Surf conditions were good overall with two-three foot, knee to chest high waves.
Pitted against Hawaiian Frederick Patacchia, fellow Australian Trent Munro and reigning U.S. Open of Surfing champion Cory Lopez (Florida), Burrow started out slow, scoring six straight waves of four points or less while Lopez (6.83) and Pattacchia (5.33) both posted their best scores on their opening waves. Munro, a finalist in 2002, and Burrow, a finalist in 2003, both turned on the afterburners midway through the 30-minute final. Munroe notched scoring rides of 6.70 and 6.0 on multi-maneuver waves and was leading with just minutes remaining—the same position he was in during the 2002 final when Kalani Robb (Hawaii) came back to win.
Burrow stayed in striking distance on the strength of back-to-back 6.47 and 5.83 rides. Then, with only moments remaining, Burrow scored big on his final wave of the heat thrilling the unprecedented crowd with a 7.03 ride, all the more impressive given the less than spectacular conditions. Burrow finished with 13.50 points to win the $15,000 first place prize. Munro, now twice a brides maid at Huntington finished in second place with 12.70 followed by Lopez in third with 12.33 and Patacchia with 10.46 points.
“I’ve had a lot of good results here, but never a win, said an obviously elated Burrow. “I’m pretty happy. Although everyone was surfing good, the heat was for the taking. I’m over the moon that I got it.
Lopez looked unbeatable in the first semi-final, posting the day’s highest overall heat score (16.33) to finish ahead of Munro. Local Boy Timmy Reyes, winner of three consecutive heats, finished fourth behind Australia’s Luke Stedman even with his fan club cheering him on. Former U.S. Open champion Rob Machado (Cardiff) and Taylor Knox (Carlsbad) finished third and fourth respectively in the second semi-final. The U.S. Open men’s division started last Saturday with 272 competitors and more than 100 alternates.
World Junior champion Adriano De Souza dominated the $10,000 Lost Pro Junior final, leaving no doubt from the opening horn that the young Brazilian will be a force to reckon with for years to come. Hawaii’s Dustin Cuizon and Kekoa Bacalso finshed second and third while Brazil’s Jean Da Silva came in fourth. De Souza pocketed $2500 for his winning effort.
Longboarder Brendan White was the lone American to win a title today, capturing the $10,000 O’Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding and its $2500 first place prize. San Clemente’s Colin McPhillips finished second, followed by Matthew (South Africa) in third and Josh Constable (AUS) in fourth.
The Honda U.S. Open of Surfing’s six-star (WQS) rated men’s ($125,000 purse) and women’s ($30,000) divisions offers competitors the largest point allocation of any Mainland event and is the most critical stop on the 2004 Surfing America Pro Surfing Tour. Cornerstone of the Bank of the West Beach Games, the U.S. Open of Surfing is considered North America’s original action sports event and boasts a history of tradition and innovation dating back to 1959.
One lucky spectator (name unavailable) aat the Bank of the West Beach Games was able to break the code on Bank of the West’s visible vault and won $10,000.