HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — Saturday, July 30 — In a virtually waveless final, Julia Christian won her first six-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) event today, the $30,000 Honda US Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill. Christian, a former World Championship Tour (WCT) competitor aiming for a return to the elite grand prix circuit, is much closer to her goal thanks to today’s win, moving from eighth to third on the qualifying tour.
Christian easily overtook her competitor, Australia’s Rebecca Woods with a score of 11.83, thanks to a strong wave score of 7.33 with 10 minutes left in the final 30 minute heat. That was the only score that Christian needed since for the first time in U.S. Open of Surfing history, a finalist (Woods) failed to catch one wave, receiving a score of 0.00. Christian received 2500 WQS points and a check for $4,500. Woods took home a check for $2,300 and retained the WQS ratings lead.
“To win the US Open of Surfing, the biggest event you can get, is the best feeling in the world, said Christian. “Growing up in the area, I’ve always dreamed about winning here in Huntington in front of all the crowds.
San Diego native Joel Tudor won an unprecedented eighth victory the $10,000 O’Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding with a display of maneuvers such as “walking the nose, “helicopters, and “hanging ten. Although San Clemente resident Colin McPhillips took an early lead scoring a 6.17, 7.17, and 7.10 in the first few minutes of the heat, McPhillips could not match Tudor’s stylish riding ability.
Thanks in part to a phenomenal showing of waves south side of the Hunting Beach pier through the entire heat, Tudor was able to score high waves through the majority of his heat, including a 9.17, the highest scoring wave of the entire U.S. Open of Longboarding. Tudor, winning eight out of the 11 times he has competed here at the U.S. Open of Surfing, dedicates his passion to his baby boy, and rode to victory on a board with his son’s name, “Tosh, written across it. When asked what he would spend his $2500 prize on, Tudor easily gave his answer — “Diapers. 16-year-old South African Nikita Robb claimed $2500 today as the winner of the $10,000 Target Women’s Junior Pro, scoring a 9.83 during the last few moments of the event. The Target Women’s Junior Pro marks the first ever women’s junior event, and marked the occasion by giving away a one-of-kind Target surfboard to a fan. In third place for the majority of the competition behind Karina Petroni (Florida) and Coco Ho (Hawaiian), Robb couldn’t hide her excitement at winning her biggest event ever. “I’m blown away! I still can’t believe I won. Although her parents weren’t able to be in Huntington Beach, Robb said that they were watching the live webcast.
Huntington Beach’s Brett Simpson posted another stellar performance in the Honda U.S. Open’s $125,000 men’s division. Simpson capitalized on his local knowledge and untold hours of water time in similar conditions to deliver the round’s highest overall score, a 16.50. Similar to two days ago, Brett struck quickly, scoring a 7.67 and 8.33 just three waves into the heat. Currently rated number 97 on the WQS, a good result at the U.S. Open would propel the 19 year-old up the ratings chart.
Former U.S. Open champion Rob Machado (Cardiff) had a tough battle with current WQS ratings leader Adrian Buchan (Brazil). The former world number two displayed an incredible mastery of the pier, nailing an awe-inspiring 9.17 score on his opening wave. Showing speed and precision, Machado built his wave count and even managed a brief “cover up on a three foot set wave. But Buchan was patient and selective, picking off the few choice remaining waves in the 25 minute showdown. When the horn sounded Machado finished with 14.94 points to Buchan’s 13.94. Both advance to round of 12. Notable: Among the surfers failing to advance today were former world champion C.J. Hobgood (Florida), Timmy Reyes (HHuntington Beach), Dustin Cuizon (Hawaii), Dane Reynolds (Ventura) and Tim Curran (Ventura). Team Santa Monica laid the smack down today on San Diego at the Karch Kiraly Invitational, winning 15-3 and eliminating San Diego from competition. Team Manhattan Beach bumped San Clemente out of the invitational with a 15-7win. Tomorrow competition will resume for the semi finals. Team Huntington Beach will face off against Hermosa Beach at 12:30 p.m. and Manhattan Beach will take on Santa Monica at 1:30 p.m. The winners of each match will duel in the final match at 3 p.m.
FMX riders Ronnie Renner, Mike Mason, Brian Deegan and Todd Potter wooed an excited crowd of Beach Games spectators today with dangerous maneuvers and amazing feats. They revved their engines and charged a 20 foot ramp that launched them so far in the air they appeared to sky dive down to the ground. But ramp jumping wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if Renner didn’t completely let go of the handle bars in mid air.
BMX riders spun around the Bank of the West Soul Bowl for three heats of preliminary competition for a chance to advance to the finals tomorrow. After unsuccessfully landing a flare, front flip, 30-year-old Australian, Tim Wood took the biggest crash of the day. But with an overall point score of 87.75, Wood made it to the finals with nine other competitors. No handers, tail whips, flares and 540’s (spinning the back of the bike around one and a half times while in the air) are what it took to advance to the final round in the Beach Games Soul Bowl. Skateboarding in the Soul Bowl brought Carla Beth Burnside to first place with 1000 points, Jen O’Brien follows closely with 900 and Apryl Woodcock trails in third place with 800. Tomorrow skateboarding competition will resume for the final jams at the Bank of the West Beach Games.
Surfing concludes on Sunday, July 31 at the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing at 8:00 a.m. with the men’s round of 12 (heats 1-4), 9:40 a.m. men’s quarter-finals (heats 1-4), 11:20 a.m. Life Rolls Expression Session, 12:05 p.m. men’s semi-finals, 12:55 p.m. Lost Pro Junior Final, 1:25 p.m. men’s final.