Friday’s Report From the 2003 Honda Element U.S. Open Presented By O’Neill

Click Here for video from the round of 64.

To be honest, the waves couldn’t get any shittier. Chest to shoulder high again, but since the heats began later in the day, the wind was way more of a factor. By the last heat, surfers were throwing slashes at wind chop. Look at it this way, these guys aren’t surfing Pipeline or Tavarua, they’re surfing the same waves you and I surf and they’re ripping. Seriously, it’s nice to see what people can do in everyday conditions.

Because it’s a South swell, the waves seem to angle out to sea and favor going left. There were lefts, however there were a few rights here and there as well. Just like yesterday, the strategy’s all about wave choice-will it closeout or not? And with the swell comes a current-one that sweeps from south to north toward Long Beach.


As for the competition, the best heat of the day was the first. At one point, Jesse Merle Jones, Jihad Khodr, and Cory Lopez had extra strong scores and seemed to be in control. Rob Machado fell behind, but stuck to his traditional plan of staying well to the south and waiting for long lefts-it failed him most of the heat. While everyone else stayed closer to the pier, Rob stayed strong and with four minutes left picked off a long one for a score of 7.47-another squeeker into the next round.

Heat four featured the one and only perfect ten received so far the entire contest. Right off the bat, Brazilian Raoni Monteiro found a set wave, had two backside bangers, then a third blast right next to the pier. After wiggling through the pier to the other side, he finished with an inside move—some nice work. The judges thought so too. Monteiro won the heat and Damien Hobgood advanced as well.

Other highlights included heat eight which featured the current world champ Andy Irons against legendary ex-champ Tom Curren. As a result of tons of wind chop, closeouts and lulls, it was a slow one. Despite that, Andy ripped for scores of 7.33 and 6.00, Australian Matt Bemrose followed, and Tom Curren fell into third. Curren’s last-ditch effort was a wave that took him through the pier, yet still wasn’t good enough to advance-he still rules.


Other highlights included Bruce Irons winning his heat, Kirk Flintoff’s aerial artistry to edge out Kalani Robb, Timmy Reyes edging out Shane Beschen for the win, and Bobby Martinez’s wind-blown barrel that was deep enough to get a score of nine.

The last heat of the day featured C.J. Hobgood dominating the entire time. Local boy Brett Simpson was filling the judges scorecards with one’s and had a high score of 3.37 going into the end, but lucked out and found a set wave and a score of 8.83-enough to squeek out and advance to the next round of 32. “I really didn’t have that much confidence, said Simpson after the heat. “I kept hearing the other guys getting sixes. I knew I could get a wave and just put it together. I needed one of the lumps to get in early and get a couple of turns.

Today’s results are listed below. As for tomorrow, word has it the swell might stick around. Who knows? Until then.-AC





Heat 1:
1. Cory Lopez
2. Rob Machado
3. Jesse Merle-Jones
4. Jihad Kohdr

Heat 2:
1. Adriano de Souza
2. Roy Powers
3. Renan Rocha
4. Lee Winkler

Heat 3:
1. Trent Munro
2. Dean Morrison
3. Chris Ward
4. Richard Lovett

Heat 4:
1. Raoni Monteiro
2. Damien Hobgood
3. Gabe Kling
4. Armando Daltro

Heat 5:
1. Jake Paterson
2. Glenn Hall
3. Pedro Henrique
4. Danilo Costa

Heat 6:
1. Nathan Webster
2. Christiano Spirro
3. Joca Junior
4. Neco Padaratz

Heat 7:
1. Marcelo Trekinho
2. Victor Ribas
3. Ryan Simmons
4. Tom Whitaker

Heat 8:
1. Andy Irons
2. Matt Bemrose
3. Tom Curren
4. Jarrad Hoowse

Heat 9:
1. Taj Burrow
2. Taylor Knox
3. Frederic Robin
4. Todd Prestage

Heat 10:
1. Bruce Irons
2. Chris Davidson
3. Toby Martin
4. Tiago Pires

Heat 11:
1. Kirk Flintoff
2. Kalani Robb
3. Yuri Sodre
4. Pat O’Connell

Heat 12:
1. Michael Campbell
2. Luke Stedman
3. Jock Barnes
4. Travis Logie

Heat 13:
1. Tim Curran
2. Ben Bourgeois
3. David Weare
4. Shea Lopez

Heat 14:
1. Tim Reyes
2. Shane Beschen
3. Peterson Rosa
4. Nate Yeomans

Heat 15:
1. Troy Brooks
2. Bobby Martinez
3. Paulo Moura
4. Darren O’Rafferty

Heat 16:
1. C.J. Hobgood
2. Brett Simpson
3. Mikael Picon
4. Guillerme Herdy