Hurley US Open Of Surfing Preview: Men’s Contenders

Hurley US Open of Surfing: Men's Contenders

The Stars Converge For The 50th Anniversary At Huntington Pier At The Hurley U.S. Open Of Surfing

Rob Machado, Hurley US Open of Surfing, ASP WQS, Huntington Beach Pier

Will Rob sprinkle his magic dust on his peak this year and get his fourth US Open title? Photo: Straley

The stakes have been raised for this year's main event at Huntington. While the big guns always come out to surf in the U.S. Open, with the inclusion of the WPS Surfing All-stars event, more top-tier World Tour surfers than ever will be coming down to entertain the masses on the pier. Perhaps you've heard of Kelly Slater or Rob Machado? And the list goes on. While surf fans will be excited to see some of their all-time favorites return to H.B., the WQS warriors climbing up the ranks looking for valuable points might not be as thrilled to have to go up against world champs and legends. But then again, anything can happen at Huntington, and a victory amidst the world's best will mean that much more.

Faces To Watch

Rob Machado

Age: 35
Stance: Goofy
Home: Cardiff, California
Sponsors: Hurley, Reef, Dragon, Channel Islands, Boost Mobile, Nixon, Sambazon, Creatures Of Leisure, Bubble Gum
The Dirt: In stark contrast to just about everyone else doing the U.S. Open, Rob does very few contests. But putting the contest jersey back on doesn't faze him in the least, even when it's in front of hundreds of thousands of screaming beachgoers. He's too smooth, mellow, and experienced to let anything get to him. Not to mention he's a three-time U.S. Open winner, a crowd favorite, and has a knack for seemingly willing big sets to roll in when he needs a score.

Photo: Straley

Kelly Slater

Kelly Slater, Hurley US Open of Surfing, ASP World Tour Champion, ASP WQS, Huntington Beach Pier
Stance: Regular
Home: Cocoa Beach, Florida
Sponsors: Quiksilver, Komunity, Boost Mobile
The Dirt: Kelly hasn't been to the U.S. Open in a few years, but don't think for a second he hasn't forgotten how to win the thing. All the buzz this year has been about the shorter, wider-nosed boards he's been riding, even at heavy World Tour stops like Teahupoo. While he makes them work there, they look like they'll go particularly well in the H.B. mush and flat spot.

Photo: Bielmann/SPL

Mick Fanning

Mick Fanning, Hurley US Open of Surfing, ASP World Tour, ASP WQS, Huntington Beach Pier
Age: 28
Stance: Regular
Home: Tweed Heads, NSW, Australia
Sponsors: Rip Curl, DHD, Reef, Red Bull, Dragon, Creatures Of Leisure, Vertra
The Dirt: It's not often that an Aussie has taken the men's event at H.B. In fact, in the last fifteen years only two have done it: Taj Burrow in 2004, and Beau Emerton in 1997. If any Australian can tamp down all this American winning, it's going to be Mick Fanning and his tack-sharp attack. He's lethal in all surf, but can make all but the world's best look like they're in slow motion in small to medium surf.

Photo: Bielmann/SPL

C.J. Hobgood

CJ Hobgood, Hurley US Open of Surfing, ASP World Tour, ASP WQS, Huntington Beach Pier

Age: 30
Stance: Goofy
Home: Satellite Beach, Florida
Sponsors: Globe, Teqoph Surfboards, Smith, Vestal, FCS, X-Trak
The Dirt: Ceej came out of the gates strong on the World Tour this year, with three quarterfinal results in the first three comps of the year. With his WCT seed in the top five, he'll have no use for the WQS points on offer in H.B., it'll be all about making a statement and keeping his hot streak going. If his success this year is any indication, his boards are working well and he's motivated, and that means another good result is a just a formality.

Photo: Bielmann/SPL

Cory Lopez

Cory Lopez, ASP WQS, Hurley US Open of Surfing, Huntington Beach Pier

Age: 32
Stance: Goofy
Home: Laguna Niguel, California
Sponsors: O'Neill, DVS, Monster, Boost Mobile, Anarchy, Placebo, Freestyle, Blackline
The Dirt: Cory is a past U.S. Open champ (2003), and though it's been a little while since he won it, his Florida upbringing and small-wave skills always serve him well here. The last few years he's been off the World Tour, away from the constant grind of competing, which makes him all the more fired up to do well and let the world know he's still at the top of his game. Look for Cory to unleash some big airs when he needs to make a heat.

Photo: Checkwood

Adriano De Souza

Adriano De Souza, brazilian surfer, ASP World Tour, ASP WQS, Hurley US Open of Surfing, Huntington Beach Pier

Age: 22
Stance: Regular
Home: São Paulo, Brazil
Sponsors: Oakley, Red Bull, Pukas Surfboards
The Dirt: Conventional wisdom is that if the waves are small, Adriano will do well. But don't sell the young Brazilian whiz kid short, he rips the crap out of all conditions. He's on a big time World Tour roll, and while every pro surfer loves winning, Adriano really loves winning. Think he'd love to be the first Brazilian to win the main event? His smile would stretch from Huntington to São Paulo.

Photo: Bielmann/SPL