U.S. Open Kicks Off 9-Day Run July 31st

2009 US Open Champion Courtney Conlogue.

2009 US Open Champion Courtney Conlogue will be looking to defend her title again at the 2010 version of the world's biggest surf contest.

2010 U.S. Open Of Surfing Begins Epic Nine-Day Run On July 31

Reigning U.S. Open Champions Brett Simpson and Courtney Conlogue set to defend their titles against the world's elite surfers

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Building upon last year's historic event that showcased epic waves, 500,000 fans, record prize money and a superior field of world-class surfers, the U.S. Open of Surfing presented by Hurley, Nike 6.0 and Converse sets the bar even higher with an Association of Surfing Professionals' (ASP) "Prime" rating in 2010.

The world's largest professional surfing competition begins its nine-day run on Saturday, July 31 at the Huntington Beach pier and continues through Sunday, August 8. Boasting a rich history dating back to 1959, the massive event boasts North America's only combined ASP Men's Prime and Women's Six-Star-rated events and is a pivotal point on the ASP World Tour. The event is owned and produced by IMG, a global leader in sports and entertainment. More information and live event coverage is available at www.usopenofsurfing.com.

The $350,000 U.S. Open boasts an unmatched field of international entrants that includes the vast majority of top men and women surfers on the planet. The $250,000 Men's Prime division has the highest purse among similar events, offers 6,500 points to the winner and features a $100,000 first place prize. Simpson (Huntington Beach) must defend his title against household names like Mick Fanning (Australia), Taj Burrow (Australia), Andy Irons (Hawaii), C.J. Hobgood (Florida) And Rob Machado (Cardiff), along with "new breed" stars Dane Reynolds (Ventura), Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente) and current world number one Jordy Smith (South Africa). Nine-time world champ Kelly Slater, who has entered but not confirmed attendance, may also be on hand to send the fans into a frenzy.

The $60,000 Women's Six-Star division is equally as impressive, boasting two world champions – Stephanie Gilmore (Australia) and Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) – 12 of the top 16 girls on the ASP World Tour, and most of the top women in the current World Rankings. First-rate talent like Jessi Miley-Dyer (Australia) and Jacqueline Silva (Brazil) will battle against rising stars including ratings leader Sally Fitzgibbons, Coco Ho (Hawaii), Sage Erickson (Hawaii), Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana) and Karina Petroni (Florida) for the unprecedented $20,000 first place prize.

Since its inception in 1994, the U.S. Open has carried the sports' competitive torch on the U.S. mainland, rating six stars or higher and offering a consistent pathway for American competitors to reach the ASP's grand prix circuit. Twenty nine out of 32 men's and women's ASP World Titles have been captured by former U.S. Open champions—the list reads like a who's who of professional surfers with Slater, Lisa Andersen, Irons, Layne Beachley, Sunny Garcia, Mulanovich and Gilmore all standing atop the winner's podium. Several U.S. Open champions have finished runner-up in the title race including Machado, Shane Beschen and Taj Burrow.

“I think last year was a good example of what the U.S. Open can actually be,” says three-time champ Rob Machado. "Combining waves, the world's best surfers and that crazy crowd puts competitive surfing on a whole different level. When you're competing at Huntington, you feel like you're surfing in the Super Bowl."

Long considered America's "consumer showcase" for the sport of surfing, the U.S. Open also features the U.S. Open Men's Junior Pro (a $10,000 ASP Grade-Two event) and Women's Junior Pro (a $10,000 ASP Grade-Four event) presented by PacSun, Life Rolls on Expression Session and $20,000 Pacifico Nose Riding Invitational. The second annual WPS All Stars event let the public choose 10 top pro surfers from around the world to compete in the U.S. Open and features athlete "meet and greets", in-water expression sessions and more during the festival.

Headlined by the one-of-a-kind, 20,000 square foot Action Sports' retail and brand experience, U.S. Open spectators will enjoy an interactive festival featuring more than 100 exhibits, autograph signings, DJs, guest emcees and prize giveaways. Top national acts will perform live on the concert stage Tuesday through Saturday, August 3 to 7. The lineup includes Cold War Kids, Bedouin Soundclash, Switchfoot, Cobra Starship and Weezer among other acts.

Open to the public free-of-charge, the U.S. Open of Surfing begins on Saturday, July 31 and runs through Sunday, August 8. The U.S. Open showcases hundreds of world-class athletes in the sports of surfing, skateboarding and BMX along with music, fashion and youth culture. Live webcast and consumer information is available at www.usopenofsurfing.com.

About Hurley
Founded in 1999, Hurley is an authentic "Microphone for Youth" brand rooted in surf, skate, art, music and beach cultures. Driven by creativity and freedom of expression, Hurley develops world-class products for guys, girls and kids, including sportswear, footwear, eyewear, accessories, loungewear, swimwear and wetsuits. A wholly owned, independently run subsidiary of Nike, Inc., Hurley's corporate headquarters are located in Costa Mesa, CA, with international offices in Tokyo, Sydney, Barcelona and Bali. http://www.hurley.com/

About Nike 6.0
The Nike 6.0 brand defines innovation and embodies the creativity of youth, united by action. Nike 6.0 delivers footwear and apparel to support the new generation of action sports athletes who are changing the worlds of surf, snow, BMX, moto, wake and freeski. Their unlimited potential and contagious energy deliver the future through performance and lifestyle. www.nike6.com

About Converse
Established in 1908, the Converse brand has built a reputation as "America's Original Sports Company"™ and has been associated with a rich heritage of legendary shoes such as the Chuck Taylor® All Star® shoe, the Jack Purcell® shoe and the One Star® shoe. Today, Converse offers a diverse portfolio including premium lifestyle men’s and women’s footwear and apparel. Converse product is sold globally by retailers in over 160 countries and through 25 company-owned retail locations in the U.S. For more information, visit Converse on the web at www.converse.com.

About IMG Sports & Entertainment
Operating in 30 countries, IMG Sports & Entertainment's diverse businesses include: consulting services; event ownership and management; fashion events and models representation; licensing; golf course design; and client representation in golf, tennis, broadcasting, speakers, European football, rugby, cricket, motor sports, coaching, Olympic and action sports. IMG Academies are the world’s largest, multi-sport training and educational facilities, delivering world-class training experiences to more than 12,000 junior, collegiate, adult, and professional athletes each year. More information is available at: www.imgworld.com.