The US Open was level ten cuckoo today. I've seen my fair share of US Opens, and I have to say, this afternoon was the most packed, and craziest I've ever seen Huntington, and this was even before Weezer played. I nearly had a panic attack trying to get back to the hotel through the dust and bustle of the crowd, but then I looked up and saw cleavage shot number 142,022 I've seen in the last 24 hours, and that snapped me back.
In the men's comp, most of the favorites won their heats; Jordy, Mick, and Kelly. The biggest upset was delivered by Granger Larsen, who sent home Adriano De Souza. In the dying moments of the heat, both competitors got a set wave. Adriano needed an average score, claimed his shoredump reo, but they judges didn't buy it. He didn't get the score, and was visibly pissed. More like fuming. Somewhere out there Sunny Garcia was proud.
After making it through a heavy heat on his birthday yesterday, Nathaniel Curran did a little bit of celebrating that night, and was back at it again today. He pushed past Pat Gudauskas this morning, setting up a big heat tomorrow against local favorite Brett Simpson. The two friends happen to be the last two US Open winners, and met in the quarters here last year. Someone's feelings are going to get hurt in the morning.
Simpo had a good heat against Dane Reynolds, who crashed and burned. Simpo seems to be in the groove again. This place will explode if Brett makes it two in a row tomorrow.
Probably the funniest thing from last night was our "ranga" intern Blake, who got kicked off Julian Wilson's personal party bus after Julian's premiere. They emptied the bus and invited everyone back on board—except Blake.—Casey Koteen
The Female Youth Own The Pier
To paraphrase MGMT, the youth is starting to change surfing, for real for real. For the third year in a row it was two female teenagers left in the final heat of the women's side of things—it's apparent that the youth owns the Women's US Open of Surfing.
This year it was two new finalists though: Carissa Moore and Sally Fitzgibbons. Both have been close in the past (Sally made the semis in 2008 and Carissa did the same last year), but this year it was their chance. Was it the raised prize purse to $50,000? Or was it just the fact that they're two of the best in the world right now? The sea of humanity lined the beach and pier while the wind had come onshore and deteriorated conditions for the historic final.
Carissa seemed even calmer than normal today. She chilled in the media area after her semis heat and enjoyed watching the Boy Pro Juniors go off in the semis. We talked about the water temperature (a long-sleeve spring suited her just fine) and I asked her who she thought would take the Girl's Pro Junior, but she couldn't decide between her four friends (Laura Enever, Coco Ho, Malia Manuel, and Sage Erickson). Carissa is one of the sweetest and most genuine human beings ever.
Three out of the four teens in the Pro Junior were in it last year—they own this thing. They being Coco, Malia, and Sage (Malia and Coco being the two previous champions of the event). Laura Enever started things off strong and the girls all scrambled to make things happen in the less than stellar surf. It was a slow heat and no one really got things going except for Sage. When the hooter sounded she came out on top, finally getting the win in this event.
But back to the main event for the women, the $50,000 event. Sally and Carissa met earlier in the year in the final in New Zealand when Carissa won her first World Tour event. "I was just excited to have another rematch with Sally, especially at this venue," Carissa said.
Sally's last three World Tour events she's made the final but has yet to grab a victory; she sits second in the world, Carissa seventh. Sally's come on strong as of late and is really starting to combine her new generation technique with sound heat tactics. Carissa on the other hand loves adding in flair by snapping off turns, tossing grab rail reverses, or really blowing the tail out.
Carissa started off quick with two 4-and-changes while Sally struggled to catch something of significance. Then the Pacific decided to go flat for a good majority of the heat. "It got a bit frustrating out there, it would've been nice to see Sally get some better opportunities," Carissa said after the final.
In the dying minutes Sally was still left needing two scores and decided to start moving around. But Carissa wasn't having it; she followed her zigzag paddle fakeouts to maintain a close watch on her. Low and behold a set comes in at the end though, the biggest two waves of the heat. Carissa had priority and took the first left, which offered her a corner running to the pier, giving Carissa her best score of the heat a 7.67. But there was another wave out the back all for Sally, except it closed out. Queen Carissa Moore was crowned and carried to the podium.
These two girls are the now and beyond. Carissa turns 18 in two weeks and plans on possibly putting that $50K to her first car. Oh to be young again.—Ryan Brower