Courtney Conlogue Wins Hurley U.S. Open Of Surfing; Malia Manuel goes runner up in the main event, and wins the Nike 6.0 Junior Pro.
By Ryan Brower
Two years running a woman without a driver’s license has taken home the victory in the U.S. Open. In a tense final, Huntington hometown girl Courtney Conlogue seized the title from defending champ Malia Manuel. This year, though, the added element of the best day of contest surf in Huntington ever made it another one for the books. “A sixteen-year-old, a fifteen-year-old, the huge surf, the jet skis, the 50 year anniversary, the prize money – I could just go on and on,” Malia humbly stated.
Courtney Conlogue wins the Hurley US Open Of Surfing. Photo: jackenglish.com
The two girls didn’t have easy roads to the final today, though. Malia had to better Aussie Laura Enever while Courtney battled to take down the likes of Carissa Moore. With Huntington pumping again today, Courtney showed off her vicious backhand attack that has been groomed at that very spot, and that had the entire crowd in rapture yesterday after her gutsy performance in the quarterfinals. “It’s incredible to surf these waves in my hometown,” she said.
Courtney pulled from her backhand catalog once again, starting off with a lip destructing 8.17 immediately after Malia had racked in a 7.17 that lined up for her all the way to the inside. Malia struck back with a mushy right that allowed her one cutback, giving her a 5.5 and putting her in the lead until Courtney answered right back with a keeper 6. The game of see-saw came to a halt when Courtney took a walled up left that allowed her one giant backside hit, putting a 9 in her lap as she sat from that point on in the driver’s seat having Malia comboed. Courtney’s road to the top spot on the podium was freshly paved after that.
Courtney Conlogue Women’s Winner. Video by Tom Aiello/Aaron Lieber/Hurley.com
Malia’s workload was a bit longer today in Huntington – only an hour before the Women’s final she was carried up the beach as the Nike 6.0 Women’s Pro Junior champ. In the Pro Junior event today she nabbed the win in the dying seconds, beating Coco Ho, Canelle Bullard, and stealing the lead from Sage Erickson. “Sage almost had it in the bag and some miraculous wave came and I got to pick it up and got a score,” Malia stated. Though she didn’t double-up on titles or repeat as US Open champ, remember she is only fifteen, and the junior pro wins are really where her major focus is at this point in her career. “I’m glad I got the 6.0 win to get points and qualify for Narrabeen [ASP Pro Junior World Championships],” Malia said.
Both Courtney and Malia are blowing their own expectations of themselves out of the water. For the final of the biggest surfing contest in the world to consist of two girls under seventeen tells you that these girls (their teenage peers included) are morphing their sport into something that is all their’s.
Courtney’s been surfing the U.S. Open since the age of twelve, and she finally achieved the biggest win of her young career in front of her home crowd today. As she lifted the piece of her pier that served as her trophy, her crowd erupted for their beaming star. “I’m going to remember this one forever and I’ve got my own piece of the pier for life,” Courtney stated.
Though the drive home won’t be far for her, Mom will be driving remember.
Women’s Hurley U.S. Open Final Results:
1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.17
2: Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.67
Women’s Hurley U.S. Open Semifinals Results:
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 11,17 def Laura Enever (AUS) 6.27
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.33 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 7.47