PREVIEW: The Main Event At The 2010 U.S. Open Of Surfing

The Main Event At The 2010 U.S. Open Of Surfing

Says 2009 U.S. Open Champ Brett Simpson: “Winning the U.S. Open in front of my hometown was the first time I felt what it might be like to hit a winning shot during an NBA playoff game. The energy was something I’ve never experienced before—Huntington Beach is the closest thing we have to a true surf stadium.” Photo: English

Says 2009 U.S. Open Champ Brett Simpson: “Winning the U.S. Open in front of my hometown was the first time I felt what it might be like to hit a winning shot during an NBA playoff game. The energy was something I’ve never experienced before—Huntington Beach is the closest thing we have to a true surf stadium.” Photo: English

What It Is: The U.S. Open is quite simply the biggest surf contest in the world. The event with all its various sideshows attracts more than 500,000 people, and the surf comp is the headliner of this action sports smackdown. The men’s event is an ASP Prime, the highest rating possible for an ASP qualifier. The women’s event is a six-star—the only one on the U.S. mainland. On the Pro Junior side, the boys event weighs in at a grade 2, while the girls event is a grade 4. The Pacifico Noseriding Invitational is all about time on the tip.

Dane Reynolds was the top vote getter for the Allstar Tow-At session. Photo: English

Dane Reynolds was the top vote getter for the Allstar Tow-At session. Photo: English

Who’s In It: Big points are on line for all the events, attracting nearly every elite-level surfer in the world. In the men’s division, seasoned stars like Kelly Slater, Mick Fanning, Andy Irons, and Rob Machado will go up against emerging heroes like Jordy Smith and Dusty Payne. On the girls’. side, youth has reigned at H.B. in recent years, and this year female stars like Steph Gilmore and Carissa Moore will continue the tradition. In the juniors’, look for Nat Young, Evan Geiselman and Kolohe Andino to make a run, while in the women’s junior, the obvious pick is two-time junior champ Malia Manuel.

Prizemoney: Men’s, $245,000; Womens, $60,000; Pro Juniors, $10,000; Longboard, $10,000

Mick Fanning was in the final last year and we expect him to be right there again this year. Photo: English

Mick Fanning was in the final last year and we expect him to be right there again this year. Photo: English

Why It Matters: For young surfers climbing the ranks to get on the World Tour, this is as valuable as it gets. In past years, surfers who have won the U.S. Open have gone on to finish the year strong and qualify for the World Tour. It is also one of the last Prime events before the historic, 32-man “New Tour” takes the stage at the Hurley Pro at Trestles (see page xx) This, of course, makes it the most important qualifying event in the U.S., both symbolically and literally.

Andy Irons with a gigantic floater at last year's Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing. Photo: English

Andy Irons with a gigantic floater at last year's Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing. Photo: English

Our Picks:

Men’s: Kelly Slater. Just as Mick Fanning kick-started his world title run with a runner-up showing at the U.S. Open last year, Kelly will use a win here as a momentum booster en route to sealing his tenth world title.

Don't be surprised to see Kelly in the mix again this year. Photo: English

Don't be surprised to see Kelly in the mix again this year. Photo: English

Women’s: Steph Gilmore won in 2007, and will be looking to add another title to her already legendary résumé.

Steph Gilmore will look to build up some momentum at the U.S. Open after a long summer break on Tour. Photo: English

Steph Gilmore will look to build up some momentum at the U.S. Open after a long summer break on Tour. Photo: English

Pro Junior: Nat Young made the final last year and will one-up that result with a victory this year.

Women’s Pro Junior: Malia Manuel, of course.

Malia Manuel won the Women's portion in 2008 and followed that up with a Women's Pro Junior victory last year. Expect big things again from her in Huntington. Photo: English

Malia Manuel won the Women's portion in 2008 and followed that up with a Women's Pro Junior victory last year. Expect big things again from her in Huntington. Photo: English

Longboard: Joel Tudor will add yet another U.S. Open title to his crowded mantel.

Courtney Conlogue will look to defend her Women's title this year at her homebreak. Photo: English

Courtney Conlogue will look to defend her Women's title this year at her homebreak. Photo: English

Rob Machado is always a threat at the Huntington Pier. Photo: English

Rob Machado is always a threat at the Huntington Pier. Photo: English

Head to usopenofsurfing.com for more info, as the 2010 U.S. Open of Surfing kicks off August 2nd in Huntington Beach, California.