Friday at the US Open of Surfing…
The ready-made headline brewing in morning was the Brazilian domination of the men’s event. Brazilians won the first three heats of the morning handily, with under 20 sensations Gabe Medina, Miguel Pupo, and Jadson Andre owning the morning. But the later heats turned a South American headline into a North American headline. Cory Lopez stopped the bleeding, wining heat 4, and it would be U.S. surfers in the top slot for the rest of the heats in the round.
The Brazil vs America theme came to a head in heat six, with Adriano De Souza up against Kelly Slater. The two have a nice little rivalry fermenting, with Kelly beating Adriano in Brazil two years back, and then Adriano returning the favor at the US Open quarters last year, in Kelly’s home country. This time around, Slater got the upper hand. “He’d never beat me before last year, and then he beat me twice,” said Slater. “So yeah, it was nice to get him back.”
Earlier in the morning, 2009 U.S. Open winner Nathaniel Curran and fellow Venturian Dane Reynolds were having breakfast together, when someone asked who Nathaniel was surfing against in a few hours. “Owen Wright, and someone else, I’m not sure who” said Nathaniel. The mood got weird for a second after they figured out Dane was the mystery third person, but the two have known each other forever, and turned it into an opportunity once they hit the water. They took out lone Aussie Owen Wright, with Nathaniel winning the heat against the two World Tour superstars. Not a bad birthday present for Nathaniel, who turned 26 today.—Casey Koteen
The bender continues tonight as the crew is headed to Julian Wilson’s movie premiere. I talked to him last night about it and he was quite nervous, “I just hope people like it,” he said at a Red Bull sponsored pre-premiere party. “The music is good and the surfing’s pretty good too, but yeah, I’m kinda nervous.” We’ll give you the full review soon…
We did the TransWorld SURF Model Search today, shooting around 40 different girls of all shapes, sizes, and colors. My job is to get the girls signed up and fan them as they get their picture taken so that their hair flares up a bit. Knee deep in teenage girls, my fiancée called to check in on me…I’m sure you can imagine how that conversation went.—Justin Coté
Man Boys Are Taking Over Huntington…
If you put all your eggs in one basket you’re gonna end up with some broken eggs. Granger Larsen and Miguel Pupo both know this, as they are still surfing in both the main event and the pro junior. They both look unstoppable. Miguel Pupo took a nothing wave and turned into a 7.33 with two air reverses. Granger threw one of the most solid backside turns of the day, and he can do airs, too. They are making the case for the extinction of the pro junior division because the surfing is at the same level as the pro division. After their heat Adriano De Souza interviewed Miguel Pupo in Portuguese for the World Wide Web and Miguel said he wants to make both finals. It is possible.
In the very first pro junior quarterfinal a total of 58.91 points were scored in what was easily the most competitive heat of the entire contest so far. Kolohe Andino, Ian Crane, John Florence, and Nat Young were all boosting for the thousands upon thousands on the sand, in the tents, and on the pier. It was a barrage of futuristically tweaked air reverses throughout the entire heat. Kolohe grabbed the lead early and did not let go of it. Kolohe drinks coffee a half hour before he surfs (so that’s his secret!). “I don’t think we’re better than the pros, but that heat was crazy,” he said. “When it’s close it creates a lot of drama and it’s a lot more fun to watch and be a part of.”
The drama he speaks of culminated in the final minute when a set poured into the southside of Huntington Pier to fully determine who would be the two man boys moving on. Ian Crane made the most of the buzzer beater and jumped from fourth to second to move into the semis with Kolohe.
The eight young huckers left are Kolohe, Ian, Evan Geiselman, Miguel, Granger, Cooper Chapman, Alejo Muniz, and Jake Halstead. It will not be long before these man boys are in the main event semis.—Ryan Brower
Check Their IDs
Woman on woman action has begun in Huntington Beach! Prize money is upped and the women are hungry. As Rabbit Bartholomew said on the webcast, “The US Open has a history of ushering in new generations.” But there’s a stubborn 31-year-old Brazilian by the name of Jacqueline Silva. She’s been in the finals twice here, but has yet to win. “I hope I can win this one. Big points, big money, that’s my goal,” Jacqueline cheerfully stated post heat. She must not have gotten the memo regarding the youth in charge because the other three semifinalists (Carissa Moore, Sally Fitzgibbons, and Lakey Peterson) cannot even legally consume alcohol.
Carissa is looking the most poised of the bunch. Her and good friend Laura Enever kicked things off for the quarters and Laura’s timing just seemed off, while Carissa could do no wrong—speed gaining turns, a filthy backside 360, all flawless.
The closet heat of the women’s quarters was Lakey Peterson vs. Tyler Wright. USA’s youngest most promising vs. Australia’s youngest most promising. Tyler does have a World Tour victory to her name, but that merit could not help her advance to the semis. This one was settled by Lakey’s powerful frontside hack that now awaits a match-up with Jacqueline.
A new women’s US Open of Surfing champion will be crowned tomorrow, and she will win the largest prize purse in women’s surfing history. And it will be one woman vs. another woman in Huntington Beach.—Ryan Brower