Two Time Defending Champion Brett Simpson Bows Out
This mornings ESPN countdown of Tuesday’s top plays kicks off with an air reverse by Nike rider Gabriel Medina in the US Open’s round of 96.
“Look at that!” exclaims the analyst on TV, trying to sound excited but noticeably uncertain. “A big air completed at yesterdays US Open Of Surfing, or USOS, as the surfers like to call it.” USOS? Did he just make that up?
At number 9, the TV flashes back to Tiger Woods and his return (again) to golf. The broadcaster relaxes.
Coincidence? Or are we seeing the Nike influence on this years event before even arriving to the beach?
The surf is 2-feet and inconsistent. The non-stop northerly wind the last few days brought the water temperature into the icy range, and most everyone is sporting fullsuits. By 9 in the morning – despite the heavy fog and cool ocean breeze– the beach is jam packed with spectators. The median age is 15, and most are female.
Brett Simpson paddles out in heat 22. Having won this contest (and $200,000 in the process) the past two years, this is his event. Can he pull the three-peat?
John Florence and Thiago Camarao open with strong sevens. Brett struggles, falling on standard top turns and failing to make inside connections. With a minute to go he needs a high six, the ocean goes flat, and our two time defending champ bows out in his first heat. The beach – at least the portion that is paying attention to the surfing – goes noticeably silent.
People start filing out of the bleachers.
Two girls are sitting to my right, both of high school age. “I’m really bummed Brett lost, hasn’t he won like, the past 4 years?” the one says to her friend. “Yeah, but, at least now maybe we’ll see him out tonight!”
Wow. It’s hard to imagine these two are capable of owning fake ID’s, much less driver’s licenses.
Welcome to the US Open. This week is just getting started.—Zander Morton
Nike US Open of Surfing Round of 96 Results:
Heat 17: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 13.37, Junior Faria (BRA) 13.24, Masatoshi Ohno (JPN) 10.77, Mitch Crews (AUS) 10.00
Heat 18: Jadson Andre (BRA) 15.66, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 12.10, Luke Stedman (AUS) 11.90, Tonino Benson (HAW) 6.00
Heat 19: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 9.10, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 8.00, Granger Larsen (HAW) 5.10, Heitor Alves (BRA) 4.30
Heat 20: Bobby Martinez (USA) 13.93, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.43, Rob Machado (USA) 12.03, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 10.57
Heat 21: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.37, Nat Young (USA) 11.33, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 7.97, Dale Staples (ZAF) 2.73
Heat 22: Thiago Camarao (BRA) 13.17, John John Florence (HI) 12.26, Brett Simpson (US) 10.24, Davey Cathels (AUS) 7.00
Heat 23: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.27, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.03, Stu Kennedy (AUS) 10.53, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 9.83
Heat 24: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.10, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.64, Heath Joske (AUS) 11.67, Ricardo Santos (BRA) 4.86
Nike US Open of Surfing Round of 48 Results:
Heat 1: Dusty Payne (HAW) 15.93, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 13.23, Blake Thornton (AUS) 12.04, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 7.33
Heat 2: Evan Geiselman (USA) 14.34, Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 7.60, Torrey Meister (HAW) 7.30, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 6.50
Heat 3: Richard Christie (NZL) 12.67, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.23, Conner Coffin (USA) 9.43, Pedro Henrique (BRA) 8.90
Heat 4: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.26, Joel Centeio (HAW) 8.70, Jack Freestone (AUS) 11.60, Chris Davidson (AUS) 7.23
Women’s Nike US Open of Surfing Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.50, Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.17, Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.54
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.03, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 10.67, Laura Enever (AUS) 9.56
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 10.60, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.60, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9.57
Heat 4: Coco Ho (HAW) 11.67, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 9.97, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 9.86
ASP Press Release:
Simpson Suffers Shock Round 1 Elimination At ASP PRIME Nike US Open Of Surfing
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California / USA (Wednesday, August 3, 2011) – The ASP PRIME Nike US Open of Surfing wrapped up Round 1 of competition before diving into the opening heats of Round 2 and today’s proceedings saw the shock elimination of reigning two-time US Open of Surfing champion and local favorite Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), 26, as well as current leader on the ASP World Title Series, Joel Parkinson (AUS), 30, in challenging one-to-two foot (.5 metre) waves at Huntington Beach Pier.
While a mass of drama unfolded during men’s competition, the ASP Top 17 took to the water for non-elimination Round 3 and the action proved to be equally enticing. Thiago Camarao (BRA), 23, and Hawaiian prodigy John John Florence (HAW), 17, were responsible for the elimination of defending event champion Brett Simpson. Camarao found a rare set-wave in his heat and capitalized on the opportunity by logging a 7-point ride to solidify his heat victory and put Simpson out of contention for a third consecutive Nike US Open of Surfing crown.
“When I paddled out I knew it was going to be gnarly with Brett (Simpson) winning the last two years and John John (Florence) having good results in the last two events,” Camarao said. “I told myself I should do airs, but it never happened because it was kind of weird and small, but I just surfed and tried to go for the sets because they were the good scores. Luckily I was able to get one good set.”
Bobby Martinez (Santa Barbara, CA), 28, looked electric despite the testing conditions and took down current ASP World Title Series leader Joel Parkinson as well as former three-time US Open of Surfing Champion Rob Machado (Seaside, CA), 37, in his Round 1 heat. “That was a hard heat for everyone,” Martinez said. “I didn’t have a heat strategy, I saw Rob (Machado) over there on his peak, but if I think about it too much I forget what I’m doing. I’m going to go home tonight to rest and just come back tomorrow.”
Jeremy Flores (FRA), 23, slowly built momentum throughout his heat and punctuated his win with powerful surfing on both his forehand and backhand to take the day’s highest heat-total on his last two rides of 16.10 out of 10. “It was really hard, the waves were small and with the high tide it’s breaking close to the beach,” Flores said. “It’s hard to find the proper section to hit, but I found some okay waves and did the job so I’m happy to get through. That 8 was the only right I caught, it had a pretty fun section. I’m not really and air guy, so I just tried to do my thing and throw some spray and I guess the judges liked it.”
Flores, current No. 4 on the men’s ASP World Ranking, was happy to advance through his opening round heat after several of his fellow elite ASP World Title campaigners fell earlier in the day. “I’m happy to get that first round out of the way,” Flores said. “In these kinds of waves, anything can happen and your wave choice is the most important thing. Some of the early heats were breaking outside and then you could get the reform, but I was kind of stoked to have a really high-tide heat, so it’s the same for everyone. That way you don’t need that luck on your side.”
Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, relied on his signature inverted, air-reverse on a lefthand wedge in the early morning to seize the day’s highest single-wave score of an 8.33 (out of 10). The Brazilian stayed as busy as possible in his heat to fight off the uncharacteristically cold water-temps and his strategy paid off in his heat. “I just love to come to Huntington,” Andre said. “It’s one of my favorite places in the world and I feel really great out here. It was tough because the water is really cold so I was trying to catch as many waves as I could to stay warm. Luckily I was able to get a couple of waves.”
Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara, CA), 16, Nike US Open of Surfing Wildcard, maintained her form after winning her Round 1 heat and topped Tyler Wright (AUS), 17, and Silvana Lima (BRA), 26, to win her Round 3 heat with a 15.50 out of 20 heat total and advance directly through to the Quarterfinals.
“It’s definitely not great out there and hopefully we have some swell coming,” Peterson said. “If you get the right ones the lefts are a lot better. It’s kind of what I was going for.” Peterson, current No. 7 on the ASP Women’s World Ranking, is within striking distance of joining the elite ASP Top 17 for 2012 and her performance at the Nike US Open of Surfing marks an ideal start for the young Californian.
“It’s definitely a dream start so far,” Peterson said. “I’ve been really focused, really on schedule and resting a lot and I’m over the moon with excitement right now.” Carissa Moore (Honolulu, HI), 18, freshly crowned ASP Women’s World Champion and winner of last year’s US Open of Surfing, took out her non-elimination Round 3 heat over local favorite Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), 18, and Laura Enever (AUS), 19, and is one step closer to her impeccable record of making every final on the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title Season.
“It’s a little tricky with the high tide and there are a lot of close-out waves and I just rolled the dice out there,” Moore said. “Luckily you only need two and I’m happy to get through. I’m hoping to get high scores, but I didn’t get over a 6 out there today.”
Tomorrow’s Nike US Open of Surfing action will see the completion of the Round of 48 as well as the beginning of the Round of 24. Also returning will be the ASP Top 17 for Round 4 action. LIVE webcast of the Nike US Open of surfing will run from August 1 through 7, 2011 via www.usopenofsurfing.com
The Nike US Open of Surfing represents a massive action sports festival which also includes Skate, BMX, Art, Music and Fashion shows all of which are free to the public.