Like the Lakers beating the Celtics during Game 7 at the Staples Center in 2010, Brett Simpson joined a special league of hometown heroes when he found victory in his own backyard at the US Open of Surfing in 2009. And then he went and did again in 2010.
Simpson, who grew up surfing Huntington, used the local knowledge to his advantage, which clearly paid off when he beat Mick Fanning—one of the toughest competitors in the world—in the 2009 final. “I can’t ask for more than to beat Mick Fanning in the final at home. With that, and the $100,00 and the 2,500 ‘QS points, I’m nearly in tears at the moment,” Simpson said.
After such a tremendous victory in 2009, Simpson had fulfilled the dream of a lifetime. But he wasn’t done. In 2010 he again found himself in the finals, this time up against new school terror Jordy Smith. Again, he upstaged one of the best surfers in the world, winning the event for a second time. “It’s almost unimaginable. Two in a row—this is the stuff that you don’t even dream about.”
Unfortunately, the momentum slowed in 2011 when Brett was eliminated in the quarterfinals and Kelly Slater ended up dominating the contest. But amidst the loss, Brett remained hopeful. “I got great support here and win, lose, draw, I’m stoked. I’ll be back next year to get it,” he told LA Times.
Looking to forward to 2012, Simpson is ready to surf Huntington and take the Open for a third time. “I think I just have the confidence and the right equipment from surfing out there on a daily basis,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier knowing you have spent a lot of time preparing and are comfortable.”
But however he fares this year, the US Open of Surfing has changed his life forever, and cemented him firmly into Huntington legend status.—Amanda Martinek