The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Men's and Women's events have attracted marquee athletes from all over the globe all vying for a portion of the healthy prize purse and the ever-important ASP WQS ratings points.
With last year's event finalists C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL) and Jeremy Flores (Reunion Island, FRA) withdrawn from this year's event, the 2008 U.S. Open will undoubtedly crown a new event champion. ASP WQS North American standouts Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA) and Shaun Ward (Huntington Beach, CA) will tackle ASP World Tour campaigners Chris Ward (San Clemente, CA), Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA) and Michael Campbell (Port Macquarie, AUS) for the prized U.S. Open title.
Gudauskas, who recently reclaimed his lead on the ASP WQS ratings at the ASP WQS 6-Star Mr. Price Pro held in Durban, South Africa, will be looking to distance himself from the pack with a solid result close to home. A big result from the west coast standout in Huntington Beach will help his quest towards qualification for the 2009 ASP World Tour.
"In past years, I have struggled with getting a good start on my season, but that changed this year with a win at Sebastian and I've had a few fortunate results since then," Gudauskas said. " There are still a few guys behind me that have big scores so hopefully I can get a couple of more in the next leg here as there are plenty of big events."
Gudauskas will look to use the familiarity he's gained from multiple contests at the Huntington Beach pier as an advantage over the competition.
"It's always nice to come home and enjoy time around the family and friends, Gudauskas said. "We also have the opportunity to grab a big result at U.S. Open as we're familiar with the break and the surroundings."
Knox, who is currently rated No. 19 on the ASP World Tour, will make a pit stop in Huntington Beach between ASP World Tour events, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay and the Rip Curl Pro Search event to compete in the GO211 Live feat. The Honda U.S. Open pres. by O'Neill. Knox is looking forward to competing in front of his home crowd in between ASP Dream Tour events.
"I thought that it might be fun to surf there again since I missed it last year and it's close to home where my friends and family can come and watch," Knox said. "Also, I thought for some reason we might get surf since it has been small the last couple of years. Huntington is really fun when there's a peaky swell going and it's connecting with the shorebreak."
Stephanie Gilmore (Tweed Heads, AUS), reigning ASP Women's World Champion and defending U.S. Open Champion, will be returning to Huntington as well for the ASP WQS 6-Star event to defend her title against a bevy of hungry qualifying campaigners and fellow ASP Women's World Tour surfers alike.
"The U.S. Open is always a great venue as it provides surfers with great exposure and it's almost like an amphitheatre with people on the pier and in the stands," Gilmore said. "Winning last year was a great experience and I'm looking forward to going out there and seeing how I go again this year."
Karina Petroni (Atlantic Beach, FL), who used the U.S. Open as a staple in her campaign towards qualification for the ASP Women's World Tour last year, will look to have a strong repeat performance at this year's event.
"My runner-up finish at last year's U.S. Open was crucial for me in terms of qualifying for this year's Dream Tour and I love being in California for the event," Petroni said. "There's a great atmosphere and the crowd is fantastic."
The international onslaught of female standouts will be combated by top North American seeds Erica Hosseini (Newport Beach, CA), Kyla Langen (Carlsbad, CA), Kim Mayer (Santa Cruz, CA), Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), Sage Erickson (Oxnard, CA) and Lauren Sweeney (Encinitas, CA).
In addition to the ASP WQS 6-Star Men's and Women's events, the U.S. Open will also play host to the ASP Grade-2 O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior, the ASP Grade-2 S3 Supergirl Pro Junior and the O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding.
To GO211 LIVE featuring the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill will begin competition on Friday, July 18, 2008 at 8am with the ASP WQS Men's trials Round of 96.
For all of the LIVE action at this year's GO211 LIVE featuring the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill log onto http://www.usopenofsurfing.com
SCHEDULE (OPENING WEEKEND): GO211 LIVE feat. The Honda U.S. Open pres. by O'Neill
Friday, July 18, 2008
8am: U.S. Open Trials (Round of 96) Heats 1-16
8am: O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior (Round of 96) Heats 1-12
1:20pm: U.S. Open Trials (Round of 64) Heats 1-8
Saturday, July 19, 2008
8am: U.S. Open Trials (Round of 64) Heats 9-16
8am: O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior (Round of 96) Heats 13-16
9:20am: O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior (Round of 64) Heats 1-16
10:40am: U.S. Open Trials (Round of 32) Heats 1-8
1:20pm: O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding (Round of 56) Heats 1-4
2:40pm: O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding (Round of 48) Heats 1-4
2:30pm: S3 Supergirl Pro Junior (Round of 16) Heats 1-4
Sunday, July 20, 2008
8am: U.S. Open Trials (Quarterfinals) Heats 1-4
8am: S3 Supergirl Pro Junior (Semifinals) Heats 1-2
8:40am: O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior (Round of 32) Heats 1-8
9:20am: O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding (Round of 48) Heats 5-8
10:40am: O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding (Round of 32) Heats 1-8
11:20am: O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior (Quarterfinals) Heats 1-4
12:40pm: O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior (Semifinals) Heats 1-2
1:20pm: O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding (Quarterfinals) Heats 1-4
2:40pm: O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding (Semifinals) Heats 1-2