Huntington Beach, California (Thursday, July 24, 2008) - The GO211 LIVE featuring the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill enjoyed glassy two-to-three foot (1 metre) conditions today as the highest-seeded surfers of the event hit the water for the first time for the Round of 96.
Round 3 of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event saw both standout members of the ASP WQS and marquee athletes of the elite ASP World Tour excel in today’s conditions, with Southern California’s Cory Lopez (Laguna Niguel, CA), Timmy Reyes (Huntington Beach, CA) and Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA) leading the local charge into Round 4.
Lopez, a former campaigner on the ASP World Tour, proved he hasn’t lost his world-class form, dropping the day’s highest heat total of 18.07 out of possible 20, including a 9.07 out of a possible 10 in the opening minutes of his heat on a righhand set wave. Lopez followed up with a second 9.00 ride by punting a massive frontside air on a left in the latter half of his Round 3 bout against Adam Melling (Lennox Head, AUS), who advanced in second, T.J. Barron (North Shore, HAW) and Wiggolly Dantas (Ubatuba, BRA).
“I was trying to figure out what board to ride and this one worked well for me out there,” Lopez said. “I got that first wave and started out with a 9 and I was just stoked to see that wave come to me. Then I got lucky and got that one where I could do that big air and got that other 9. It was a good heat and I had fun and I’m looking forward to the Boost Mobile Trials and the rest of the event.”
Reyes, current No. 14 on the ASP World Tour, put in one of the day’s best efforts, moving from a combination situation (requiring two scores to advance) in the first half of his heat to come back and win with one of the day’s highest heat totals of 17.77 out of 20.
“My strategy was to go out on the south end and pick off a few waves in the beginning but it kind of failed me towards the halfway mark,” Reyes said. “I decided to do the old school Huntington thing and to go by the pier and pick out a couple.”
Reyes posted two excellent back-to-back scores, a 9.17 out of a possible 10 (the day’s highest single-wave score) and an 8.60 out of a possible 10 with big backside snaps on the lefthanders breaking into the pier, to earn his victory.
“I knew I’d come back somewhat but I didn’t know that I would get 9’s,” Reyes said. “I had the right waves. I didn’t know if I should go on them because I thought they might close out, but I was just stoked to make it through that heat because it was a close one.”
Simpson, currently sitting in the No. 15 spot on the ASP WQS, was another Huntington Beach local who claimed a victory at his home break today, eliminating former ASP World Tour Top 5 Phil Macdonald(Ulladulla, AUS) en route to his advancement into Round 4.
“Huntington is a wave I know and even if I haven’t surfed here for a year I could probably come out here and put up a fight,” Simpson said. “It’s nice just to have waves and it really shows these guys that Huntington has probably been one of our better events on the tour this year.”
Following the completion of this year’s Honda U.S. Open, the majority of high-rated ASP WQS events will take place outside of North America. Simpson will look to capitalize on the ASP WQS 6-Star event at home in Huntington Beach, as he vies for valuable ratings points and a shot at the 2008 Honda U.S. Open Title.
“I only have a couple results so it’s a must for me to get a couple of points here,” Simpson said. “I’m home and I’m ready. I’ve had my four or five years in this event and a couple years on tour now, so I’m ready to win.”
Taylor Knox, current No. 23 on the ASP World Tour, made a pit stop in between the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay and the Rip Curl Pro Search Somewhere to compete in the Honda U.S. Open. The ASP World Tour veteran dominated the opening heat of the Round of 96 and will face Hodei Collazo (Zarautz, EUK), Sterling Spencer (Gulf Breeze, FL) and Dusty Payne (Lahaina, HI) in his Round 4 heat tomorrow.
“I’m just stoked to be back,” Knox said. “It’s good to be back home and a lot of guys on tour went straight to the next venue, but it’s really nice for me to come home and regroup a little and surf this event in front of my home crowd. It’s a tight schedule right now, but I would have come home even if it wasn’t for this event, and I’ve got a couple of small wave boards I wanted to try out.”
Tomorrow’s event will be composed of the remaining four heats of the Round of 96, as well as the completion of the Round of 48. Men’s competition will begin at 7:30am and will be followed by the Women’s Honda U.S. Open of Surfing Round of 12, which will kick off at 2:10pm directly following the completion of the men’s Round of 48.
Top women’s seeds Lee Ann Curren (Hossegor, FRA), Sofia Mulanovich (Lima, PER), Sallly Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, AUS), Malia Manuel (Wailua, HAW), Samantha Cornish (Currumbin Alley, AUS), Megan Abubo (Haleiwa, HAW), Bethany Hamilton (Hanalei, HAW), Melanie Bartels (Makaha, HI), Kim Mayer (Santa Cruz, CA), Coco Ho (North Shore, HI), Stephanie Gilmore (Tweed Heads, AUS) and Nikita Robb (East London, ZAF), will all be looking to move one step closer towards claiming the 2008 Women’s Honda U.S. Open Title.
The GO211 LIVE featuring the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill will be webcast LIVE via www.usopenofsurfing.com
Round 3: 96 surfers remaining (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Taylor Knox (USA) 15.17, Kieran Horn (USA) 12.37, Benji Weatherley (HAW) 6.00, Jose Maria Cabrera (CNY) 5.64
Heat 2: Hodei Collazo (ESP) 11.17, Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 10.44, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 9.94, Nathan Hedge (AUS) 7.17
Heat 3: Tim Boal (FRA) 15.84, Sterling Spencer (USA) 10.67, Teppei Tajima (JPN) 10.40, Pedro Henrique (BRA) 10.03
Heat 4: Tim Reyes (USA) 17.77, Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.93, Austin Ware (USA) 13.34, Jean Da Silva (BRA) 6.73
Heat 5: Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 14.50, Evan Geiselman (USA) 11.03, David Weare (ZAF) 9.74, Luke Cheadle (AUS) 6.81
Heat 6: Adam Robertson (AUS) 14.07, Jesse Heilman (USA) 13.50, Matt Wilkinson (Aus) 12.33, Ricky Whitlock (USA) 11.26
Heat 7: Brett Simpson (USA) 14.10, Enko Acero (EUK) 13.97, Phillip MacDonald (AUS) 12.83, Leigh Sedley (AUS) 10.67
Heat 8: Dane Gudauskas (USA) 14.00, Nick Rozsa (USA) 10.50, Drew Courtney (AUS) 10.40, Jack Perry (AUS) 5.87
Heat 9: Chris Davidson (AUS) 15.27, Eric Geiselman (USA) 13.93, Shane Beschen (USA) 12.97, Dustin Cuizon (HAW) 12.37
Heat 10: Cory Lopez (USA) 18.07, Adam Melling (AUS) 14.20, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.43, T.J. Barron (HAW) 10.60
Heat 11: Greg Emslie (ZAF) 16.74, Dustin Barca (HAW) 13.77, Justin Mujica (PRT) 10.87, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 10.03
Heat 12: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.83, Cory Ziems (AUS) 12.76, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 11.20, Asher Nolan (USA) 10.20
Heat 13: Chris Waring (USA) 14.93, Patrick Bevin (FRA) 14.60, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 10.97, Ola Eleogram (HAW) 10.90
Heat 14: Kirk Flintoff (AUS) 12.00, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.16, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 8.83, Andre Silva (BRA) 8.73
Heat 15: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 16.24, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 14.27, Sean Marceron (USA) 13.43, Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.27
Heat 16: Torrey Meister (HAW) 14.90, Charles Martin (GLP) 12.96, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 12.47, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 9.43
Heat 17: Joel Centeio (HAW) 16.00, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 11.63, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 10.90, Kyle Ramey (HAW) 5.50
Heat 18: Roy Powers (HAW) 14.47, Joan Duru (FRA) 13.83, Shaun Gossmann (AUS) 11.53, Brian Toth (PRI) 8.67
Heat 19: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 13.00, Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.00, Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 10.86, Alex Smith (HAW) 7.13
Heat 20: Hugo Savalli (REU) 13.76, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 13.73, Blake Howard (USA) 5.57, Justin McBride (USA) 5.03
Latest episode of Fergal Smith's fantastic Growing series
Bodyboard footage from the Canary islands courtesy of South African, Sacha Specker
Vincent Duvignac returns from injury to show his ability along the French coast
The top 16 contenders for The Hurley Pro Video Trials have been decided. The surfer to receive the wildcard entry, that's up to you.