Brett Simpson Flares and Performance Bar Raises at Day 5 of Honda U.S. Open

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Friday, July 25, 2008) -The GO211 LIVE featuring the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill has whittled the original field of 192 surfers down to the final 24, only two of which are elite ASP World Tour campaigners, as today's competition marked the completion of the Round of 48 in the clean-but-decreasing swell of two-to-three feet (1 metre).

Standouts in today's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event included resident Orange County natives Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA) and Chris Waring (Seal Beach, CA) draw on their familiarity with Huntington Beach to post the day's highest scores, while ASP World Tour surfers Roy Powers (Hanelei, HI) and Timmy Reyes (San Clemente, CA) advanced through their heats with solid wins over their opponents.

Simpson, current No. 15 on the ASP WQS, earned the day's top honors of highest single-wave score with a near-flawless 9.87 out of 10 contributing to the day's highest heat total of 18.87 out of a possible 20 for a stunning come-from-behind victory in the latter half of the heat.

"I had such a slow start and it was really frustrating so I just took it out on the waves," Simpson said. "I got next to the pier and nobody was there and that wave came and I got the 9.87."

Moments after clawing his way into the top position with his 9.87, Simpson solidified his advancement with an unbelievable aerial to post a 9.00 out of a possible 10.

"I just thought I had a good section and I knew I should go for it," Simpson said. "I know that they are scoring good on high-risk maneuvers. I'm trying to just relax and keep doing what I'm doing and when you get a solid score it allows you to do a bigger move on your next wave."

Chris Waring (Seal Beach, CA) posted the day's second highest single wave score of a 9.57 out of a possible 10 point score with vicious backhand attack on a lefthander breaking into the Huntington Beach Pier.

"I was sitting by the pier waiting for a right and I saw that left coming in," Waring said. "It was kind of a last minute choice to go and it stood up pretty good and I got that first big hit and then the second one going into the pilings."

Waring, current No. 108 on the ASP WQS, hopes to carry the confidence built in his Round 4 win into Round 5 tomorrow, while surfing in front of his home crowd.

"I'm so stoked - it's my home and all of my friends are here," Waring said. "I've got nothing to lose and I'm just going to go big for the rest of the competition."

Adam Melling (Lennox Head, AUS) issued one of the day's top performances, with a win over Floridian prodigy Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), who advanced in second, former ASP World Tour campaigner Greg Emslie (East London, ZAF) and current ASP WQS ratings leader Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA). The stacked heat witnessed the top competitors in a constant exchange of first place, but it was Melling who netted the heat victory.

"I try to just focus on trying to get the best waves of the set," Melling said. "It's important to focus on what you're doing and not what everyone else is doing."

The GO211 LIVE feat. the Men's Honda U.S. Open of Surfing pres. by O'Neill will resume tomorrow with the Round of 24.

Accompanying this men's Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event was the GO211 LIVE featuring the Women's Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill (also an ASP WQS 6-Star event) where the top female seeds narrowed their field down from 12 to eight of the event's finest female competitors. The Women's Honda U.S. Open Champion will be crowned tomorrow, with the Final heat beginning at 2:25 p.m.

The ASP Women's WQS 6-Star event hosted top performances by ASP Women's World Tour campaigners Sofia Mulanovich (Lima, PER), Stephanie Gilmore (Tweed Heads, Aus) and Melanie Bartels (Makaha, HI).

Bartels posted a heat total of 16.84 out of 20 in her heat victory, dominating fellow Hawaiian Bethany Hamilton (Hanalei, HI), who advanced in second, and Kim Mayer (Santa Cruz, CA). The Hawaiian standout has been a form surfer throughout the event and is enjoying the current conditions on offer at Huntington Beach Pier.

"I'm just glad that there are waves over two foot," Bartels said. "It's fun out there. I like surfing high tide because the double-ups work really well. I've been surfing here a lot, so I kind of know where to sit to help me out."

Mulanovich, former ASP Women's World Champion and current No. 1 on the ASP Women's World Tour, confidently advanced through her stacked Round of 12 heat against current ASP WQS ratings leader Sally Fitzgibbons(Gerroa, AUS) and France's Lee Ann Curren (Hossegor, FRA) and is hoping to claim a second Honda U.S. Open Title this year.

"I won in 2006 and it was good for me so I'm looking forward to trying to win again," Mulanovich said. "I need to focus on not getting nervous. When I get nervous I don't do well, so I need to try and not get nervous."

Mulanovich's advancement out of the Round of 12 puts her against Malia Manuel (Wailua, HAW) in the first Quarterfinal.

Gilmore, reigning ASP Women's World Champion and current No. 2 on the ASP Women's World Tour, advanced into her Quarterfinals heat with a victory over second place finisher Coco Ho (North Shore, HI) and Nikita Robb (East London, ZAF).

"All of the girls are surfing well," Gilmore said. "Sofia (Mulanovich) is on fire and her boards are looking really good and there's this whole new generation of girls coming through and their potential is scary. It's good to be out in heats with them because they keep me on my toes, and they present exciting challenges for me."

Tomorrow's GO211 LIVE featuring Women's Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill event will see the crowning of the Women's Honda U.S. Open Champion as well as the S-3 Supergirl ASP Pro Junior Champion.

GO211 LIVE feat. the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing pres. by O'Neill

Round of 48 (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Hodei Collazo (ESP) 15.16, Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.83,
Taylor Knox (USA) 13.83, Sterling Spencer (USA) 5.60
Heat 2: Tim Reyes (USA) 13.00, Tim Boal (FRA) 12.56, Kieran Horn
(USA)12.00, Pablo Gutierrez (ESP) 7.97
Heat 3: Nick Rozsa (USA) 15.33, Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 14.07,
Eneko Acero (CRI) 13.00, Adam Robertson (AUS) 11.27
Heat 4: Brett Simpson (USA) 18.87, Dane Gudauskas (USA) 12.50,
Jesse Heilman (USA) 10.60, Evan Geiselman (USA) 10.33
Heat 5: Chris Davidson (AUS) 13.56, Cory Lopez (USA) 13.10,
Corey Zeims (AUS) 12.73, Dustin Barca (USA) 11.07
Heat 6: Adam Melling (AUS) 13.33, Eric Geiselman (USA) 12.67,
Greg Emslie (AUS) 12.67, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.33
Heat 7: Chris Waring (USA) 17.00, Kirk Flintoff (AUS) 11.94,
Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 9.70, Charles Martin (GLP) 9.20
Heat 8: Michael Bourez (PYF) 16.74, Torrey Meister (HAW) 15.20,
Patrick Beven (FRA) 12.00, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 6.16
Heat 9: Roy Powers (HAW) 16.17, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 14.76,
Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.23, Joel Centeio (HAW) 11.27
Heat 10: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 11.96, Joan Duru (FRA) 11.17, Hugo
Savalli (REU) 9.83, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 9.34
Heat 11: Yuri Sodre (BRA) 13.40, Gabe Kling (USA) 13.10, Jordy
Smith (ZAF) 11.40, Jesse Merle-Jones 4.79
Heat 12: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 15.16, Marlon Lipke (DEU) 13.63,
Chris Ward (USA) 13.53, Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.40

Round of 96 (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 21: Gabe Kling (USA) 14.66, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.50,
Shaun Ward (USA) 8.50, Blake Jones (USA) 4.10
Heat 22: Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 13.13, Marlon Lipke (DEU)
12.63, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 11.34, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 11.30
Heat 23: Julian Wilson (AUS) 14.50, Yuri Sodre (BRA) 13.10, Nic
Muscroft (AUS) 10.56, Federico Pilurzu (CRI) 10.30
Heat 24: Chris Ward (USA) 16.77, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 13.54, Ian
Walsh (HAW) 7.90, Nils Schweizer (USA) 4.80

GO211 LIVE feat. the Women's Honda U.S. Open pres. O'Neill

Round of 12 (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 14.50, Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
14.37, Lee Ann Curren (FRA) 13.73
Heat 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.00, Malia Manuel (HAW) 9.76,
Megan Abubo (HAW) 4.27
Heat 3: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 16.84, Bethany Hamilton (HAW)
10.77, Kim Mayer (USA) 10.60
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.50, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.36,
Nikita Robb (ZAF) 10.66