Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA) has claimed the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill and the ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) ratings lead. The win marks Curran's first major event victory and his first time atop the ASP WQS ratings.
Curran beat France's Tim Boal (Hossegor, FRA) in one-to-three foot (1 metre) surf at Huntington Beach Pier this afternoon – the final day of the 10-day competition. His ASP 6-Star victory saw him defeat a field of 192 competitors at the biggest WQS event in North America and the most attended event in professional surfing.
"I'm so pumped I don't even know what to say," Curran said. "Everyone was getting me really pumped up because I really wanted to win and I'm stoked. I just tried to keep myself cool and composed the whole time. I was just trying to keep it in rhythm and keep going."
Winning four heats today, Curran maintained his form to take out the final despite fatigue from surfing three heats earlier in the day. Curran defeated Boal 11.66 to 10.70, both out of a possible 20 point score, by taking advantage of the few waves on offer in the deteriorating conditions.
"I was giving it everything I had and we surfed so many heats today," Curran said. "Tim Boal did an awesome job and I'm just stoked with the win."
By claiming the biggest win of his career and jumping to No. 1 on the current ASP WQS ratings, Curran increases his chances of qualifying for the 2009 ASP World Tour. The top 15 WQS surfers at year's end earn berths onto the elite tour.
"I'm super stoked to be the new WQS No. 1," Curran said. "It's tough because there are so many good guys. I'm just trying to focus on each heat and take it one contest at a time. I think all of the training and staying focused is paying off."
Runner-up Boal, now rated No. 18 on the ASP WQS, put together an excellent effort in his Final battle against Curran, unfortunately he was unable to find the scores needed to claim the U.S. Open Title.
"I'm upset that I lost," Boal said. "I'm happy with the points, but I would have liked to come away with the win."
Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA) finished equal 3rd overall – the best result by a Huntington Beach local in the event. Simpson netted some of the event's highest scores but was unable to earn a final berth over a dominating Boal. His notable effort at the Honda U.S. Open saw him move from No. 15 to No. 7 on the WQS ratings.
Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL) earned his highest WQS result of the year with an equal 3rd alongside Simpson. Kling beat fellow former ASP World Tour surfer Shaun Cansdell (Emerald Beach, AUS), WQS standout Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA) and ASP World Tour rookie Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF) on the way to his semifinal finish.
Taylor Jensen (San Clemente, CA) claimed the O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding pres. by Honda title with a combination of traditional longboarding moves and aggressive top-turns. Jensen's victory over fellow finalists Noah Shimabukuro (Oceanside, CA), Ned Snow (North Shore, HI) and Tony Silvagni (Kerry Beach, NC), earned him his second U.S. Open title – he first won the event in 2003.
"This is my second U.S. Open win and it feels a lot better the second time around," Jensen said. "The waves are alright for being as windy as it is in Huntington and it's just fun to go out and surf with some friends."
Jensen jumped out to an early lead over the competition and led the heat throughout its entirety.
"My goal was to go out and put two decent scores on the board right off the bat," Jensen said. "I just tried to improve throughout the final and was lucky enough to be able to."
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA) claimed an impressive victory at the O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior pres. by Honda today. Gadauskas outscored Julian Wilson (Coolum, AUS), Chris Salisbury (Newport, AUS) and Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA) in a crowd-delighting display of aerial exchanges and big moves.
Wilson jumped out to an early lead with two solid scores over the field but Gudauskas chipped away at the young Australian's points lead with a flurry of frontside airs to edge out Wilson for the win.
"I'm on top of the world right now," Gudauskas said. "I knew it was going to take everything I had and I tried my hardest and fortunately the cards went my way. All of the boys were surfing insane all week and they're some of my favorite surfers, so I was just stoked to be in the heat."
The next ASP Pro Junior Series event will be the ASP Grade-2 Oakley Pro Junior presented by Heritage Surf and Sport held in Sea Isle City, New Jersey from August 29-30, 2008.
GO211 LIVE feat. the Men's Honda U.S. Open of Surfing pres. by O'Neill Results:
1 – Nathaniel Curran (USA)
2 – Tim Boal (FRA)
Semifinals (1st advances)
Semifinal 1: Tim Boal (FRA) 12.00 def. Brett Simpson (USA) 11.93
Semifinal 2: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 14.00 def. Gabe Kling (USA) 11.27
Quarterfinals (1st advances)
Quarterfinal 1: Tim Boal (FRA) 15.93 def. Dusty Payne (HAW) 13.34
Quarterfinal 2: Brett Simpson (USA) 14.00 def. Eric Geiselman (USA) 11.76
Quarterfinal 3: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 15.66 def. Chris Waring (USA) 10.53
Quarterfinal 4: Gabe Kling (USA) 12.17 def. Joan Duru (FRA) 12.16
Round of 16 (1st advances)
Heat 1: Dusty Payne (HAW) 14.13 def. Tim Reyes (USA) 8.16
Heat 2: Tim Boal (FRA) 12.84 def. Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 6.10
Heat 3: Brett Simpson (USA) 16.17 def. Cory Lopez (USA) 14.34
Heat 4: Eric Geiselman (USA) 15.17 def. Dane Gudauskas (USA) 9.67
Heat 5: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 17.57 def. Roy Powers (HAW) 9.83
Heat 6: Chris Waring (USA) 15.17 def. Torrey Meister (HAW) 9.97
Heat 7: Gabe Kling (USA) 15.94 def. Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 13.17
Heat 8: Joan Duru (USA) 14.66 def. Marlon Lipke (DEU) 12.50
O'Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior presented by Honda Results:
1 – Tanner Gudauskas (USA)
2 – Julian Wilson (AUS)
3 – Chris Salisbury (AUS)
4 – Nat Young (USA)
O'Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding presented by Honda Results:
1 – Taylor Jensen (USA)
2 – Tony Silvagni (USA)
3 – Ned Snow (HAW)
4 – Noah Shimabukuro (USA)