HUNTINGTON BEACH, California – The top seeds in the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill hit the water yesterday in 2' to 3' (one metre) surf for the remaining heats of Round 3.
Gabe Kling translated a bit of his elite tour form to the WQS yesterday, racking up the day's highest heat total of 17.60 out of 20.
As the competitive field narrowed at the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event yesterday, it was the elite Foster's ASP World Tour members lifting the collective performance level as the remaining 96 surfers in the men's draw were whittled down to 48.
Gabe Kling (St. Augustine, FL), current No. 40 on the elite Foster's ASP World Tour, translated a bit of his elite tour form to the WQS yesterday, racking up the day's highest heat total of 17.60 out of 20. The powerful natural-footer utilized his stylish backhand attack as he worked over the bowling lefthanders into the Pier.
"These past two days have probably been the best Huntington I've ever seen so I'm stoked about the conditions," Kling said. "There is just enough punch out there this morning with the tide to be able to keep your speed up through the turns. It's really rippable this morning and I hope the conditions stay the same for the rest of the event."
Although sitting towards the back of the ratings on the Dream Tour, Kling has been hedging his bets for re-qualification by competing on the ASP WQS. Kling currently sits in the 33rd spot on the qualifying series, and hopes that a solid finish at the open will secure his return to the elite tour in 2008.
"I've been having a bit of a hard year on the World Tour this season," Kling said. "I've been getting my butt kicked pretty much, but I'm doing both the World Tour and the 'QS and there are still 10 big 'QS events left this season so I'm hoping to requalify through one or the other. Surfing with the best guys in the world definitely changes the way you approach 'QS events. I'm hoping for a big result here."
Bruce Irons (Hanalei, HI), current No. 16 on the elite Foster's ASP World Tour, locked in the highest single-wave score of the event so far with a 9.57 out of a possible 20. The stylish natural-footer ripped into a walling righthander with the perfect blend of flow and aggression before finishing off with an incredible layback snap.
"I haven't done the U.S. Open in a couple of years so it's nice to come back and have some little waves to surf," Irons said. "It's always a scene down in Huntington at this time so I'm just cruising. Hopefully the waves stay like this."
Along with Kling and Irons, fellow ASP Foster's 45 members Royden Bryson (East London, ZAF), Adriano de Souza (Sao Paulo, BRA), Cory Lopez (Indian Rocks Beach, FL), C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne Beach, FL), Fred Patacchia (North Shore, HI), Rodrigo Dornelles (Torres, BRA) and Josh Kerr (Gold Coast, AUS) all advanced through their respective Round 3 heats yesterday.
Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA), current No. 9 on the ASP WQS, scored a sensational come-from-behind victory to advance through to Round 4 of the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented O'Neill. Needing a solid score in the dying moments, Reynolds boosted an impressive aerial maneuver to obtain a 9.50 out of a possible 20 and walk away with the heat win.
"I'm surprised that I pulled that off because I typically don't do very well in pressure situations like that," Reynolds said. "When I got to the beach, I wasn't even sure if I got the score, but I guess the judges liked it and the rewarded me for it. I'm stoked to get through another round as I'd like to get another result here at the Open."
Local boys Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA) and Shaun Ward (Huntington Beach, CA) kept the U.S. Open hopes alive, both winning their respective Round 3 heats while remaining Trialist Granger Larsen (Lahaina, HI) went down yesterday afternoon.
Following the completion of Round 3 of the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill, the semifinals of the Boost Mobile Shootout were ran featuring 10 surfers vying for two coveted wildcard entries into September's Boost Mobile Pro of Surf presented by Hurley.
The two five-man heats saw Timmy Curran (Oxnard, CA), Jordy Smith (Durban, ZAF), Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA) and Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA) all advance through to tomorrow's Final.
Tomorrow will see the Round of 48 completed as well as the first two heats of the Round of 24 for the men before running the Round of 24 for the women. Capping off tomorrow's action will be the Final for the Boost Mobile Shootout in which four surfers will vie for two coveted wildcards into the Boost Mobile Pro presented by Hurley this September.
Surfline, official forecasters for the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill, have called for the surf to continue with modest fluctuations throughout the week, the result of Tropical Storm Dalila.