The 2009 Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing is already being touted as the best ever. What the hell just happened?
By Andrew Lewis
What a weekend it has been. It was if the ocean was fed up with all of the shit-talking it has endured lately for its mind-numbing inaction. First, we got J-Bay at dream status — which is huge, but not abnormal. But the U.S. Open? Who woulda thunk it. Not since 1991 has the Open enjoyed such epic conditions — but many are saying 2009 trumps them all. There was Carissa Moore's leash snapping ditch under a maxing 8-foot set in her Round 12 heat against Sage Erickson and Courtney Conlogue on Friday. Then Kelly's bomb perfect 10 barrel on Saturday. And, of course, nothing can trump Huntington's newest hometown hero Brett Simpson, who stole the show and a beefed up 100K 1st place prize, courtesy of Hurley.
In the waning south swell conditions running beneath the pier, Simpson stroked into a perfect blue wedge and put Mick Fanning in defense mode before the echoes of the hooter ceased bouncing off the browning tummies of Huntington's finest beach babies. Not long after that, he popped off a frontside air reverse for a 9.10. From there, the long-period swell kicked into lull mode and that, friends, was about it — save for a few mediocre 3-footers that limped through. The hundreds of thousands of fans on shore erupted and mention of chills, tears and a Cinderella Story ignited on the webcast, in the backstage compound with Simpson's friends and family and on stage as Brett accepted his crown. Surely the Hurley camp — Simpo's main sponsor — shed tears of joy, knowing that that 100K was kept in the family.
But wait — let us not forget young Courtney Conlogue's guts and glory, who took the Women's title on Saturday. Beginning with Carissa's board snapper on Friday, the women were forced to determine a champion in the massive conditions. Malia Manuel, Coco Ho, Sage Erickson, Carissa and Courtney handled the bombing south peaks with unending fearlessness and, ultimately, it was Courtney's speed bank on a massive left heading into the pier that raised the bar for the Women's contingent and won her the whole thing in dramatic fashion against defending champ Malia Manuel.
And do we even need to mention the rest of the names that showed for a chance at all that cash? Just run through the list of the world's best as of late, and you'll have a clue. And so it goes, as if on queue: the south swell dies, the beautiful women flocking town for just a moment with surfing's elite sons return home, hungover and yearning for next year, and professional surfing rolls on to the next stop, high as a meth addict on the HB strand, scratching for the good luck to keep on coming.
Go to www.usopenofsurfing.com for all of the event news and video highlights
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Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing Results: ASP WQS 6-Star Men's Event
Final: Winner Receives US$100,000
1 – Brett Simpson (USA) 16.93
2 – Mick Fanning (AUS) 12.50
Semifinals: 4 surfers remaining (winner advances)
SF 1: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.00 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.90
SF 2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.07 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.47
Quarterfinals: 8 surfers remaining (winner advances)
QF 1: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.50 def. Nathaniel Curran (USA) 10.27
QF 2: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 16.76 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.77
QF 3: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.10 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 10.00
QF 4: Mick Fanning (AUS) 15.27 def. Michel Bourez (USA) 12.40
Nike 6.0 Pro Junior Results: ASP Grade-2 Pro Junior
1 – Kai Barger (HAW) 15.50
2 – Tonino Benson (HAW) 14.30
3 – Dillon Perillo (USA) 12.53
4 – Nat Young (USA) 9.53