HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, July 18, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6- Star Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing kicked off the Round of 172 today and saw Matt Pagan (Westchester, CA), 19, Kellen Ellison (Ventura, CA), 21, Richard Christie (Mahia NZL) 20, and Jason Harris (Huntington Beach, CA), 21, advance through the 32-man trials format to earn berths in to the main event, which begins with the Round of 144. Running in conjunction with today’s trials event was the ASP North America Pro Junior Series Grade-4 Women’s U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior, which announced its finalists to conclude the day’s action.
Surfers competing on the ASP WQS are looking to claim the crucial points on offer at the famed event to help their cause towards qualification for the 2010 ASP World Tour, as well as the historic US$100,000 prize purse put up by Hurley for the this year’s winner. The female surfers on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series are out to put their top two results towards qualification for the Billabong ASP World Junior Championships held in Narrabeen, Australia each January and the U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior will play an integral role in each of their respective campaigns.
Local surfer Jason Harris (Huntington Beach , CA), 21, utilized his familiarity of the south Huntington Beach Pier to advance through three heats today, marking his first appearance in the main event of the Hurley U.S. Open. The native talent blasted the trials’ top heat total of a 14.33 out of 20 to advance through to the Round of 144. While Harris spends most of his time competing on the road, he’s taking advantage of the benefits of surfing at home while competing at the Hurley U.S. Open.
“I’m just so stoked to finally make the main event,” Harris said. “There are fun waves and people don’t have to hassle, so I’m stoked. You travel around and do all of these comps, but at home you sleep in your own bed and just cruise down to the beach and I just feel way more comfortable.”
The explosive regular-footer is hoping to carry his momentum through to the main event where he will tackle some of the finest up-and-coming competitive talent.
“Hopefully I can keep the ball rolling,” Harris said. “I got my work in today, surfing an hour of back-to-back heats, and I’m just looking forward to keeping it rolling.”
Christie was also a top performer in the men’s Hurley U.S. Open trials, winning his first two heats before advancing in second behind Harris in the last trials heat.
“I’m stoked that I made it in to the main event,” Christie said. “Luckily I got a couple of firsts and a second there at the end and I’m stoked.”
After a long journey to California to compete in the event, the advancement in to the main round of the Hurley U.S. Open comes as a relief to the young New Zealander. Now he’s hoping to continue his successful campaign through to the latter rounds.
“I would have been pretty bummed if I got bumped in the trials after coming all this way,” Christie said. “So, it’s definitely a relief to get through to the main event and hopefully I can continue to perform against the top seeds.”
The ASP North America Pro Junior Series saw standout performances by defending event champion Coco Ho (Sunset Beach, HI), 18, and defending U.S. Open champion Malia Manuel (Wailua, HI), 15, in the opening day of the women’s ASP Grade-4 U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior.
Ho smashed the girl’s top score scores of a near-perfect 9.67 out of 10 and combined it with a second score for an impressive 15.67 out of 20 heat total to advance in to the Final in a stacked heat over Manuel, who advanced in second, while eliminating local standout Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), 16.
“Just before my good wave came in, I got a little glimpse that Malia (Manuel) got a nine and I knew I had to go for gold,” Ho said.
The ASP Women’s World Tour rookie is not only out to defend her U.S. Open Pro Junior title, but last year’s dual-finalist is also looking to improve upon her runner-up finish in the women’s ASP WQS 6-Star event. The young Hawaiian saw the stacked field of international junior talent as an excellent opportunity to warm up for this year’s Hurley U.S. Open.
“Everyone was wondering what I was doing the Junior for, but when I saw the draw I knew I had to enter,” Ho said. “With Carissa (Moore), Alana (Blanchard) and Sage (Erickson) in the event, I figured I might as well get some practice in and try and defend my title.”
Manuel also earned a ticket in to the Final when she finished second behind Ho after jumping out to an early lead by smashing a near-perfect nine-point ride. Manuel then battled local standout Conlogue, following her every move to keep her from stealing her advancing position in to the Final.
“I switched it up a little and paddled out under the pier,” Manuel said. “I got one and made it to the beach. It’s finally linking up and I got a good score. At the end Courtney (Conlogue) needed a five and it was tough. It was a full battle out there. Courtney is a very strong competitor and a strong athlete and if she got a wave she would have taken the advancing spot, but luckily it went my way.”
Manuel, who was the youngest surfer in history to win the U.S. Open, is also utilizing the U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior as a prelude to the upcoming main event where she will defend her title against a plethora of ASP Women’s World Tour talent as well as some of the finest up-and-coming female competitors.
“It’s very great practice to surf in the Junior for the U.S. Open,” Manuel said. “I want to thank Nike for giving me the wildcard and it’s great to be a part of the event. Hurley is really putting on a show this year.”
Tomorrow’s Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing action will continue with the men’s Round of 144 and will begin at 7:30am local time. For all of your Hurley U.S. Open inquires log on to www.usopenofsurfing.com
For additional ASP information check out www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org
Hurley U.S. Open Round of 148 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Matt Pagan (USA) 11.43, Kellen Ellison (USA) 9.80, Manuel Selman (CHL) 6.46, Tyler Newton (HAW) 6.33
Heat 2: Jason Harris (USA) 14.33, Richard Christie (NZL) 11.63, Michael Hoisington (USA) 9.83, Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 7.63
Hurley U.S. Open Round of 156 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Matt Pagan (USA) 11.67, Tyler Newton (HAW) 10.47, Matt Meola (HAW) 8.14, Angelo Lozano (MEX) 7.87
Heat 2: Kellen Ellison (USA) 12.23, Manuel Selman (CHL) 11.60, Keito Matsuoka (JPN) 7.13, Hunter Heverly (USA) 6.10
Heat 3: Richard Christie (NZL) 12.67, Jason Harris (USA) 9.76, Ryah Arthur (USA) 8.44, Matt Keenan (USA) 6.63
Heat 4: Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 11.93, Michael Hoisington (USA) 10.67, Ryan Briggs (USA) 10.50, Ted Navarro (USA) 10.33
Hurley U.S. Open Round of 172 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Matt Meola (HAW) 12.60, Manuel Selman (CHL) 10.43, Phillip Goold (USA) 7.37, Rikiya Kitada (JPN) 5.67
Heat 2: Tyler Newton (HAW) 11.10, Hunter Heverly (USA) 10.07, Tom Rezvan (USA) 9.47, Albee Layer (HAW) 7.73
Heat 3: Keito Matsuoka (JPN) 12.33, Matt Pagan (USA) 8.56, Peter Mel (USA) 8.30, Alex Kamkoff (VEN) 4.40
Heat 4: Kellen Ellison (USA) 11.40, Angelo Lozano (MEX) 10.86, Magnum Martinez (VEN) 7.67, Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 6.67
Heat 5: Richard Christie (NZL) 11.73, Ted Navarro (USA) 11.34, Cody Thompson (USA) 9.74, Wesley Larsen (HAW) 8.20
Heat 6: Matt Keenan (USA) 13.10, Michael Hoisington (USA) 11.53, Andrew Doheny (USA) 9.40, Danny Estes (USA) 9.37
Heat 7: Austin Smith-Ford (USA) 10.16, Ryah Arthur (USA) 9.73, Brandon Guilmette (USA) 9.66, Kyle Ramey (HAW) 3.83
Heat 8: Ryan Briggs (USA) 11.94, Jason Harris (USA) 8.43, Sean Hayes (USA) 7.40, Tony Adams (USA) 6.73
U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior Semifinals Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 15.67, Malia Manuel (HAW) 12.33, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.43, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 6.07
Heat 2: Canelle Bulard (REU) 9.34, Sage Erickson (USA) 9.20, Carissa Moore (HAW) 7.36, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 7.10
U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior Quarterfinals Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Coco Ho (HAW) 13.83, Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.34, Taylor Pitz (USA) 6.37, Bailey Nage (HAW) 6.10
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.00, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 10.10, Leila Hurst (HAW) 9.00, Moncya Byrne-Wickey (HAW) 5.07
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 12.00, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 8.10, Wini Paul (AUS) 6.94, Nage Melamed (HAW) 6.10
Heat 4: Sage Erickson (USA) 11.67, Canelle Bulard (REU) 9.17, Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 8.34, Jasset Umbel (USA) 5.86
U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior Round of 24 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Taylor Pitz (USA) 12.00, Monyca Byrne-Wickey (HAW) 11.16, Haley Watson (USA) 7.66, Lani Doherty (HAW) 5.93
Heat 2: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 13.67, Bailey Nagy (HAW) 8.80, Jenna Balester (UAS) 7.60, Francisca Santos (PRT) 5.43
Heat 3: Nage Melamed (HAW) 11.83, Cannelle Bulard (REU) 7.90, Sara Taylor (USA) 6.10, Shelby Detmers (USA) 4.73
Heat 4: Jasset Umbel (USA) 10.76, Wini Paul (NZL) 7.94, Bo Stanley (USA) 7.10, Meah Collins (USA) 5.10