Top Seeds Lead Alongside Qualification Campaigns at ASP PRIME Nike US Open of Surfing

John John Florence (HAW), 17, kept his hopes of qualifying for the ASP Top 34 alive today with standout performances at the ASP PRIME Nike US Open of Surfing. Credit: HURLEY

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California / USA (Friday, August 5, 2011) - The ASP PRIME Nike US Open of Surfing continued today in rippable two-to-four foot (1 metre) surf at Huntington Beach Pier and the elite ASP Top 34 capitalized on the pulsing swell to ignite the event's highest scores.

In addition to today's big scores, several surfers on the verge of joining the elite ASP Top 34 at the midyear mark in the season put in an excellent effort to keep their Nike US Open of Surfing campaigns alive.

Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 39, reigning 10-time ASP World Champion, proved to be unstoppable in his three-man Round of 12 bout against fellow ASP World Title campaigner Taj Burrow (AUS), 33, and Californian Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 23, and surfed a near-perfect heat to earn the highest heat-total of Nike US Open of Surfing competition. The Floridian icon drove through a clean barrel before punting a gigantic frontside no-grab air for a combined total of 18.77 out of 20 to advance directly through to the Quarterfinals.

"I saw some barrels before my heat so I went out there to try and find some and I wanted the airs because the wind is perfect for the airs on those rights," Slater said. "There are some fun peaks. You try not to peak too early in these events and if you have a really good heat like I just had, you kind of readjust and know that you can't always go to that level of scores."

Dusty Payne (Lahaina, HI), 22, was another elite ASP Top 34 campaigner to lead the day's events. The Maui-based surfer was responsible for the highest-single-wave score of competition of 9.67 out of 10 when he found a wedgy righthander and delivered a crisp hack and followed up with a big air-reverse to confirm his spot in the Quarterfinals.

"That 9.67 was just a wedgy right and I didn't want to do just one move so I tried to squeeze in a little snap before I did the air and luckily I pulled it off," Payne said. "The waves are fun, it's pretty consistent and there are a bunch of waves coming through and you get some opportunity and get to mess around a bit. It was fun to mess around and not have the nerves of maybe only having one wave come in your heat."

Yadin Nicol (AUS), 26, current No. 36 on the men's ASP World Ranking, has been on the cusp of qualification for the elite ranks over the last few seasons and moved one step closer of achieving his goal by defeating current No. 8 on the ASP World Title Series, Bede Durbidge (AUS), 28, in the Round of 24.

"This is a huge event for me," Nicol said. "It's the last event with big points and every heat from here is a bonus. All of these PRIME events, making this Round of 12 is pretty much your benchmark. It's over 2,000 points, so from here on out it's all a bonus."

Nicol was unable to win his non-elimination Round of 12 heat and will surf against dangerous Brazilian Thiago Camarao, 23, in Round 5 tomorrow.

John John Florence (Oahu, HI), 17, was another young Hawaiian to ignite the high-performance peaks on offer at Huntington Beach to take his Round of 24 heat over Brazilian talent Miguel Pupo, 19.

"I was super-stoked to get through that Round of 24 heat because Miguel (Pupo) is so gnarly," Florence said. "I was definitely pretty nervous going into that heat, but I just got lucky. There are so many fun waves out there."

Florence, who is also on the verge of qualification for the ASP World Title Series at the midway mark in the season, is hoping to maintain his form at the Nike US Open of Surfing to continue to climb the ASP World Ranking.

"That was a big heat for me to get through to try and qualify," Florence said. "That's my goal to get to the World Tour, I'd be so stoked, I've put in a lot of hard work and so far it looks pretty good."

Royden Bryson (ZAF), 28, continued his giant-killing campaign when he defeated ASP World Title campaigner Jadson Andre (BRA), 21, in the Round of 24 and followed up by moving directly to the Quarterfinals when he won his non-elimination Round of 12 heat.

"I had two 6s in the bank, so it was anybody's game because but as we saw in the heat before guys can throw 8s at any moment," Bryson said. "I was just lucky to get through that heat, I didn't have any exceptional waves. I only had two 6s so I'm stoked to get through and get a good result here."

Also unfolding today was the Nike US Open of Surfing Pro Junior Women's Semifinals and the Hurley Pro Trials, which saw some of surfing's biggest names battle it out for a spot in the final heat to advance in the ASP World Title event in September.

LIVE webcast of the Nike US Open of surfing will run from August 1 through 7, 2011 via

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The Nike US Open of Surfing represents a massive action sports festival which also includes Skate, BMX, Art, Music and Fashion shows all of which are free to the public.

Nike US Open of Surfing Round of 12 Results:
Heat 1: Dusty Payne (HAW) 17.17, Richard Christie (NZL) 12.63, Evan Geiselman (USA) 9.47
Heat 2: Kelly Slater (USA) 18.77, Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.50, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.00
Heat 3: Dane Reynolds (USA) 16.43, Kolohe Andino (USA) 10.60, Yadin Nicol (AUS) 8.93
Heat 4: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 12.90, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 12.53, John John Florence (HAW) 10.80

Nike US Open of Surfing Round 24 Results:
Heat 7: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.06 def. Jesse Mendes (BRA) 7.87
Heat 8: Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.17 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 6.77
Heat 9: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 14.33 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.83
Heat 10: Royden Bryson (ZAF) 11.10 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 9.84
Heat 11: Thiago Camarao (BRA) 11.17 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 10.77
Heat 12: John John Florence (HAW) 15.83 def. Miguel Pupo (BRA) 12.60

Nike US Open of Surfing Pro Junior Women's Semifinals Results:
SF 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 12.27, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.27, Leila Hurst (HAW) 10.90, Pauline Ado (FRA) 6.94
SF 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 15.50, Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.84, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 12.53, Alexa Frantz (USA) 6.66