HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Wednesday, August 1, 2012) - The 2012 Nike US Open of Surfing saw the world's best surfers return to challenge one another and the one-to-three foot (0.5 mtere) surf on offer today at Huntington Beach Pier, narrowing the field in both the men's ASP Prime and Women's ASP WCT divisions.
Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, current No. 5 on the ASP Women's WCT ratings, was responsible for two heat wins today. The talented natural-footer started strong with a Round 2 victory and advanced directly through to the Quarterfinals in dominant fashion while amassing the event's highest scores. Conlogue snatched a 9.10 on the way to a 17.27 out of 20 heat total for a combination of committed outside backhand turns and punctuated her scores with progressive tail-drifting turns on the inside.
"I think having that early morning heat today allowed me to shake the nerves out," Conlogue said. "I think I was on the wrong equipment yesterday and today my board was going perfectly through those flat sections. I'm glad I had that morning heat to work things out."
Conlogue, the local favorite in women's competition, was feeling additional pressure to perform in front of her hometown crowd, but feels the confidence from today's success eases the nerves that came along in the earlier rounds.
"I was pretty nervous before this event for some reason," Conlogue said. "I think I was trying to aim too much for perfection and not focusing on the basics, which is what I've been training so hard for and working on. Today, I just calmed down and realized it's just another World Tour event and do what I've been practicing. It feels so good getting another fifth here already, so I'm glad I don't have to do another sudden-death round because Sage (Erickson) and Tyler (Wright) have been surfing amazing."
Lakey Peterson (USA), 17, was another Californian to dominate her international challengers today with an array of progressive maneuvers to relegate freshly crowned five-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, to Round 4.
"Going into it with Malia (Manuel) and Steph (Gilmore) is a pretty tough draw," Peterson said. "Obviously Steph just won a World Title, so I was pretty nervous. I just stuck to my game plan of getting two turns out the back and tried to finish them. "It's a little tricky out there and you had to get aggressive, but I'm stoked. I feel like I'm just learning but I'm happy to just make it to the Quarters."
Peterson, current No. 9 on the ASP Women's WCT, is looking to solidify her season with a breakout performance and hopes she can capitalize on her familiarity of Huntington Beach to achieve her goal at the Nike US Open of Surfing.
"I want to win," Peterson said. "I haven't had the best results, but I want to learn and as long as I come away with something that I learned, then I'll be happy to come away with that."
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21, defending Nike US Open Champion, was one international campaigner to find success in the tricky Huntington Beach lineup and advanced directly through to the Quarterfinals.
"The waves looked fun before we went out," Fitzgibbons said. "I think the last bit of tide was draining out and it was a good battle with Coco (Ho) and Paige (Hareb). I just kept trying to find something that opened up. A victory here last year was insane. Winning here was one of the ultimate days of my career and I'm looking to do it again."
Following this morning’s performance from the ASP Top 17, the men hit the water for the Round of 48 at the ASP Prime event and outshone the otherwise trying conditions.
Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 26, looked deadly in his Round of 48 heat and emerged victorious over fellow ASP WCT competitors Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, Alejo Muniz (BRA), 22, and Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31. While several of his fellow competitors have taken top scores in the air, Gudauskas unleashed surgical power-turns to net the day's high single-wave score of 9.17 amidst his winning performance.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, took top honors in men's ASP Prime action today and made his technical air game appear effortless. The young Brazilian stuck to the lefthanders running in to the pier to notch a 9.07 on the way to a 17.97 out of 20.00 heat total to advance to the Round of 24.
"That was definitely a tough heat because it was kind of slow and I just tried to find the big sets and do my airs," Medina said.
Medina, a standout up-and-comer on the ASP WCT, admitted the Nike US Open is one of the world's most prestigious events and hopes he can add his name to the list of elite surfers who have won the prized title.
"US Open is a big event and everyone wants this title," Medina said. "I know everyone is going to fight for it and I really hope I can win this year."
Nike US Open of Surfing action will resume tomorrow morning at 7:30am local time beginning with Women's Round 4. To watch the action LIVE log on to www.usopenofsurfing.com
While the action in the water is guaranteed to provide plenty of entertainment, the Nike US Open of Surfing, owned and operated by IMG, a global leader in sports and entertainment, is part of a major action sports festival that includes skateboarding, music, art and more.
WOMEN'S NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND 3 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 17.27, Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.00, Sage Erickson (USA) 9.40
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.73, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.43, Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.17
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.16, Coco Ho (HAW) 11.80, Paige Hareb (NZL) 9.10
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 10.00, Pauline Ado (FRA) 8.83, Laura Enever (AUS) 4.97
WOMEN'S NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Paige Hareb (NZL) 13.00 def. Sarah Mason (NZL) 8.10
Heat 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 14.40 def. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.43
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) 13.00 def. Dax McGill (HAW) 7.66
Heat 4: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.93 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 7.84
Heat 5: Laura Enever (AUS) 10.67 def. Justine Dupont (FRA) 7.83
Heat 6: Pauline Ado (FRA) 13.50 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 6.54
MEN'S NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND OF 48 RESULTS:
Heat 7: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 17.97, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 13.16, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 11.50, Adam Melling (AUS) 9.00
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.50, Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.66, Heitor Alves (BRA) 12.26, Thiago Camarao (BRA) 11.10
Heat 9: Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 11.43, Nat Young (USA) 10.47, Josh Kerr (AUS) 10.34, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 6.70
Heat 10: John John Florence (HAW) 12.04, Brett Simpson (USA) 11.86, Gabe Kling (USA) 11.47, Caio Ibelli (BRA) 7.67
Heat 11: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 17.17, Julian Wilson (AUS) 13.34, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.34, Joel Parkinson (AUS) 7.27