U.S. Open Of Surfing Features Four Divisions, Nearly 500 International Contestants

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – For the ninth consecutive year, the U.S. Open of Surfing, July 29 to August 4 at the Huntington Beach Pier, retains bragging rights as America’s largest professional surfing competition. Nearly 500 contestants from across the globe – America, Australia, Brazil, France, Japan and South Africa – will compete for $150,000 in cash and prizes across four divisions: men’s, women’s, junior’s and longboarding.

The U.S. Open launches the bi-coastal Philips Fusion series, a $350,000 action sports, technology and music festival that attracts more than 600 world-class athletes and features surfing, skateboarding and BMX in innovative venues along with an interactive festival area and live concerts. Philips Fusion commences in Huntington Beach, July 29 – August 4 and continues on the East Coast, August 22-25 in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

With its six-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) rating, the U.S. Open men’s division boasts a $100,000 total prize package, $10,000 winners purse, and offers competitors the largest points allocation of any Mainland event this year. The $30,000 U.S. Open women’s division, also a six-star WQS, is the world’s highest rated qualifying event. The combined contests play a critical role in the composition of the Association of Surfing Professionals’ (ASP) 2003 World Tour and America’s reemergence as an international powerhouse.

The U.S. Open is expected to draw the sport’s major stars including former world champions Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, Fla.), Sunny Garcia (Kauai, Hawaii), and Lisa Andersen (Ormand Beach, Fla.) along with current world champs C.J. Hobgood (Satellite Beach, Fla.) and Layne Beachley (Dee Why, NSW, Aus.). Grand Prix competitors include Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, Calif.), Corey Lopez (Indian Rocks Beach, Fla.), Pat O’Connell (Laguna, Calif.) and Hawaiians Kalani Robb, Andy Irons, Rochelle Ballard, Keala Kennelly and Megan Abubo.

Reigning U.S. Open champion Rob Machado (Cardiff, Calif.) and former World Tour veteran Tim Curran (Ventura, Calif.) will use the U.S. Open as a platform to return to glory. Californian’s Tim Reyes (Huntington Beach), Chris Ward (San Clemente), Holly Beck (Palos Verdes) and Julia Christian (Carlsbad) are among the up-and-comers facing the unique competitive conditions at the pier including the Pacific Ocean’s variable swells, winds and tides combined with the unique bottom topography. Among other obstacles, U.S. Open competitors must factor offshore sandbars, underwater channels, Southern Hemisphere swells, northwest winds and a huge concrete pier into their contest strategy.

“The U.S. Open’s six-star rating will draw the best men and women surf talent in the world, and the Huntington Beach Pier can be a challenging wave, so it should be a great show,” says Oceanside, California-based TransWorld SURF magazine Editor In Chief Joel Patterson. “Last year we saw competitive surfing continue to take major strides forward, with guys landing huge airs and throwing crazy turns, and this year we expect more of the same, especially with 150-grand up for grabs.”