The 2014 Vans US Open of Surfing will bring the ASP Top 17 back to the iconic amphitheater of the Huntington Beach Pier July 27 to August 3. The competition is Stop No. 6 of 10 on the Women's World Championship Tour (WCT).
Formerly a 6-Star Qualification Series (QS) event for the ladies, the Open upgraded to an elite WCT in 2011. The venue has seen six members of the current Top 17 hoist the trophy in some capacity, giving you plenty to choose from for this year's ASP Fantasy Surfing in HB. Below is the breakdown of a few danger-women who have already found success in the tricky lineup at Surf City. The array of talent and relative strengths should help inform picks for your Fantasy roster.
Carissa Moore (HAW), World No. 1: Defending Vans US Open of Surfing Champion, last year Moore bested local favorite Courtney Conlogue in a close Final to claim the prestigious event win; her second one there. She also claimed a victory in 2010 when the event was a 6-Star and finished runner-up in 2012.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), World No. 2: Fitzgibbons claimed the first Women's WCT event at the venue in 2011, topping then-wildcard Lakey Peterson in the final to take the win. With two event victories under her belt so far this year and a mere 1,500 points behind Moore in the title race, Fitzgibbons will be hungry to strike in Huntington.
Lakey Peterson (USA), World No. 7: Peterson's track record at the Vans US Open of Surfing has been impressive. The Santa Barbara talent made her Dream Tour debut as a wildcard in 2011, storming her way to a runner-up finish behind Fitzgibbons. She went on to win the contest over Moore the following year. Peterson's success in HB marks her sole career win among the ASP Top 17 and she'll be hungry for another.
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), World No. 3: Five-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore currently sits at No. 3 on the rankings following her season-opening victory and runner-up finish in Fiji. And she's no stranger to success in Huntington Beach. The Aussie clinched an event win back in 2007, when it was a women's QS event.
Malia Manuel (HAW), World No. 5: Manuel made history at Huntington Beach when she took out the then 6-Star QS event at just 14 years old. The win propelled the Kauaian to the international stage, and quickly qualified for the WCT. While Manuel has yet to win among those on the elite stage, she's had a breakthrough season in 2014 and is currently sitting at a career-high No. 5 in the rankings. Manuel has taken several 6-Star QS wins in similar beachbreak conditions, and has the ability to do damage in HB.
Tyler Wright (AUS), World No. 4: Wright's progressive repertoire saw the Australian post some of the highest scores of competition in 2013. The regular-footer was on a tear at the Vans US Open last season and looked fit for a spot in the final, boosting the only air of women's competition last year. Her run was stopped short by Conlogue, but Wright's success in beach breaks throughout her career, combined with her dangerous form in Huntington last year, make her one to watch.
Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), World No. 6: In her rookie year among the elite, Buitendag stormed to a top result in Huntington Beach, finding her way to the Quarterfinals. While she eventually fell to Wright, she went on to win the Pro Junior title. Now boasting a year of experience among the world's best, a WCT final under her belt, and proven success at Huntington, the goofy-footer could go deep into the rounds at the Open.
Nikki Van Dijk (ZAF), World No. 13: While Van Dijk's chops remain to be seen when pitted against the Top 17 at the Open, the Tour rookie has had a successful track record there throughout her junior career. The Australian native won the Pro Junior event in 2012 and finished runner-up to Buitendag in 2013. Van Dijk could be poised to deliver a few upsets in 2014.
Coco Ho (HAW), World No. 10: No stranger to the HB lineup after a rigorous amateur career, Ho found her way to the Final at the US Open against fellow-up-and-comer Malia Manuel. Ho finished runner-up in the main event while claiming the women's Pro Junior title that same day. Flash-forward to 2014 and the stylish regular-footer enters the Vans US Open of Surfing fresh off a recent win at the 6-Star in Los Cabos. Ho's abilities in Huntington should not be overlooked.
It's not too late to make your picks. Set up your ASP Fantasy Surfing team for the Vans US Open.