HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Thursday, July 25, 2013) â€“ The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime Vans US Open of Surfing opened today's action in peaky two-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at South Huntington Beach Pier, completing the non-elimination Round of 24 compliments of some world-class performances from both event favorites and up-and-coming internationals.
Jordy Smith (ZAF), 25, posted high scores for the second day in a row, belting a 9.17 and 8.20 for progressive surfing on a pierbowl rights and wedgy lefthander. Smith's efforts would see him secure a Round of 16 berth over C.J. Hobgood (USA), 34, and Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR), 19.
â€œI knew that heat was going to be tough,â€ Smith said. â€œRamzi (Boukhiam) has been ripping and C.J. (Hobgood) started strong with that 8. I got that 9 and that was the turning point for me. If you get the right waves out there you're going to get high scores. I knew it was going to be a comeback heat for me and I'm happy to get the win.â€
â€œI was nervous because I creased my board twice, but I knew I couldn't leave Jadson and Alex out there alone,â€ de Souza said. â€œFor me this year this event's so much fun because I've had a big year already and I'm happy to be making my heats here at the US Open. I was happy to get my two scores in that one. Everyone's fighting for one spot out there and outside of the water we're all friends, but in the water it's business. We're all there for the same thing and it involves money and points. I'm stoked to get that heat win.â€
Kolohe Andino(/athletes/1164/kolohe-andino) (USA), 19, took out a big victory in his non-elimination Round of 24 heat, topping defending event champion Julian Wilson (AUS), 24, and ASP WCT Rookie Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 25, to advance directly to the Round of 16.
â€œI have so much respect for Julian (Wilson) and Seabass (Sebastian Zietz),â€ Andino said. â€œI wanted to beat them really bad. The waves are more fun today, they're more peaky and I'm stoked on that. This contest is so hard and all of the Primes have WCT guys and then guys that want the money or points. I like these waves, I've surfed these waves my whole life and I'm really excited to make it to the next round.â€
Adrian Buchan (AUS), 30, took out a big heat victory in Heat 4 today with polished backhand surfing on the pierbowl rights, relegating 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 41, and Miguel Pupo (BRA), 21, to the elimination Round of 24.
â€œIt's always good to win that three man round and even though it's a no losers round, there's only one winner and the next heat is super competitive,â€ Buchan said. â€œIt feels great to beat Kelly (Slater). I don't typically have a problem with him in three man heats, but he's got my number in the man-on-man. I felt good out there this morning and it's the best heat I've surfed out here so far.â€
While several of the day's highlights came at the hands of ASP Top 34 members, Frenchman Vincent Duvignac, 25, put in a banner performance to top Bede Durbidge (AUS), 31, and Michel Bourez (PYF), 27, advancing directly to the Round of 16.
â€œThat was crazy,â€ Duvignac said. â€œLast heat I had Kelly (Slater) and I came here with nothing to lose. I just wanted to get points to get in to Prime events for the back half of the year. This week has been a huge contrast for me. Last week I was teaching surfing to kids, so it's crazy to be here and I'm so stoked to surf against these guys. Michel (Bourez) is my favorite surfer and I'm so happy to win that heat. I didn't have enough budget to get to Ballito and was looking only to do Huntington. I was here just looking to do my best and this gives me huge motivation.â€
Following Men's Round 3 competition, Vans US Open Women's WCT surfers took to the water for non-elimination Round 3 of their own.
Courtney Conlogue (USA), 20, continued to dominate the lineup in front of her local crowd, besting reigning five-time ASP Women's World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25, and progressive veteran Silvana Lima (BRA), 28, while commanding her heat from start to finish. Conlogue would open her campaign with a quick start, earning a 7.50 and would build momentum throughout the heat, leaving her competitors in need of near-perfect scores to advance to the Quarterfinals.
â€œI wanted to get a quick start because I knew with the high tide it'd be inconsistent,â€ Conlogue said. â€œThat 7.5 was a treat to start. With the high tide you don't really know if it's going to shut down on you in a particular heat and I felt good out there and in rhythm in the waves. I'm working on my mental strength lately, especially when you're coming up against a five-time world champ and not letting that get in to your head. I'm really happy to get that win.â€
Tyler Wright (AUS), 19, would start strong in Round 3, opening with the Round's high single-wave score of an 8.50 out of 10. The current rankings leader would struggle to find a backup score throughout her heat, but eventually went on to solidify the victory with a committed air-reverse.
â€œI just wanted to catch a wave and do more surfing,â€ Wright said. â€œI couldn't catch a wave out there, but the tide was super high and I was expecting it to be slow. I was lucky to get that first one. I caught that one bad left towards the end of the heat and then I was lucky to get that little right at the end paddling back out.â€
Coco Ho (HAW), 22, matched Wright's single-wave score of an 8.50 while winning her all-Hawaiian affair, advancing directly to the Quarterfinals over former ASP Women's World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), 20, and Kauai's Alana Blanchard (HAW), 22.
â€œIt was cool to surf with Carissa (Moore) and Alana (Blanchard) and it's a heat we've all had before,â€ Ho said. â€œWe try to have fun in that no losers round and I'm happy I got through. I think all of the adrenaline and psych makes you push harder on every turn and that's what I'm going for.â€
Tomorrow's Vans US Open of Surfing schedule will see the completion of Men's and Women's Round 4. Watch the action LIVE via http://www.usopenofsurfing.com/surf/