HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Thursday, July 23, 2009) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Hurley U.S. Open saw explosive action from an array of surfing talent including former ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (Tweed Heads, AUS), 28, Julian Wilson (Coolum, AUS), 21 and Eric Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 20, as the event’s top performers took the water in two-to-four foot (1 metre) surf at Huntington Beach Pier today. Reigning U.S. Open Champion Malia Manuel (Wailua, HI), 15, continued her quest for a repeat U.S. Open crown when the women battled throughout the afternoon.
Surfers competing at the Hurley U.S. Open are not only looking to claim the mass of ratings points available towards qualification for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour, but are also out to win the historic US$100,000 prize purse on offer, the largest winner-take-all check in competitive surfing history.
2007 ASP World Champ and perennial ASP Title contender Mick Fanning dominated two heats today, posting one of the day’s highest heat totals of 17.00 out of 20, showing the world of up-and-coming competitive talent why he’s considered one of the finest surfers on the globe. Fanning utilized his patented forehand carve on the right-handers off of Huntington Beach Pier in his early round heat and then dominated on his backhand in the afternoon.
“I sort of fumbled around a little bit,” Fanning said. “The sets were closing out and I snagged a little left and got a couple of turns and was able to back that up.”
The Australian powerhouse is enjoying a change from his usual ASP Dream Tour schedule to take the time out to compete for the notable prize purse at this year’s Hurley U.S. Open. Fanning is also out to gear up for the next event on the ASP Dream Tour, the Hurley Pro, which takes place in September.
“I’m just having a lot of fun here in Huntington,” Fanning said. “It’s the most excited I’ve been for an event in a long time and I’ll be back for the Hurley Pro at Trestles. I think it’s one of those events where everyone really steps it up and it’s such a high performance wave down there at Trestles and I really just enjoy watching everyone go mad and it’s awesome.”
Julian Wilson (Coolum, AUS), 21, who holds the event’s highest heat total of 17.33 out of 20, blasted a 17.10 out of 20 in his Round of 48 heat today by unleashing committing aerials to oust current ASP World Tour veteran Taylor Knox (Carlsbad, CA), 38, from competition. The young regular-footer now holds the two highest heat totals of the event.
“It was really fun out there,” Wilson said. “I sat up the beach a little bit. It looked a little more consistent and kind of sat away from the other guys so there wasn’t any hassling. I gave myself a good opportunity to get through the heat and it paid off. I got a couple of good waves.”
The Australian talent was awarded an impressive 8.83 with one massive air-reverse and backed the score up with a nine-point ride with two solid forehand hacks.
“My first wave was a bigger wave and it only had one section, so I kind of only had one option,” Wilson said. “It worked and I got a really good start and got my confidence up and got my backup score and was building momentum.”
Floridian talent Eric Geiselman displayed a maturity beyond his years when he claimed a heat win over three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (Hanalei, HI), 30, who advanced in second, while eliminating current ASP World Tour campaigner Chris Ward (San Clemente, CA), 30, from the Hurley U.S. Open.
“It’s pretty fun out there, it was just really slow in that heat,” Geiselman said. “I wasn’t really too nervous and I was just trying to get any wave that looked decent, but I started falling apart there at the end, but I’m just happy to get through. I was just stoked to surf in a heat with those guys, I respect those guys and they’re some of my favorite surfers. I just got lucky out there, but it definitely helps my confidence.”
Geiselman’s tough road at the Hurley U.S. Open will continue when he faces off against Australians Dan Ross (Yamba, AUS), and Yadin Nicol (Margaret River, AUS), 23 in the Round of 24 Tomorrow.
Manuel, who has advanced through to the Final of the U.S. Open Nike 6.0 Pro Junior as well, eliminated current ASP Women’s World Tour surfer Amee Donohoe (MacMasters Beach, AUS), 28, in the process of her advancement in to the Round of 12. The stylish regular-footer has been is top form throughout the event, but is trying not to put too much pressure on herself for a repeat U.S. Open title.
“There are very good vibes here in Huntington and it’s such a circus,” Manuel said. “I love coming here to Huntington and it’s been good to me so far. I love it here. I’m just having fun with it and I should feel some pressure, and I do, but I’m trying to cancel my expectations and see how it goes.”
The Hurley U.S. Open will continue tomorrow with the Round of 24 before moving back to the women’s ASP 6-Star event. Fuel TV is providing the first ever high definition LIVE webcast of the contest which can be found via www.usopenofsurfing.com
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com or www.aspnorthamerica.org
Hurley U.S. Open Round of 48 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.17, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 10.97, Paulo Moura (BRA) 7.60, Jesse Merle-Jones (HAW) 6.13
Heat 2: Dustin Cuizon (HAW) 13.00, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 11.84, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 10.63, Heitor Alves (BRA) 8.96
Heat 3: Nathan Yeomans (USA) 13.10, Nat Young (USA) 11.83, Alain Riou (PYF) 12.63, Casey Brown (HAW) 7.33
Heat 4: Yadin Nicol (AUS) 13.20, Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.74, Kai Barger (HAW) 12.67, Shaun Gossman (AUS) 12.40
Heat 5: Eric Geiselman (USA) 12.33, Andy Irons (HAW) 12.00, Mike Losness (USA) 11.70, Chris Ward (USA) 10.30
Heat 6: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.26, Daniel Ross (AUS) 13.83, Glen Hall (IRE) 11.80, Adam Robertson (AUS) 8.27
Heat 7: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.90, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 12.60, Hodei Collazo (EUK) 12.50, Dusty Payne (HAW) 8.83
Heat 8: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.76, Granger Larsen (HAW) 12.74, Kai Barger (HAW) 12.67, Shaun Gossmann (AUS) 12.40
Heat 9: Kelly Slater (USA) 15.40, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 11.93, Brad Ettinger (USA) 8.54, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 7.03
Heat 10: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.10, Leigh Sedley (AUS) 14.34, Jarrad Howse (AUS) 10.80, Taylor Knox (USA) 10.67
Heat 11:Rob Machado (USA) 12.56, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.36, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.83, Roy Powers (HAW) 5.60
Heat 12: Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.90, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 10.37, Adam Virs (USA) 7.10, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 5.17
Hurley U.S. Open Round of 96 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 22: Roy Powers (HAW) 14.17, Bruno Rodrigues (USA) 13.33, Rodrigo Dornelles (BRA) 9.90, Teppei Tajima (JPN) 6.93
Heat 23: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 11.83, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 10.13, Joan Duru (FRA) 9.87, Richard Christie (NZL) 2.70
Heat 24: Mick Fanning (AUS) 17.00, Rob Machado (USA) 12.73, Owen Wright (AUS) 11.87, Brent Reilly (USA) 7.97
Women’s Hurley U.S. Open Round of 24 Results: (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 13.10, Coco Ho (HAW) 12.83, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 9.33, Megan Abubo (HAW) 9.06
Heat 2: Laura Enever (AUS) 12.84, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 7.57, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 7.07, Claudia Goncalves (BRA) 5.10
Heat 3: Sayuri Hashimoto (JPN) 9.57, Bruna Schmitz (BRA) 9.27, Leila Hurst (HAW) 7.56, Paige Hareb (NZL) 6.06
Heat 4: Sage Erickson (USA) 12.23, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.74, Ornella Pellizzari (ARG) 7.60, Anastasia Ashley (USA) 4.93
Heat 5:Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.00, Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.94, Bethany Hamilton (HAW) 8.67, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 3.00
Heat 6: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.60, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.17, Caroline Sarran (FRA) 5.83, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 3.17