Words: Dave Campbell
The US Open, when all said and done, is a surf event and it's core purpose should be surfing. This Beast distracts the empty minded very easily, filling them with wants of unneeded consumerism. You can almost split the masses into two groups; the people that don’t seem to care about the surfing, but seem to like the shopping and bullshit, and the folks who are genuinely interested in the surfing and grumble at the long walks through the crowded show that is taking place behind the Surf Stadium. Due to the high volume of traffic on the beach, there are wooden planks constructed on the sand creating sidewalks and alleyways for all your gawking needs. Plus, of course, crocs and high heels are not the best footwear to be trotting on the sand, so one needs the support of a level surface. You can spot the real fans as they throw off their footwear, dig their feet in the sand and hurry past the lines of shopping bags.
Today the waves were slowly dropping from yesterday, peaky two to three feet, breaking on the south side of the pier. Huntington is definitely capable of delivering a lot less. There were close battles, upsets, and big scores.
Tyler Wright found the two waves she needed in the last few minutes of her heat to get past the wild card Leila Hurst. A round two loss for Tyler at this stage of the year (The US Open being stop 6 of 8 on the ASP Women’s Tour) would most likely result in her losing grip of her number one ranking. Stephanie Gilmore and Sofia Mulonavich, both being past winners of The Open, delivered a nice high scoring heat with Stephanie inching past through a 15.2, defeating Sofia’s 14.17. Despite her Round 1 loss, last year's victor Lakey Peterson shows she still remembers what needs to be done to win a heat here. With total domination she smashed her gal pal Sage Erickson. Both 2012 US Open Champs are looking to be the picks for a victory this year.
The Men's Round five wrapped up today. Jordy Smith dominated his heat, earning himself an 8.17 for his first wave and backing that up with a 9.17 - the highest heat score of the day. Beyrick De Vries is making a name for himself at Huntington, defeating Felipe Toledeo and local legend Tim Reyes, with second place going to Alejo Muniz in a non-priority frenzy. Our boy Mitch Crews won his heat, continuing his momentum through this event with the California WCT rookie Nat Young getting through just behind him. It would be great to see these two surf against each other more often, perhaps next year.
We are moving fast now, much faster than before. Thursday is the upward crawl to the climax, and shit is going to get crazier than one can imagine. Straight. Up. Madness.