Words: David Campbell
The crowd on the beach today was larger than any US Open finals day that has been before it. So it will go down in history that, on this day, the biggest crowd to ever attend a surfing event was there to watch a whopper of a Women’s final and the most spiritless of a Mens finals that I can ever remember. There were slower conditions than yesterday, the predicted swell was just that, a prediction. But that didn’t stop the beach from filling up with a tremendous human herd of surf fans and the event rolled on, it had no choice! No lay days. No “on hold” calls. as a possibility to wait for. The waves aren’t here at the moment, but there will be surfing goddammit and you will sit, wait and watch!
First we saw the Men’s quarters hit the water. Kolohe Andino, the gleaming, all-American star of the morning, took out an in form Adriano De Souza. The local hero got much love from the surf stadium. Bede Durbidge and Michel Bourez battled it out in a close heat that consisted of the highest scores being fours, fives, and sixes. Matt Banting took down Jordy Smith, who was looking very intimidating throughout the entire event. Alejo Muniz made the most out of his waves getting a heat total of 13.64 to take out Nat Young with his 5.83.
Kolohe won his semifinal heat against Bede. Alejo halted Matt Banting. But before Kolohe and Alejo were to fight out the final, the women’s WCT final was to take place.
When Carissa Moore and Courtney Conlogue headed into the water, so did the crowd. Consistently growing since the morning, fans were forced to stand ankle deep in water to catch the action.
The women’s final heat actually saw the swell pulse. Carissa pulled out an 8.17 for her first wave and backed that up with a 7.83 on her second. In the final moments Courtney caught three waves, the first being a 7.50 and her second a 6.00. All she needed was an 8.5 and her last wave was looking close, a bigger left with 4 nice connecting hacks. After the horn buzzed the girls and the crowd waited with anticipation to hear if the final wave was enough to lead Courtney to victory. A few minutes of utter impatience from everyone and the scores dropped, a 7.77. For a brief moment you heard the mass population on the beach let out an “ahh” but then it was all cheers and hoots for Carissa. She surfed very well and deserved the win.
Kolohe ran out of the surf stadium like a rockstar, the crowd was roaring. Kolohe took to the air on his first couple waves mustering up a 7.77 and a 6.77. Alejo got the best of the first exchange however with some connecting fluid power turns, that earned him an 8.43 and a 7.80. With Andino needing an 8.46 with 15 minutes remaining, a victory at home appeared quite within the young Californian's reach. He had the crowd at his fingertips. But then something happened. Well, no, actually nothing happened for the rest of the heat. No waves.
A long lull destroyed the final. The advertisers loved this lull - about five planes circled the line up with banners, the announcers blathered on about crap you can fill your life with. The ad for Mcdonalds really struck me; did you know you can buy any soda for a dollar!? So before you go for your next surf you can get an 44 Oz.Diet Pepsi. Who are they advertising to? Not the surfers that I know. Congratulations Alejo, you surfed very well and deserved the win more than anyone. The local hero lost the final due to no waves, but that didn’t matter. The surf stadium cheered and hollered for the first Brazilian ever to win a US Open.