The US Open Of Surfing: A Different Type of Beast

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Words: David “Crappy” Campbell
Photo: Peter Dive

Huntington woke early on Monday morning, shaking off the weekend hangovers and toxic dust. Waves were in the three-to-five-foot range, very clean in the morning no-breeze with the same sections that we see every year. This means that the left running into the pier is the best, that the right that runs away from it is the second best, and everything else takes whatever scraps remain. The beast that is the event sleeps beneath the crisp morning air, and there is a cautious calm as we all know it is a light sleeper – all it takes is a tweet, or the rumour of a rockstar-surfer sighting, and the beast might rear its vile head and kick around dust until the night air again proves too cold for it. And there are superstar surfers coming today. We wait.

Some of the lefts, the best of the best, are encouraging the surfers to tango with the barnacle-encrusted pylons – razor sharp obstacles that we don’t see at any other events, and one of my favourite aspects to this event. The crowd starts to fill in as the big names hit the water, and the beast stirs, but doesn’t wake. Seems like the crowd so far are here to watch the surfing, and surf fans don’t necessarily make a beast. Not on a Monday morning.

Chris Ward win over Gabriel Medina was considered an upset, which doesn’t make any sense, really, but kinda does. Mitch Coleborn straightened his back leg through some frontside lip slides, with kicked out, crane-style steez, and deservedly took out his heat. Jadson Andre got tubed when no one else bar Mr Slater was getting tubed. Wilko lost, but will probably win in the long run, if you know what I mean. Dane Reynolds looked focused, but focus only got him second to Michel Bourez. Nevertheless, Dane’s focus bought us another day of Dane, and that make it a good thing. By the time Kelly surfed the whisper mill had awoken beast, though it was a different beast, less interested in partying and more interested in surfing, namely Kelly’s surfing. Kelly has the keys to this city, fig’ and lit’, and scored the day’s highest single wave score through riding tubes and shooting piers.

The beast and Kelly share a symbiosis. It is not clear whether he is a slave to it, or it to him, but the surf stadium turns into frenzied whenever he approaches or surfs or leaves. The dust storm behind the surf stadium stays dormant, which I am thankful for, which makes the Kelly bred beast, the surf fandom beast, is infinitely more bearable than the beast that rules the weekends, the toxic dust monster. The beast watches his dome, like Scooby fixated on his snacks, at the expense of watching some amazing rides ridden, which bums me out a little.

Tomorrow round one will wrap heats 19 through to 24, with Josh Kerr, Damo Hobgood, Nat Young, Dillon Perrilo, Felipe Toledo and the recent Hurley Pro Trials winner Mitch Crews still to surf. Round two of the mens will run after the women’s round one at 10:30 AM.   Really, the women’s contest should be considered the main event as it’s a WCT for them and right now there is a fierce battle going on for the 2013 title. After the Beast spits out the winners this Sunday there will be only two more events to wrap up this years Women’s WCT tour.  Good luck to everyone tomorrow, the beast is relaxing, taking a breather, recuperating, and waiting for the shit show to return with more power than ever before later in the week. In the meantime let us enjoy the good ol’ surfing, and the different monster that accompanies it. Let’s appreciate that and say thanks to whomever the fuck is responsible for all this.

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