US Open heats up
The 2012 Nike US Open of Surfing returned to Huntington Beach Pier today in improved two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves and saw amazing aerial performances from the Brazilian contingent while upsets unfolded amidst the ASP Top 17. Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, continued his unstoppable tear on the competition today and was nearly flawless in his […]
The 2012 Nike US Open of Surfing returned to Huntington Beach Pier today in improved two-to-three foot (1 metre) waves and saw amazing aerial performances from the Brazilian contingent while upsets unfolded amidst the ASP Top 17.
Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, continued his unstoppable tear on the competition today and was nearly flawless in his Round of 24 heat. The high flying Brazilian relied on his signature aerial game to launch the highest score of Nike US Open of Surfing competition, a 9.93, on the way to a 19.03 out of 20 heat total.
“I just tried to have fun,” Medina said. “Today’s waves are better than the other day and I just tried to do my airs and make the heat, so I’m stoked.”
Filipe Toledo (BRA), 17, put on an amazing performance to win his Round of 24 heat despite an unfortunate interference. The progressive young talent fought back to amass one of the event’s highest scores of 9.80 when he launched a fully committed air-reverse on the outside followed by a clean cutback and consolidated the score with a second air-reverse on the inside.
“I got the interference and I thought, I’m going to do airs and make up for it,” Toledo said. “I knew I needed to make up for it and the interference might have given me extra motivation. I’ve got a lot of heats left to surf in the juniors too and I’m stoked to defend my title.”
Nathaniel Curran (Oxnard, CA), 27, former winner at the Nike US Open of Surfing, put on a banner performance to relegate reigning 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 40, and last year’s event runner-up Yadin Nicol (AUS), 27, to Round 5 in their Round 4 non-elimination heat. The Oxnard surfer went to precise power-turn combinations to amass an 18.06 heat total on the way to his victory, which proved to be one of the day’s top scores.
“It was a little high-tide but there were actually some waves in the heat which made it nice,” Curran said. “I wanted to do some airs, but I didn’t want to change my game up much. I was looking for the lefts because I knew they were the ones with the big scoring potential. I didn’t want to surf out of my norm and I just stuck to my game plan. I wanted to get two good scores and then go for airs, but I never got the sections. I’m just really excited.”
Curran, who recently finished runner-up at the ASP Prime in South Africa, has regained momentum on the ASP World Ranking and attributes his rebound to rediscovered confidence and refined equipment.
“A little bit of confidence and some good board helps so much,” Curran said. “I was in a slump for awhile and Al Merrick has been giving me some good boards and I feel like that goes a long way.”
Julian Wilson (AUS), 23, was another international talent who took to the air to win his heat. The ASP WCT standout got off to a slow start in his match up against local favorite Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), 27, and current ASP North America Pro Junior Series Ratings Leader Keanu Asing (Ewa Beach, HI), 19, but catapulted to victory with a huge air-reverse to the tune of 9.50 out of 10.
“I was just taking off on everything, really” Wilson said. “I was just trying to find an opportunity. It was similar to my last heat where we had an eight minute lull. It’s never that fun when you can’t get it going in a heat, but it was a fun second part to the heat. I was going for one big move and I didn’t really want to hassle Simpo (Brett Simpson) because I knew he’d be looking for those lefts. I just looked for the rights and it worked out.”
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