Written by Lauren Taniyama
Today in Huntington Beach, competition heated up at the Nike US Open of Surfing with an increase in southwest swell and a touch of local wind swell to produce the largest waves of the competition so far. With larger waves come larger scores, as today boasted the highest wave scores of the entire competition. There were a few disappointments in the women’s elimination rounds but those who were victorious are now looking forward to the weekend with the semifinals approaching and more swell on the horizon.
The first heat of the quarterfinals was a cracker: Courtney Conlogue (USA) versus Malia Manuel (HAW). Both of these young women have won here in 2009 and 2008, respectively, they are no stranger to the US Open of Surfing. The heat began with Courtney taking a commanding lead with a 6.5 that was followed up by a 6.43 which was scored on a superb lefthander into the pier where Courtney executed multiple backside turns showing good flow and power. Malia answered back with a great example of solid backside surfing scoring a 6.5 as well. Later on in the heat Malia nabbed a right that allowed her to connect multiple powerful sweeping turns with a cool little layback at the end. This pushed her into the lead where she stayed to take the win and this is now Malia’s second best result this year. It was definitely unfortunate for the local favorite to be knocked out of the competition but she was in good spirits and surfed in the Life Rolls On Expression Session later in the afternoon.
The next heat was a California surfer girl showcase. Sage Erickson (USA) and Lakey Peterson (USA) are friends and hail from the same stretch of coastline up in the Ventura/Santa Barbara area. This heat, however, was simply dominated by Lakey Peterson even though Sage opened up with a 7.33. Lakey responded with a 9.83 that consisted of a serious backside jam under the lip followed by a connection to the inside with another nice turn on the end section. Sage tried to answer back multiple times but needing a 8.51 she came up short. Not to mention, Lakey racked up another excellent 9.93 to achieve the highest heat total of the ENTIRE competition! Her performance definitely displayed why Lakey is in the running for Rookie of the Year.
Heat 3 was Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Coco Ho (HAW). Sally is the defending US Open Champ and is not going to let just anyone take that title away. She displayed great technique and was able to connect numerous turns together with good wave selection. Coco did her best to take out Sally but fell short needing a perfect 10 to take over the lead halfway through the heat. Sally came away with the win and will face Carissa Moore in the semifinals on Sunday August 5. The last heat of the day for the women was one of the slower heats with multiple lulls where no waves were ridden. Carissa Moore (HAW) was victorious over Paige Hareb (NZL) who received her second best result of the year with the better being a semifinal result at her home break in New Zealand at the Taranaki Pro.
Tomorrow, Saturday August 4th, the women have a lay day and will be preparing for the end of the competition on Sunday when the waves are forecasted to increase in size. This prediction could make for a really exciting finish to this amazingly huge competition. The women will keep doing what they do best and putting on a show for the crowds.
Check out www.aspworldtour.com for more info and results.