The surf picked up and the conditions stayed glassy for the majority of the day as the women hit the water at Huntingdon Beach, California, for Rounds 1 and 2 of the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill.
The Association of Surfing Professional (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star event enjoyed clean one-metre swells all day, setting the stage for some of the biggest scores of the event.
Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, AUS), 15, dominated the day’s affairs, racking up an incredible 18.86 out of a possible 20 in her first round heat, and then backing it up with another amazing showing with a 17.76 out of a possible 20 in her Round 2 heat. Despite her lack of experience at the venue, Fitzgibbons has shown surprising poise in the often-tricky beachbreak peaks.
“This is my first time in Huntington Beach," Fitzgibbons said. “I arrived last week and the waves were pretty small. I was very stoked to show up this morning and see good sets rolling through. The waves seem pretty rippable out there this morning so hopefully it stays like this for the remainder of the event."
Although the young surfer was squaring off against some of the most established veterans in the world, Fitzgibbons displayed nerves of steel as she posted some of the biggest scores of the entire event.
“It can definitely be nerve-racking when you’re going up against some of the older girls," Fitzgibbons said. “But I know you just have to go 100% out there and not hold anything back. I haven’t done too many WQS events this season, so I’m just testing the water to see how I go. I’ll reevaluate next year and see if I’m going to make a big run."
Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), the 14-year old California phenom, continued to impress the collective surfing community today, pushing her diminutive frame into one mind-blowing turn after another to post a solid 16.60 out of a possible 20 in her Round 2 heat.
“It’s pretty sick out here today," Conlogue said. “It got windy yesterday around this time, but it seems to be holding back for the girls today. We’re just taking advantage of the waves as I think it is supposed to get smaller and then bigger again as the event moves on." Although feeling the pressure of coming up against some of the biggest names in the world, Conlogue’s fully-committed approach saw her hold her own against some of the veteran competitors in the comp.
“I was pretty nervous before my heat because Steph (Gilmore) kills it – she’s so good," Conlogue said. “I knew that I just had to go out there and go for it. I went for broke on every turn and it paid off. Everyone here wants to make the Finals, but that’s definitely my goal. I really want a good result here."
Jessi Miley-Dyer (Sydney, AUS), current No. 12 on the elite ASP Women’s World Tour, was in sensational form, attacking lefts and rights with her powerful approach. “I’ve been to Huntington about five times before and it’s not always the best surf, but we have great waves today," Miley-Dyer said. “I love coming to California and competing in the U.S. Open – everyone on Tour always loves this stop."
The progressive goofy-footer is keen for a good result at this season’s Honda U.S. Open of Surfing, after finishing runner-up to Sofia Mulanovich (Lima, PER) last year.
“We’ve had three months of break since our last World Tour event," Miley Dyer said. “I’ve spent most of the time training and surfing at home, but it’s nice to put the singlet back on. The U.S. Open is so big that it’s practically a World Tour event anyway. It’s good to dust off the cobwebs here before we start back up again next month."
About the U.S. Open of Surfing
The Honda U.S. Open of Surfing Presented by O’Neill is the world’s largest professional surfing competition and anchors California’s quintessential action sport, music and lifestyle festival. More than 600 world-class surfing, skateboarding, FMX and BMX athletes compete amid America’s largest ocean-front exposition. Against the backdrop of 12 acres of action-packed activities for all ages, an estimated 400,000 spectators will be in attendance while millions more watch televised specials on Versus networks’ Fusion TV.
The action will continue through to 29th July. Click on to www.usopenofsurfing.com for the full schedule and regular results updates.