heading back to the beaches again for the fireworks show, which was
spectacular, and it was probably as crowded as it's ever been down
here in the sands of time.
Coming up soon is the biggie of the surf events, the $175,000
Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill on the south
side of the Huntington Pier July 26 to Aug. 1. Some of the best in
the world will be on hand to tear it up.
Last year's defending champ, West Coast transplant and top-16
World Championship Tour shredder Corey Lopez has entered. Current
world champ Andy Irons, a winner here after defying the odds a few
years back by winning the World Qualifying Series and World
Championship Tour events back-to-back two weeks in a row on
Southside, is the favorite.
There's a rumor that six-time world champ Kelly Slater will surf
it. Slates has torn it up here since he was a grom, blowing minds
with his radical surfing. Plus, more big-time world hotties from the
U.S. like Taylor Knox, the "Style-master," and the Hobgood brothers,
C.J. and Damien -- both in the top 10 of the world standings. And big
guns like Shane Beschen -- a runner-up in the standings a few years
back and a former Open winner; "Rubber Man" Timmy Curren, who is
having a great year; the "Mobster" Rob Machado, who's dominated for
years on that south peak, connecting some all the way across with
some straight-up gouges; and "Endless Summer" movie star Pat
O'Connell. Plus, all the Huntington rippers like "the Hitman" Timmy
Reyes, "Air buster" Brett Simpson, "Wardo" Shaun Ward, "Mr. Solid"
Mike Hoisington and Ryan Simmons, to name a few.
This event is a proving ground with worldwide attention and is
open to all surfers, from square one of the trials to the top-seeded
guns in the later rounds. It boasts the largest field of competitors,
with about 600-plus entered, whittling it down at the end to a
four-man "showdown" final. Big buckaroos are at stake plus valuable
ratings points for all the World Qualifying Series boys and gals.
In the women's field, more big names are entered like Sofia
Mulanovich, the World Championship Tour ratings leader from Peru.