Fanning took out Western Oz's Taj Burrow in the semis in a one-sided match and won a high-scoring quarterfinal heat against air-buster Josh Kerr, who pulled one of the most radical maneuvers ever seen in a WCT heat, according to Kelly Slater — a 360 reverse air under-the -lip that had people on the beach screaming, but still not enough to get through.
Durbidge, on the other hand, beat Slater in the semis in one of the highest-scoring heats of the contest. In a barrel shootout, getting the nod from the judges — 19.40 to 18.73 — as both surfers were going off, pulling in, getting pitted and coming out. The amazingly unsponsored Durbidge also took out "Parko" Joel Parkinson, another Gold Coast local, in the quarters, with some more heavy turns. What an event; on to Bells Beach next!
The Western Surfing Assn held its last surf contest at the Huntington Pier two weekends ago with a great turnout. More than 260 competitors surfed it up in the 1- to 3-foot shorebreak on the south side.
The Surf City residents had some great placings. In the super grom gals 12-and-under Paige Ortiz placed third, as did Tess Lustbaum in the gals 15-and-under. In the boys 17-and-under, Ryan McAfee slashed his way to second.
And in grandmaster's, the Figster came up with the big win and points lead, Schlickster a close second, and Jay Boldt busted some nice turns to take third overall.
It looks like Toyota of Huntington Beach is stepping up to the plate, sponsoring some of Huntington's hottest surfers. The incredible list includes: No. 11in the world last season Timmy Reyes, who will have a shot at the world title over the next few years; the rad man Brett "Simpo" Simpson, a top-30 World Qualifying Series standout who just missed qualifying a season ago; plus top up-and-coming pro prospect Chris Waring; not to mention rippers Jessie Evans, Brandon Tipton, Danny Nichols and Jessie Marley — ready to hit surf spots up and down the coast.
That's it for now. Fig, over and out.
RICK FIGNETTI is a nine-time West Coast champion and has been the KROQ-FM surfologist for the last 18 yearsYou can reach him at (714) 536-1058.