Locals prep for U.S. Open

McCrystal is among area surfers who have high hopes for prestigious contest at H.B. Pier.

July 29, 2010|By Mike Sciacca,
  • Huntington Beach Pro Junior surfer Quinn McCrystal banks a turn on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier Friday, July 23.
Huntington Beach Pro Junior surfer Quinn McCrystal banks… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Quinn McCrystal is glad to be part of the big party again.

Last July he missed it, while Courtney Conlogue and Brett Simpson were the toast of it.

The upcoming U.S. Open of Surfing will be the third time McCrystal, a Huntington Beach High product, will compete in the U.S. Open Men's Junior Pro, a $10,000 Assn. of Surfing Professionals grade-two event.

The U.S. Open of Surfing launches Saturday and runs through Aug. 8, the day of the U.S. Open Men's Pro and U.S. Open Men's Junior Pro finals.

Like the others in his division, the 20-year-old former captain of the Huntington Beach High surf team has his eye on the big prize.

Rather than look too far ahead, McCrystal says he's focused on only the now.

"I'm taking it one heat at a time, although my goal is to make it to the final," he said. "Obviously, if I make the final, my goal would be to win it. That's the ultimate goal. But like I said, right now, it's one heat at a time."


McCrystal takes to the waves for the first time Sunday. He hopes to continue where he left off when he last competed at the U.S. Open, the 2008 contest where he reached the Junior Pro semifinals.

He said he didn't register in time to compete last year. This summer, he's had the contest on his radar and has been out in the water every day getting ready for the event.

"I see a lot of the Huntington guys in the contest, like Billy (Hopkins) and Christian (Saenz), out there in the water, " said McCrystal, a former National Scholastic Surfing Assn. Western Conference champion. "Everyone's getting ready for the big event."

Hopkins, 18, is seeded into the round of 32 along with McCrystal, while Saenz, 18, and fellow Huntington Beach athletes Colton Larson, 20, Kyle McGeary, 18, and Derek Peters,17, start in the round of 64.

"I think all of us have a pretty good shot at doing well in this event," McCrystal said. "I know for me, it's always been a big dream of mine for as long as I can remember, to make the final out there. When I made the semis, it made me realize that I actually could do it. So, this year is going to be a big one for me. I'm expecting big results."

McCrystal said that the Men's Junior Pro field is stacked, and that there isn't any one favorite.

"There are so many guys out there these days, but some of the top guys are Granger Larsen of Hawaii, Kolohe Andino of San Clemente and Nat Young of Santa Cruz, to name a few," he said. "It just depends who's 'on'.

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