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Heats are on at the pier

Dream is 'still happening' for 19-year-old Brazilian surfer who won his first heat Tuesday and another the next day.

August 04, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Sarah Baum catches some air on the top of a wave during the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Tuesday, Aug. 3.
Sarah Baum catches some air on the top of a wave during the… (Scott Smeltzer,…)

Things are beginning to really heat up at the Huntington Beach Pier.

Today marks the stretch run for the U.S. Open of Surfing presented by Hurley, Nike 6.0 and Converse, a four-day blitz of sports and entertainment action that will culminate with champions crowned and major prize money earned.

The nine-day event began Saturday and concludes Sunday.

The Assn. of Surfing Professionals' Prime Men's, six-star Women's, grade-2 Men's Junior Pro and grade-4 Women's Junior Pro competitions continue today and Friday leading up to the weekend semifinals and finals.

The dream was still alive Wednesday for 19-year-old Miguel Pupo, who made the trip to Surf City from his small hometown of Camburi in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to compete in both the U.S. Open Men and Men's Junior Pro. Pupo won the sixth heat of the day Wednesday to advance to today's heat action in the Men's round of 48. Also advancing was second-place Jeremy Flores of France.

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Pupo, who competed at the U.S. Open for the first time last year and reached the round of 48 before being eliminated in a heat won by Rob Machado, also won his first heat Tuesday.

"Right here is the best place in the world," said Pupo, who last year ranked 43rd on the World Qualifying Series. "The contest is massive and the crowds are great. The trip here has been worth it — right now. The dream is still happening for me."

Wednesday morning was a good day for the Brazilian athletes.

Also still alive in the competition through Wednesday morning were heat winners Kiron Jabour (Hawaii), Gabriel Medina (Brazil), Gabe Kling (USA), William Cardoso (Brazil), Bede Durbridge (Australia), and 2003 U.S. Open Men's winner Cory Lopez (Florida). Also advancing to today's heats were second-place heat finishers Olamana Eleogram (Hawaii), Shaun Cansdell (Australia), Leigh Sedley (Australia), Austin Ware (USA), Nate Yeomans (San Clemente) and the current Men's No. 1-ranked surfer, Jordy Smith (South Africa).

Lopez emerged victorious in Wednesday's seventh heat that included Yeomans, Marcio Farney of Brazil and Andy Irons (Hawaii), who has two U.S. Open Men's titles (2005, 1998) to his name.

"I was stoked to get a couple of waves and get through this heat," Lopez said. "I knew it'd be a tough heat. Nate, Marcio, Andy, they're all great surfers."

Defending Men's champion Brett Simpson of Huntington Beach surfs his first heat today.

A new women's purse

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