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Simpson repeats as men's champ

Huntington Beach local and last year's winner, Brett Simpson, claims another $100K prize at the U.S. Open of Surfing.

August 11, 2010|By Mike Sciacca, michael.sciacca@latimes.com
  • Carissa Moore of Hawaii is carried up the beach after defeating Sally Fitzgibbons of Australia to capture the U.S. Open of Surfing women's championship at the Huntington Beach Pier on Saturday.
Carissa Moore of Hawaii is carried up the beach after defeating… (Kent Treptow, HB…)

Brett Simpson is The $100,000 Man.

Again.

Just after noon Sunday, right about the time the sun began to break through the heavy overcast sky, the Huntington Beach native thrust his arms high into the air at the sound of the final horn, directing his triumphant pose toward the massive throng that packed the southside and top of the Huntington Beach Pier.

A sweeter sound there wasn't for the 25-year-old, a graduate of Huntington Beach High School: He had just won the coveted Men's title of the U.S. Open of Surfing presented by Hurley, Nike 6.0 and Converse, for a second straight year.

Simpson defeated South African Jordy Smith in the two-man final.

"This is stuff you probably don't even dream about," said Simpson, who was mobbed as he exited the water and then carried up the beach to his rightful place at center stage. "It's pretty unbelievable, unimaginable, really.

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"To win it last year was incredible. To win today is just the icing on the cake."

By winning back-to-back titles, Simpson became the first athlete to win the U.S. Open Men's crown in consecutive years. He joins Andy Irons of Hawaii as a two-time winner in the event. Only one other athlete, Rob Machado (Cardiff-by-the-Sea) has won more U.S. Open titles (three).

The Men's finale couldn't have been scripted any better. It pitted a local athlete, Simpson, against Smith, the No. 1-ranked men's surfer in the world who was coming off winning the Billabong Pro last month at his home break at Jeffreys Bay, South Africa.

Simpson was steady throughout the 35-minute heat. He trailed Smith early but took the lead for good at the halfway mark when he utilized his advantage on priority to post a 7.77 wave score. He then basically sealed the win when, again holding priority, he scored a 6.20 with six minutes remaining for his second-highest score of the heat.

Smith needed a 9.64 score down the stretch to win it, but never got the chance in the sometimes flat surf.

"I try to go for safe and conservative rides to build my score, and that's what I did today," Simpson said. "I know the waves here, and I stayed confident. I was in a lot of close heats, and that helped me build that confidence as the contest went on."

Simpson and Smith, however, were fortunate to make it to the final.

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