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Joe Surf: Catching up with Surf City's 'Simpo'

November 16, 2011|By Joe Haakenson

Last time we checked in with him, Brett Simpson — "Simpo" to his friends — was leaving the water on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier with his head down.

It was his first heat of the U.S. Open of Surfing in August and he was trying to defend the title he had won twice in a row, pulling in a cool $100,000 with each win.

But Simpson was one-and-done, eliminated from the competition, forced to get over it and move forward.

It's been a crazy year for the Huntington native, with highs and lows and not much middle ground.

Besides the disappointment at the Open, Simpson also had to deal with a lingering knee injury that caused him to miss one Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Tour contest and affected him in others.

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But he's also had some big performances, placing fifth in three ASP World Tour contests, including the most recent one in San Francisco.

He took fifth at the Billabong Pro in Teahupoo, Tahiti, showing and ability to score big on big waves, and took fifth at the ASP World Tour opener in Gold Coast, Australia, way back in February.

Going into the tour's final stop next month at the Banzai Pipeline in Hawaii, Simpson ranks 17th in the World Title rankings.

"The high points would have to be surfing well and mustering up three fifth places," Simpson said from Hawaii, where he is competing in the ASP's Vans Triple Crown of Surfing on the North Shore of Oahu. "Lows would be surfing under my standards, making bad decisions and getting injured.

"The adversity has driven me through this back half of the year, just watching and observing a lot and then using what I have and competing against the best."

Coming off that fifth place in San Francisco and heading to Hawaii for the Vans contest, Simpson said he's surfing as well now as he has all year, and it has him excited.

"I feel great," he said. "Some of my best surfing has been done in the second half of the year and I would love to keep it that way."

If Simpson maintains his 17th place standing on the World Tour, he will have improved on last year's 23rd place finish in his first year on tour, a direction he is pleased with and hopes to continue in 2012.

" I feel very confident," he said. "My main goal (in 2012) is to crack the top 10, then I will work up from there."

After the final ASP World Tour contest at Pipeline, Simpson will be home in H.B. for Christmas.

"I'm going to go home, rest a few weeks then get back in a good training regimen and give myself the best opportunity to win," he said.

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