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Simpson advances in U.S. Open heats

The Huntington local hopes to take his third title this year after getting eliminated early on last year. The events continue through Sunday at the pier.

August 01, 2012|By Mike Sciacca
  • Migel Pupo, from Brazil, launches an air during the US Open of Surfing on Tuesday.
Migel Pupo, from Brazil, launches an air during the US… (SCOTT SMELTZER )

Brett Simpson was happy to move on through.

Dane Reynolds was relieved to survive difficult conditions.

Two of the world's top surfers were among several athletes Tuesday to win their heats and advance at the 2012 Nike U.S. Open of Surfing Men's Prime competition. The U.S. Open, which started Saturday, runs through Sunday at the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier. In addition to the surfing aspect, the event includes skate competitions, music, art and interactive booth vendors.

Heats 19 through 24 of the Men's Prime Round of 96 launched Tuesday's schedule. Round 1 of the Women's World Tour came next, followed by Heats 1-6 in the Men's Prime Round of 48, which capped the action.

Local athlete Tim Reyes, a graduate of Edison High, finished second in both his first and second heats of the Men's Prime to also advance through Tuesday.

Simpson, 27, is no stranger to shining on the U.S. Open stage. He won the Men's title for the first time in 2009, then repeated as champion in 2010. Last year, he was eliminated early.

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He surfed the first heat of the day early Tuesday. He advanced in surf that was in the two- to three-feet range, to Wednesday's Round of 48.

"I felt good," said the Huntington Beach resident who is ranked 17th on the World Tour and 26th in the world rankings. "Conditions were definitely tough, but I was able to capitalize on a few decent waves. Most of all, I feel there is a lot of room to get better than today."

Reynolds, 26, of Ventura said he tends to not fare too well in small conditions. He overcame inconsistent swells to win his heat with a score of 18.54, and posted one of the top single-wave scores, a 9.77, of the day.

It was the second heat win in the competition for Reynolds, who advanced to surf in the Round of 24 Thursday. In addition to staying in contention for his first Men's title, Reynolds on Friday will be inducted into the Surfers' Hall of Fame.

"It's a big week for me," he said. "I'm excited about competing here, but next time I hope there's better surf. But the U.S. Open is awesome and it's been a yearly thing for me."

The U.S. Open is the largest surfing competition in the world and plays a key role for the men and women on the Assn. of Surfing Professionals World Tour. The contest is a North America ASP Men's Prime Event and, for the women, marks the conclusion of the 2012 World Title Tour.

The Women's and Junior Pro Men and Women competitions also continue Thursday through Sunday.

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