International standouts Julian Wilson (Coolum, AUS) and Chris Salisbury (Newport, AUS) continued to display top-level surfing today, both advancing through the Semifinals of the O’Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior and earning spots in next weekend’s Final. The feat marks an outstanding effort by both surfers, who began their respective campaigns in Round 1, surfing through five heats to make the Final.
Wilson, who claimed the ASP Grade-4 Nike 6.0 Pier Pressure Pro Junior in Huntington Beach last month, proved once again that he is a force to be reckoned with in the States, eliminating current ratings leader on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, Cory Arrambide (Ventura,CA), in the Quarterfinal bout this afternoon.
“This is the second time I’ve had Cory (Arrambide) in my heat, and I don’t really see him much out there," Wilson said. "It’s really just whoever gets the waves gets through the heats today. I got a couple fun waves and was able to get through my heats."
Wilson locked in the highest heat totals shown today with 17.34 out of 20 points in his Quarterfinals victory and 17.73 out of 20 in his Semifinals win. The young Australian will use the momentum he has built throughout the event to combat fellow finalists Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA) and Salisbury in next week’s Final.
Gudauskas was another standout in today’s ASP Pro Junior event. The young goofy-footer qualified for his first ever ASP North America Pro Junior Final with a win over Salisbury, who advanced behind Gudauskas in second.
“It’s my first ever ASP North America Pro Junior Final, so I’m stoked,” Gudauskas said. “Everyone is surfing really well in this event and I can’t wait to get out there in front of everyone and give it my best shot.”
The O’Neill U.S. Open Pro Junior pres. by Honda will wrap up competition on Sunday, July 27, 2008 at 2:05 pm.
Sage Erickson (Ventura, CA) led the charge for the women in the ASP Grade-2 S3 Supergirl Pro Junior, posting the highest heat total in the women’s Semifinals of 15.56 out of 20 points. The Californian wunderkind dominated a stacked heat against fellow Semifinalists Coco Ho (North Shore, HI), who advanced in second, Lee Ann Curren (Hossegor, FRA) and Quincy Davis (Montauk, NY).
“Being from California, I’m pretty used to these conditions out at Huntington since we have so many local events here,” Erickson said. “The current can definitely be a factor, but it can work for you or against you, and it helped me out there today.”
Erickson, who finished fourth at the Billabong Sebastian Inlet Pro Junior held earlier this year will look to improve on her result at this ASP Grade-2 women’s Pro Junior event.
“I’m really excited to make this final because there’s quite a few good international surfers in this Pro Junior,” Erickson said. “By getting fourth in the final at Sebastian, I missed getting into the ASP World Junior Championships, so the only way I can get in is by getting a wildcard. If I have a good showing here, I’m hoping that it will help me get into that event. It’s also a huge factor for me to get the points towards qualification towards next year’s ASP World Junior because we don’t have many events, so it makes each one really important.”
Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), 2007 ASP North America Pro Junior Champion, put her local knowledge to good use today as she defeated ASP WQS ratings leader and qualifier for the 2009 ASP Women’s World Tour Sally Fitzgibbons (Gerroa, AUS), South African prodigy Nikita Robb (East London, ZAF), who advanced into the finals behind Conlogue, and Floridian Haley Watson (Jacksonville Beach, FL).
“She (Fitzgibbons) has had an amazing year and it’s pretty tough, it can make or break you out there,” Conlogue said. “You’ve got to be hunting for waves, and today it’s just whoever gets the best waves. I didn’t event think I got good waves, but I got what I needed to get through. Local knowledge is a big part of it, but there’s a lot of luck out there today just trying to find an open face and trying to chase it down with the current.”
The S3 Supergirl Pro Junior Champion will be crowned on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 1:20 p.m.
The U.S. Open of Longboarding presented by Honda saw Noah Shimabukuro (Oceanside, CA), Ned Snow (North Shore, HI), Tony Silvagni (Kerry Beach, NC), and Taylor Jensen (San Clemente, CA) advance through their Semifinals heats and into the Final, which will be completed next Sunday.
Jensen, who combined traditional smooth longboarding style with a series of aggressive off-the-lip attacks, dethroned retuning 3X U.S. Open of Longboarding champion Colin McPhillips (San Clemente, CA). Jensen finished second last year in this event behind McPhillips in the Final, and will now look to claim the U.S. Open Title.
“Any time you come out ahead of Colin (McPhillips), you’re doing something right,” Jensen said. “I’m stoked with the way it went. This is basically the biggest longboarding event in California and for us to be able to come out and surf in front of a decent crowd, with people who don’t usually see longboarding, it really helps evolve the sport. It helps to get our names out there and it’s a lot of fun.”
Noah Shimabukuro (Oceanside, CA) who is originally from Maui, earned a finals spot by defeating last year’s event finalist Kai Sallas (Honolulu, HI).
“I’m stoked to be in the Final because this might be the biggest longboarding event in the world,” Shimabukuro said. “It’s unofficially considered the world title because there are so many past world champions in the event and all the best guys come out. So to get into the finals feels like quite an accomplishment.”
The O’Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding champion will be decided at 2:35 p.m on Sunday, July 27, 2008
The eight trialists receiving a seed into the ASP WQS 6-Star GO211 LIVE feat. the Honda U.S. Open pres. by O’Neill were decided today, with Pablo Gutierrez (ESP), Granger Larsen (Lahaina, HI), Nick Rozsa (Oxnard, CA), Macy Mullen (Milileni,HI), Alejo Muniz (Florianopolis, BRA), Kyle Ramey (Poipu Beach, HI), Dane Ward (San Clemente, CA) and Tyler Stanaland (Laguna Beach, CA) advancing through today’s Quarterfinals and earning seeds into the main event
Muniz, who posted some of the Trials’ highest scores, claimed a victory today despite being under the weather.
“That heat was really fun, but it was hard because there’s a lot of current,” Muniz said. “I got lucky out there, and just tried to do my best. When I arrived here I got sick, but my friends gave me some medicine and I’m feeling better.”
Muniz will face an international field of competitors in the Round of 192 in the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill which begins tomorrow.
Ramey, who finished second behind Muniz will look to grab some valuable ratings points in his first ASP WQS 6-Star appearance.
“I’m stoked to make it through the Trials,” Ramey said. “I’ve never been in an ASP WQS 6-Star before, so it’s huge. Conditions are tough out there. The south is really straight and walled, but I just tried to make the most of it.”
Ward earned his main event berth with tight heat victory over his fellow Quarterfinalists Dege O’Connell (Hana, HI), Jody Davis (Jacksonville, FL) and Stanaland (who advanced in 2nd).
“There’s a lot of current, but at least there’s waves,” Ward said. “This is the first ASP WQS 6-Star event I’ve ever competed in and I haven’t done many events this year, so I was feeling like I had nothing to prove. I just wanted to go out there and surf and have fun, so I’m excited to have my first experience in the 6-Star."
O’Neill U.S. Open of Surfing pres. by Honda Pro Junior Results:
Semifinals (1st and 2nd advance)
Heat 1: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.73, Nat Young (USA) 11.20, Andrew Doheny (USA) 10.26, Quinn McCrystal (USA) 4.40
Heat 2: Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 15.67, Chris Salisbury (AUS) 11.27, Matt Pagan (USA) 10.73, John John Florence (USA) 7.40
Source: ASP World Tour