Julian Wilson: dominating the waves of Huntington Beach

Julian Wilson showed impressive aerial skills in the small waves of Huntington Beach.

The Nike US Open of Surfing saw Wilson launching a massive frontside full-rotation 360 air to earn a near-perfect 9.87 out of 10 coupled with his previous ride, which resulted in an astonishing 18.54 out of 20 heat total.

"When that set came it was at the halfway point of the heat and I was feeling pretty comfortable," Wilson said. "It’s nice because it’s such a soft landing out there that you can pretty much do whatever you want. I just went for it and I’m happy that I had a good start out there."

Dane Reynolds displayed a raw approach in his Round of 48 heat and punted an inverted slob air-reverse with complete control, earning a 9.77 for the single ride to take his heat win with authority.

The Ventura native, who is competing as a wildcard in the Nike US Open of Surfing, is taking a casual approach to this year’s event and feels his strategy is paying off.

"I feel like this event is the opposite because in the past I put pressure on myself to surf well," Reynolds said. "I couldn’t really keep doing that because the pressure was too much. This event, I have low expectations and I’m trying not to think about the situation I’m in."

This is also the final event of the 2012 ASP Women's World Championship Tour season. Carissa Moore relied on committed power surfing through Huntington’s beachbreaks today to deliver the highest scores of women’s Round 1 competition.

The prodigious Hawaiian executed an impressive two-turn combo on a righthander for a 9-point ride, contributing to her 16.83 out of 20 heat total.

"I was just happy to sneak a few waves," Moore said. "There wasn’t much in that heat and I’m just stoked that I got those. I always look forward to coming to the US Open and I look forward to this week of craziness. I’m just like surfing in front of all of the people. It’s a great platform to perform."

Malia Manuel (HAW), 18, current No. 7 on the Women’s ASP WCT, started strong in her opening round campaign to post a victory over local favorite Courtney Conlogue (USA), 19, and Sarah Mason (NZL), 17. 7

Manuel, who is the highest-rated rookie amongst the ASP Top 17, hopes she can carry the momentum from her strong start throughout the remainder of the event to win the prestigious ASP Rookie of the Year Award.

"Getting that Round 1 win is extremely crucial because in Round 2 anything can happen, especially out here," Manuel said.

"That Round two is do or die and I’m relieved to get 1st heat out of the way, so I’m very happy. The rookie of the year award is on my mind even though I’m trying not to think about it. It’d be amazing especially since women’s surfing has come such a long way. We’ll just see what happens, but it would be an extreme honor."