Kelly Slater: negotiating an aerial assault on the pier

The best 16 surfers of the 2012 US Open of Surfing have been decided, in the small waves on offer at Huntington Beach Surf City USA.

Kelly Slater roared back to life while posting an impressive win over Stuart Kennedy. Slater unloaded a two-turn backhand combo on a left breaking in to the pier to post a 9.20 for the ride, the men’s highest for the day, on his way to a strong 15.37 out of 20.

"This board is a copy of what I rode in Fiji," Slater said. "It works good on open-faced lefts and I thought it’d work good out there today, but there are a few funny little sections out there. Stu got that one air and did the full rotation, I’m lucky he didn’t make another one."

Tim Reyes, former standout on the ASP WCT and local hero, continued to find success at his local break when he defeated fellow Orange County surfer Tanner Gudauskas, in their Round of 24 bout.

"I don’t remember the last time I woke up this early to surf Huntington," Reyes said. "My coach, family and friends have been helping me out and I’m just happy to be in the Quarterfinals at home".

Brett Simpson, two-time Nike US Open of Surfing winner and stalwart competitor on the elite ASP World Championship Tour, utilized his local knowledge to take a heat win over Lincoln Taylor.

In the Women's competition, Lakey Peterson dominated her Quarterfinals match-up against fellow Californian Sage Erickson posting a near-perfect heat.

Malia Manuel got the best of a hard-fought heat over local favorite Courtney Conlogue, 19, to guarantee one of the best results of her rookie year on the ASP WCT, a Semifinals berth.