US Open of Surfing 2009 

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Hurley U.S. Open saw reigning ASP World Champions Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 37, and Stephanie Gilmore (Tweed Heads, AUS), 21, put on a show for the Huntington Beach crowd today with their dynamic ss to post top scores while advancing through their respective rounds at the famed event in the two-to-three foot surf at South Huntington Beach Pier today. Coco Ho (Sunset Beach, HI), 18, who is a rookie on the Women’s ASP World Tour, was also a leader in the women’s ASP 6-Star event, posting the highest scores amongst the top seeds.

All surfers competing in the premier event are looking to capitalize on the bevy of points available towards qualification for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour, while the winner-take-all U.S.$100,000 historic prize purse has attracted the likes of ASP Dream Tour Surfers such as Slater and former ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (Tweed Heads, AUS), 28.

Slater is fresh off of his ASP Dream Tour campaign and has crossed the globe from South Africa alongside his fellow ASP World Tour surfers to compete in the prestigious Hurley U.S. Open. The iconic regular-footer wore a U.S. Open singlet for his first heat in approximately a decade and appropriately bashed the day’s highest single wave score of 9.33 out of 10 en route to his heat victory.

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Royden Bryson 

Royden Bryson has clinched the 2009 ASP Africa men’s title with a record haul of points and prize-money after the conclusion of the mid-year international surfing contest season in South Africa.

Bryson, 26, who grew up in East London but relocated to Cape Town three years ago, was in dominant form in the four ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) events staged in SA this year. He won the 1-Star rated Lizzard Nandos Pro in Durban, finished runner-up in the 5-Star O’Neill Cold Water Classic in Cape Town and placed equal 17th in both the 6-Star Prime rated Quiksilver Pro Durban and the 6-Star Mr Price Pro Ballito.

Bryson accumulated 4 263 points, nearly 700 more than ASP Africa runner-up Travis Logie (Durban), and set a prize-money record by pocketing R102 350, more than double that earned by any of the other 96 ASP Africa members.

Logie finished just 62 points ahead of Ricky Basnett (Bluff) and 66 ahead of fourth placed rising star Rudy Palmboom (Bluff) in the ASP Africa ratings. Bryson, Logie and Basnett all lost their places amongst the top 45 ranked surfers on the ASP World Tour at the end of 2008 and are determined to re-qualify for the 2010 Dream Tour.

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Nat Young 

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing ran the first 18 heats of the Round of 144 and saw Santa Cruz standout Nat Young, 18, crush the event’s highest scores en route to his Round of 96 berth. Reigning ASP World Junior Champion Kai Barger (Haiku, HI), 19, also displayed an impressive performance on the way to his heat win.

All surfers competing at this year’s Hurley U.S. Open are not only looking to take advantage of the crucial ratings points on offer towards qualification for a spot on the 2010 ASP World Tour, but are also out to claim the historic winner-take-all US$100,000 prize purse which Hurley has put up for this year’s main event winner.

Young utilized his deadly backhand attack on a Huntington righthander to blast the event’s top single wave score of 9.47 out of 10 with three massive beyond-vertical turns. The Santa Cruz standout attached the near-perfect score with an additional impressive forehand ride to earn the highest heat total of the day as well, a 16.23 out of 20.

“The waves are really fun and I kind of sat off by myself a little bit,” Young said. “There are waves coming in everywhere and it’s just who gets the waves. Luckily they came to me. On that nine, it was a nice peaky one that wasn’t too closed out. I did three turns and I think it was one of the bigger waves, so that’s probably why it was a good score.”

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