Rob Machado 

Hurley has just made the unprecedented announcement that first place in the upcoming Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach will now be US$100,000, the biggest prize purse in professional surfing’s history.

“Huntington Beach is ground zero for competitive surfing in mainland America, and on the 50th anniversary of major events at the Pier, we’re excited and honored to help bring surfing back to center stage at the U.S. Open,” Evan Slater, Hurley Digital Marketing Manager, said. “This includes attracting the world’s best surfers and making it the significant event it deserves to be.”

The event, which runs at the historic Huntington Beach Pier from July 20 – 26, 2009, has attracted a bevy of the world’s best surfers from the prestigious ASP Dream Tour as well as the top ASP WQS seeds looking to gain valuable qualification points in their respective campaigns for an ASP World Tour berth in 2010.

“Going back to the Op Pro days in the early to mid 80s, the event here at Huntington always seemed larger than life,” Slater said. “Where your heroes performed the unimaginable right in front of you. The waves weren’t the key factor it was the atmosphere. At Rob Machado’s suggestion, who remembers those days clearly as a kid, he felt a first-place incentive like this would help rekindle that electric atmosphere.”

Hurley’s unparalleled financial incentive has caught the global attention of surfers, fans, industry powerbrokers and the ASP.

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Tom Curren 

Tom Curren (USA) claimed victory in the first round of the highly anticipated Clash of the Icons against fellow surfing legend Mark Occhilupo (AUS) at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay this morning.


Sent out into clean one metre waves at Supertubes at 7.15 am, Curren started with two short rides before Occhilupo posted the first meaningful ride of the encounter – 6.50 out of 10 – for a series of trademark backhand carves. Curren waited patiently for the best waves and was rewarded with one that peeled the entire length of the point  enabling the renowned stylist to rack up a 7.0.

Occy continued to be the busier of the two as they moved down the point to the cleaner faces at the Carpark section and the Australian held the lead going into the last five minutes. Curren’s patience paid off in the dying minutes as, needing just 4.51 points, he found the best wave of the heat and extracted everything from it, riding almost onto the rocks at Impossibles, to be awarded 7.50 by the judges and first blood in the clash.

There will be a second round between two of surfing’s best known ambassadors between the semifinals and the final of the Billabong Pro when Occhilupo will have the chance to restore parity to their 26 year rivalry that now stands at 9 wins to 8 wins in Curren’s favour.

The Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay moved straight into Round 2 action with Heat 3 producing a nail-biting finale as Dean Morrison, the point break maestro from Australia, pipped current World No. 15 Jeremy Flores (FRA) with his last ride. Morrison will meet Nathaniel Curran (USA) in Round 3 after ASP World Tour rookie caused an upset by defeating current World No.2 and the No. 4 seed at J-bay, Adriano de Souza (BRA), in Round 2.

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Sean Holmes

Round 1 and the opening two heats of Round 2 of the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay were completed today in clean three-to-five foot (1.5 metre) waves at the legendary South African pointbreak, with the world’s best surfers reveling in the opening day of competition.

Event No. 5 of 10 on the 2009 ASP World Tour, the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay opted to make the most of the conditions on offer today, opting to run the new competition format of man-on-man elimination matches from the outset, completing 18 heats of competition, highlighted with some incendiary performances.

Sean Holmes (ZAF), 31, wildcard at the Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay, has a storied history at the event, competing seven times prior, finishing as high as 5th (2002) and as low as 33rd (2005). Although Holmes, once considered the Jeffreys Bay nemesis of former-three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (HAW), 30, hasn’t competed for the past two years, the powerful natural-footer posted an emphatic win this morning in front of an ecstatic hometown crowd.

“I was so nervous out there for the first ten minutes of my heat that I felt like I had stones for legs,” Holmes said. “About halfway through the heat, I loosened up and was able to collect some pretty good scores. For a natural-footer, the wave here at J-Bay is such a pleasure to ride. Although I haven’t competed in this event for a couple of years, I feel comfortable out here and I’ll look to get through a few more rounds before I’m done here.”

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