Kelly Slater: we thought he was a well known surfer...

Kelly Slater, 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion and current ASP World No. 3, was honored by the LA Dodgers last night as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the battled the San Diego Padres.

After smashing his mid-morning heat at the ASP PRIME US Open of Surfing, Slater enjoyed box seats as the Dodgers took on the Padres.

Like fellow sporting icon Michael Jordan, Kelly’s form in a baseball jersey is pretty solid.

Los Angeles ended up routing San Diego 9 – 0, but no report on where Slater’s pitch landed in the strike zone.

Jadson Andre: prepare to lift off

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME US Open of Surfing presented by Hurley and Nike 6.0 narrowed the impressive field originally slated in the premier event down to 16 competitors in peaky one-to-three foot (1 metre) surf at South Huntington Beach Pier with ASP Dream Tour rookie Jadson Andre (BRA), 20, leading the way.

The women’s ASP 6-Star US Open of Surfing and men’s ASP Pro Junior decided each respective division’s Semifinalists.

Surfers competing in the ASP PRIME and ASP 6-Star event are out to garner the crucial ratings points on offer towards qualification for the elite ASP Dream Tour while ASP Pro Junior competitors are looking to qualify for the inaugural ASP World Junior Tour.

Andre, who was a standout in yesterday’s action, returned to form again to ignite the day’s highest scores. The high-flying Brazilian continued to take to the air to earn a 9.0 out of 10, the highest single-wave score, before accumulating the highest heat-total, an impressive 16.53 out of 20.

“There aren’t too many waves coming through but when you get the right wave you can still get good scores,” Andre said. “You can still do one or two big maneuvers and get a big score.”

With only 16 surfers remaining, Andre is now one step closer to the impressive $100,000 prize purse for first place, but is remaining focused on each heat rather than the distraction of the increased money on offer.

“I really don’t want to think about the money,” Andre said. “I really just want to try and make the heats. I just want to try and do my best and not worry about the money.”

Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), 25, who is the defending US Open of Surfing Champion, marched to an impressive heat victory over fellow ASP Dream Tour rookies Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 24, who advanced in second, and Adam Melling (AUS), 25, to keep his chances of a repeat victory alive.

“The waves were definitely slower although the swell is coming up,” Simpson said. “It’s still a little inconsistent. Everyone is doing such high-performance maneuvers and you can tell that the judges are really excited on that. If you can do one big turn or a blast or air, you’re going to get rewarded. That’s what these waves offer.”

The local talent is additionally motivated to put on a show at his home break in front of his friends and family and is settling into his comfort zone despite the added pressure of being the defending event champion.

“The motivation to surf in front of my home crowd is what gets me up early every morning,” Simpson said. “We get to compete in front of this kind of atmosphere only a few times, so you want to take your advantages. For me, it’s my home-break, so I want to do my best. There was more pressure this year than last year, being the champion, but more just pressure I put on myself, because you don’t want to be the first round clown after you won last year. I’ve pushed those pressures aside and I’m just trying to have fun and surf my best.”

Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 38, former nine-time ASP World Champion, has quietly navigated through his opening heats and the competitive mastermind’s poise in today’s inconsistent conditions saw the iconic Floridian take out another heat victory to advance through to the Round of 16.

“When the waves come they’re okay,” Slater said. “The way the size is, it tends to break out the back more and there is a little bit of a reform. It’s tough because you just have to be patient. I was planning on being patient because there were two or three waves in a set and I figured even if those guys had my inside position I could get a wave still.”

Slater, who is no stranger to man-on-man competition, is looking forward to adapting his heat strategy for the Round of 16, where the format changes from the three-man heats of the Round of 24, to two-man heats.

“It allows you to change your strategy,” Slater said. “We have longer heats and priority so you don’t have to worry about two or three other guys hassling you for a wave. If you get behind in a heat the other guys can’t hassle you and keep you off of waves. It’s kind of refreshing to get back to the man-on-man stuff.”

Jacqueline Silva (BRA), 31, who is a former ASP Women’s Dream Tour competitor, unleashed the highest scores of Women’s US Open of Surfing Quarterfinals competition of a 15.10 out of 20 heat total and after two runner-up finishes at previous US Open events, the Brazilain veteran has her eye on this year’s historic $50,000 first place prize purse.

“It’s the best feeling because I’ve been training a lot and now I can see the results,” Silva said. “I’ve been in the Final twice and I hope I can win. I’ve been coming here for 10 years and I really like this wave. I came here to win. There’s big points and big money, so I’m going for it.”

Concluding today’s action was the men’s US Open Pro Junior, which decided the event’s Semifinalists.

Tomorrow’s US Open of Surfing Action will begin with the men’s Round of 16, and will crown the ASP 6-Star Women’s US Open of Surfing Champion as well as the Women’s ASP Grade-2 Pro Junior Champion. Also surfing tomorrow will be the men’s ASP Grade-2 US Open Pro Junior.

US Open of Surfing Men’s Round of 24 Results:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.50, Bede Durbidge (AUS) 9.77, Ola Eleogram (HAW) 7.17
Heat 2: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 15.00, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 14.03, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 11.00
Heat 3: Jadson Andre (BRA) 16.53, Mick Fanning (AUS) 13.00, Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 8.93
Heat 4: Cory Lopez (USA) 12.04, Nic Muscroft (AUS) 9.03, Evan Geiselman (USA) 8.54
Heat 5: Granger Larsen (HAW) 14.26, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 12.00, Jay Thompson (AUS) 6.67
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.84, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.50, Heitor Alves (BRA) 6.07
Heat 7: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 12.70, Dane Reynolds (USA) 11.13, Owen Wright (AUS) 9.17
Heat 8: Brett Simpson (USA) 15.00, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.00, Adam Melling (AUS) 12.93

US Open of Surfing Women’s Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.67 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 8.16
Heat 2: Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.77 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 10.50
Heat 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.50 def. Sarah Baum (ZAF) 6.30
Heat 4: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 15.10 def. Justine Dupont (FRA) 10.27

US Open of Surfing Pro Junior men’s Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 16.00, Ian Crane (USA) 15.23, John Florence (HAW) 13.60, Nat Young (USA) 13.36
Heat 2: Evan Geiselman (USA) 10.33, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 6.94, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 5.93, Andrew Doheny (USA) 4.37
Heat 3: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.66, Granger Larsen (HAW) 14.04, Evan Thompson (USA) 12.93, Chase Wilson (USA) 11.16
Heat 4: Alejo Muniz (BRA) 8.70, Jacob Halstead (USA) 5.70, Luke Davis (USA) 3.27, Fisher Heverly (USA) 1.93

Evan Geiselman: watch the pier

The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME US Open of Surfing presented by Hurley and Nike 6.0 saw several ASP Dream Tour competitors make early exits in the Round of 96 today at the hands of young talent and international standouts at South Huntington Beach Pier in peaky two-to-four foot ( 1 metre) surf.

Surfers competing in the ASP PRIME US Open of Surfing are out to clinch their share of the invaluable ratings points on offer towards their ASP World Ranking in an attempt to qualify for the elite ASP Dream Tour.

Willian Cardoso (BRA), 24, current No. 34 on the ASP World Ranking, charged to a come-from-behind victory by catapulting from last to first by blasting the day’s highest single-wave score of 9.00 out of 10 before snatching one of the day’s highest heat totals of an impressive 15.50 out of 20, all within the last five minutes of his heat, to eliminate ASP World Title Race No.15, Fred Patacchia (North Shore, HI), 28.

“That was a nerve wracking heat,” Cardoso said. “It’s hard out there with four guys and not very many waves. I was looking for the good ones and got two good scores in the last five minutes. I went from fourth to first, so I’m really happy. To be in surf competitions, you need to know that you can get 15 points in two minutes. You just need the waves.”

Cardoso attributed the heat victory in today’s tricky conditions to the similar surf of offer at his Brazilian training grounds.

“I have a lot of experience in these small conditions,” Cardoso said. “There are lots of small beachbreaks in Brazil. The one thing that is different here is that the water is so cold here in Huntington.”

Granger Larsen (Lahaina, HI), 20, who posted the highest heat total in the Round of 128, returned to form in Round 2 to repeat his performance, nabbing the highest heat total of the Round of 96 as well, a solid two-wave score of 15.83 out of 20.

“I wanted to get a wave right on the bell and was able to get a warm up wave,” Larsen said. “It wasn’t one of my scores, but it helped me build confidence. Then I got that 6 and that 7 and all of a sudden that set came at the end and I got an 8.”

Evan Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, FL), 17, who is a US Open of Surfing wildcard, jumped out to an early lead in his stacked Round of 96 heat by punting a massive frontside air-reverse on a lefthand ramp breaking into Huntington Beach Pier and was rewarded an impressive 8.60 for the single maneuver. The young Floridian managed to find another solid backup score and maintained the lead to take out the heat victory.

“Pretty much, any time you catch a wave in the beginning of the heat and get an 8 it helps, but I was still pretty nervous,” Geiselman said. “My legs were still shaking because I knew the guys in that heat were so good, but it definitely gave me a little breathing room.”

Geiselman, who is the current ASP North America Pro Junior Series ratings leader, also had his hand in issuing a major upset by defeating his Floridian idol, former ASP World Champion and U.S. Open of Surfing Champion C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 31, while topping current ASP Dream Tour rookie Blake Thornton (AUS), 25, who advanced in second.

“That was the biggest heat of my life surfing against C.J. (Hobgood) and beating him,” Geiselman said. “Being from Florida, he’s someone that I’ve looked up to. I was just stoked to have a heat with him but I’m really happy to have won it.”

Thiago Camarao (BRA), 22, was another dark horse who played a role in generating the list of today’s ASP Dream Tour upsets. Like Geiselman, the young Brazilian also took to the air to eliminate progressive mastermind and ASP Dream Tour rookie Dusty Payne (Lahaina, HI), 21, as well as Ben Dunn (AUS), 24, and attributes his success to a simple heat strategy.

“This event is very important because all of the best surfers in the world are here,” Camarao said. “I really try to just focus on myself though. I go out there and just try to have a good surf and not think about who is in the heat or the points or getting a certain result. If I get a good result I’m happy, but I focus on a good surf.”

Despite the early elimination of several top seeds today, reigning two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 38, and current ASP World No. 1 Jordy Smith advanced through to the Round of 48 amongst others.

US Open of Surfing Men’s Round of 96 Results:
Heat 1: Kiron Jabour (HAW) 12.80, Jordy Smith (ZAF) 12.66, Glen Hall (IRL) 10.36, Leonardo Neves (BRA) 9.76
Heat 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 11.17, Ola Eleogram (HAW) 10.87, Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 10.16, Dean Morrison (AUS) 9.24
Heat 3: Shaun Cansdell (AUS) 11.77, Gabe Kling (USA) 11.50, Tim Boal (FRA) 11.17, Michel Bourez (PYF) 11.03
Heat 4: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 15.50, Leigh Sedley (AUS) 14.23, Fredrick Patacchia (HAW) 12.50, Marco Giorgi (URY) 10.26
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 15.40, Austin Ware (USA) 12.80, Michael Picon (FRA) 11.10, Eric Geiselman (USA) 9.23
Heat 6: Miguel Pupo (BRA) 14.00, Jeremy Flores (FRA) 11.97, Neco Padaratz (BRA) 9.80, Rudy Palmboom (ZAF) 6.67
Heat 7: Cory Lopez (USA) 12.93, Nate Yeomans (USA) 12.90, Marcio Farney (BRA) 8.90, Andy Irons (HAW) 4.00
Heat 8: Jadson Andre (BRA) 12.16, Damien Fahrenfort (ZAF) 11.44, Sebastien Zietz (HAW) 10.70, Bernardo Miranda (BRA) 10.54
Heat 9: Jihad Khodr (BRA) 13.47, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 10.50, Damien Hobgood (USA) 9.33, Pablo Paulino (BRA) 3.33
Heat 10: Evan Geiselman (USA) 14.67, Blake Thornton (AUS) 13.90, C.J. Hobgood (USA) 13.60, Nat Young (USA) 12.30
Heat 11: Kekoa Bacalso (HAW) 13.74, Tanner Gudauskas (USA) 12.97, Blake Wilson (USA) 11.07, Luke Davis (USA) 7.86
Heat 12: Nic Muscroft (USA) 11.17, Mick Fanning (AUS) 10.60, Brandon Jackson (ZAF) 10.27, Hizunome Bettero (BRA) 4.36
Heat 13: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.54, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 12.70, Dayyan Neve (AUS) 10.40, Alain Riou (PYF) 5.90
Heat 14: Thiago Camarao (BRA) 15.17, Oliver Kurtz (USA) 12.66, Dusty Payne (HAW) 10.60, Ben Dunn (AUS) 7.33
Heat 15: Heitor Alves (BRA) 15.17, Rob Machado (USA) 6.50, Chris Davidson (AUS) 5.17, Sunny Garcia (HAW) 4.16
Heat 16: Granger Larsen (HAW) 15.83, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 8.27, Joan Duru (FRA) 7.60, Gony Zubizarreta (ESP) 6.64
Heat 17: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 13.10, Dion Atkinson (AUS) 10.96, Chris Ward (USA) 8.80, Jack Perry (AUS) 8.70
Heat 18: Mason Ho (HAW) 14.33, Drew Courtney (AUS) 10.40, Paulo Moura (BRA) 10.27, Roy Powers (HAW) 7.80