HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. — An international contingent of top talent posted some of the highest scores in event history, yesterday, reveling in the glassy 3-to 4-foot waves on offer at the Go211 LIVE Honda U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach Pier.
The Association of Surfing Professionals World Qualifying Series 6-Star event narrowed its field down to 96 competitors yesterday, moving one day closer to crowning this year’s 2008 Honda U.S. Open champion.
The heat of the day was the high-flying shootout between ASP WQS combatant,s Brazil’s Jadson Andre and Kona’s Torrey Meister, both exchanging consecutive near-perfect rides in their Round 2 clash.
Andre earned an impressive score of a 9.23 in the opening seconds of his Round 2 heat with a series of powerful maneuvers to get the round started. The young surfer then followed up his excellent score with a perfect 10-point ride for punting a massive no-grab frontside air on what looked to be a closeout wave.
“I felt really good,” Andre said. “My waves at home are like this and I felt so relaxed. I’ve been here many times now and I love Huntington.”
Andre, current No. 73 on the ASP WQS, expressed his excitement about topping Meister’s impressive performance.
“I think this is the best heat of my life,” Andre said. “I’m so happy right now. All of the guys in my heat surf so good. I just want to do my best in the rest of the contest.”
Meister answered Andre’s first big score immediately with a 9.17 out of possible 10 of his own, but it was not enough to overtake the lead. Shortly after Meister’s attack, Andre replied with his perfect score, which would go unmatched throughout the remainder of the heat.
Undeterred by the impressive scores of his Brazilian opponent, Meister still answered back with a near-perfect 9.93 out of a possible 10 for a huge frontside air.
“Andre was ripping,” Meister said. “The waves are firing right now, and this is about as good as Huntington gets, I think. This is the best I’ve surfed it.”
The performances of Andre and Meister left their Round 2 opponents unable to counter and were eliminated from U.S. Open competition.
South Africa’s Rudy Palmboom posted an outstanding performance yesterday, blasting a single wave score of a 9.43 out of a possible 10 with a blistering attack on the peaky surf on offer.
The prodigious natural-footer followed up with a solid second score for a heat total of a 17.10 out of a possible 20.
“I’m stoked because the waves here are actually similar to the waves I surf back home,” Palmboom said. “There’s a nice push out there today and usually Huntington is pretty weak. I had fun out there.”
Palmboom, current No. 26 on the ASP Africa Pro Junior Series, proved he is transitioning easily from the ASP Pro Junior Series into ASP WQS competition by his dominating performance given today.
“This is my first full year on the ASP WQS, and I’m heading to Japan after this event and working it out on the WQS for qualification for the 2009 ASP World Tour.”
The spry young talent will take on fellow South African and former ASP World Tour campaigner Greg Emslie in the Round of 96.
Huntington Beach local Timmy Reyes, current No. 14 on the ASP World Tour, made the flight home in between ASP World Tour events to compete in the U.S. Open.
Reyes showed an impressive display of surfing in front of his home crowd with massive turns and airs to claim a victory in his Round 2 heat.
“To be home for a week and cruise with my family and sleep in my own bed is nice,” Reyes said. “Unfortunately the contests are so close together, so it doesn’t give you much time to relax. I’m stoked to be here on the beaches of my home town though.”
Reyes will surf again tomorrow against world No. 10 Austin Ware of California, Brazilian young gun Jean De Silva and Maui’s Dusty Payne.
For results from yesterday’s competition, see today’s Scoreboard on the opposite page.