HUNTINGTON BEACH, California – The opening day of the Women’s Nike US Open of Surfing saw the elite ASP Top 17 tear through Rounds 1 and 2 of competition in tricky one-to-three foot surf and saw some explosive performances despite the challenging conditions.
While the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title was decided at the last contest in France, the Nike US Open of Surfing represents a do-or-die event for several women campaigners looking to requalify for the elite ASP Top 17 for 2012.
Melanie Bartels (HAW), 28, struggled to find a rhythm in her Round 1 heat, but roared back to life in Round 2. The stylish Hawai‘ian blasted the day’s highest single-wave score of an 8.93 out of 10 in the dying minutes of her battle with committed surfing on her forehand to garner the highest heat-total as well, a 14.20 out of 20, eliminating Pauline Ado (FRA), 20.
“I was praying to God to send me one more wave,” Bartels said. “I was debating trying to get a score in the shorebreak or waiting for sets and I’m stoked he gave me that wave.”
Bartels, current No. 13 on the ASP Women’s World Title Series, kept her requalification campaign alive for the 2012 elite ranks and hopes to build momentum as the event progresses.
“That heat was important to me,” Bartels said. “Pauline (Ado) is doing well right now and progressing though that heat makes the gap a little bit closer. It’s important to me because I really want to requalify and I’m just stoked that I got the chance to progress into the next round. I’m just going to try my best and hope for the best.”
Bartels needs to finish runner-up at the Nike US Open of Surfing to requalify for the 2012 ASP Women’s World Title Series.
Silvana Lima (BRA), 26, clawed her way to victory despite getting a slow start in her opening heat and found a clean righthander in the dying minutes of the bout and unloaded a variety of tail-drifting turns and carves to earn an 8.43 for the ride to advance directly through to Round 3.
“I was a little bit nervous out there,” Lima said. “I’m stoked to win that first heat and I want to finish the year with a strong result. I feel good and it’s the last event of the year and I want to win. I want to move up the ratings to finish.”
Courtney Conlogue (USA), 18, started strong at her home break with committed backhand power surfing on two Huntington Beach lefts to open her campaign with a Round 1 victory over fellow rookie Tyler Wright (AUS), 17, and Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 25.
“My board didn’t feel like it was working so well and I was just trying to be really light and try and get a few turns in,” Conlogue said. “It was definitely a fun heat and I hope to surf a little better in the next round.”
Conlugue shook off the nerves brought on by competing at her local break and wants to deliver a memorable performance in front of her hometown crowd.
“I think I was a little more nervous than my last event,” Conlogue said. “The event is in my backyard and I want to put on a show for everyone. I want to show people that I know the wave because I do live here and coming into this event I trained really hard so I could perform well.”
Lakey Peterson (USA), 16, Nike US Open of Surfing Wildcard, was responsible for the upset of Round 1 when she relegated freshly crowned ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), 18, to Round 2 of competition in a close heat.
“Carissa surfs absolutely unbelievable obviously and I was just stoked to surf against her,” Peterson said. “It’s an honor to surf against the world champ and a great friend. I’m sure she’ll do great in the rest of the comp, but it was a bit of a confidence booster to win that one.”
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 20, was cautious with her wave selection in her heat’s tough high-tide conditions and took a convincing victory to advance directly through to Round 3.
“It’s definitely tough out there,” Fitzgibbons said. “There were a few little pulses out there this morning with the tide push, and it’s a little like Europe out there, it just switches on and off. I just had to make the most of what came through and make those inside connections and find some scores. I’m stoked to make it through to Round 3.”
Fitzgibbons, current No. 2 on the ASP Women’s World Title Series, is looking to finish her impressive 2011 ASP World Title campaign with a strong result at the Nike US Open of Surfing.
“I really want to finish strong,” Fitzgibbons said. “I really like competing here in Huntington with a unique crowd and the tricky beachbreak conditions. I definitely want to punctuate this year and I’m feeling strong so hopefully I can finish with a bang.”
Carissa Moore, who won the Hurley US Open last year as an ASP 6-Star event, bounced back to life after her close Round 1 loss to defeat replacement surfer Felicity Palmateer (AUS), 18, to advance through to Round 3.
“I started off the day coming in second in my Round 1 heat to Lakey and it was pretty frustrating,” Moore said. “I wanted to come in to my first event after winning the Women’s World Title pretty strong, but unfortunately I didn’t make it through. I almost missed my Round 2 heat, but luckily I didn’t and I made it through and I’m on to the third round.”
Concluding the day’s action was the Quarterfinals of the ASP 4-Star Men’s Nike US Open Pro Junior of Surfing.
Nike US Open of Surfing action will reconvene on Wednesday, August 3, 2011. Round 1 of men’s ASP PRIME competition will begin tomorrow morning at 7:30am local time.
The Nike US Open of Surfing is also part of a massive action sports festival which features BMX, Skateboarding, Music, Art and Fashion shows, all of which are free to the public.
The Women’s Nike US Open of Surfing holds a waiting period from August 1 – 7, 2011 and is webcast LIVE via www.usopenofsurfing.com
For additional ASP information log on to www.aspworldtour.com
Nike US Open of Surfing Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.60 def. Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 7.03
Heat 2: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.07 def. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 8.90
Heat 3: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 14.20 def. Pauline Ado (FRA) 11.00
Heat 4: Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.20 def. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 9.34
Heat 5: Coco Ho (HAW) 14.17 def. Alana Blanchard (HAW) 8.76
Heat 6: Laura Enever (AUS) 14.04 def. Paige Hareb (NZL) 12.73
Nike US Open of Surfing Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 13.76, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 12.74, Tyler Wright (AUS) 12.33
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 14.10, Pauline Ado (FRA) 11.00, Alana Blanchard (HAW) 10.87
Heat 3: Lakey Peterson (USA) 13.20, Carissa Moore (HAW) 13.10, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9.50
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 13.33, Laura Enever (AUS) 5.67, Felicity Palmateer (AUS) 3.70
Heat 5: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.00, Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.50, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 9.10
Heat 6: Rebecca Woods (AUS) 13.00, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 10.30, Coco Ho (HAW) 8.37
Nike US Open of Surfing Men’s Pro Junior Quarterfinals Results:
Heat 1: Conner Coffin (USA) 12.94, Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 12.86, Nat Young (USA) 9.90, Andrew Doheny (USA) 8.30
Heat 2: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.76, Keanu Asing (HAW) 13.53, Taylor Clark (USA) 10.80, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 3.77
Heat 3: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.30, Dylan Goodale (HAW) 14.10 Kaimana Jaquias (HAW) 8.66, Christian Saenz (USA) 7.50
Heat 4: John John Florence (HAW) 16.90, Colin Moran (USA) 10.54, Luke Davis (USA) 9.56, Jake Halstead (USA) 6.79