Monday, July 27, 2009

U. S. Open Surf Championship Contest Huntington Beach, California

Brett Simpson takes 1st place

Surfs been up all week for the U.S. Open Surfing competition. On the final day of competition yesterday it was thrilling to watch our favorite Aussie surfer Mick Fanning compete in the 30 minute final heat for first place. It was a tight race to win the $100,000 prize but Mick was beat out by a local Huntington Beach surfer, Brett Simpson. The crowd went wild, cheering and lifting him up from the sea. We were standing right next to his family and they were going crazy. Very exciting to watch as this years waves were the biggest we've seen in the past several years. Great weather, and crowds of 120,000 and upwards. If you're ever in SoCal at this time of year it's a great event to experience.

OC Surfer of the Year Brett Simpson won the U.S. Open of Surfing this hour, besting 2009 top-ten surfer and former world champion Mick Fanning of Austrialia in a 30-minute final.

This is what the crowds looked like from the pier

We stood under the pier where we had a great view and it was away from the hot sun

Our family favorite Mick Fanning (WE LOVE YOU MICK!)

Kelly Slater

Bruce Irons

Rob Machado

Straight ahead view through the pier

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Sunday, July 26, 2009) – Brett Simpson (Huntington Beach, CA), 24, has claimed the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) 6-Star Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing over former ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (Coolangatta, AUS), 28, in front of an ecstatic hometown crowd, netting surfing’s biggest victory purse ever – US$100,000.An event that will go down in surfing history, the 2009 Hurley U.S. Open of Surfing was treated to incredible surf (waves reaching as high as ten-to-twelve feet), an unprecedented number of elite ASP Dream Tour competitors in attendance as well as the biggest winner’s prize in surfing history. The young local’s emphatic victory in front of the hundreds of thousands on the beach provided the storybook ending and vaulted the event to unprecedented heights.Simpson wasted no time in putting his opponent on the ropes in the Final, collecting a 6.83, a 7.83 and a 9.10 in the opening half of the heat with razor-sharp turns, explosive aerial maneuvers and a supernatural rapport with the Huntington Beach sandbanks.“I knew the tide was coming up and there weren’t going to be as many waves,” Simpson said. “I knew I needed a quick start. We (Mick Fanning and I) both got off to pretty quick starts. We both picked up some good scores off the bat and I was able to build a little momentum throughout my opening waves. I couldn’t believe it when the heat finished – I’m still at a loss. I can’t ask for more than to beat Mick Fanning in the Final at home. With that, and the $100,000 and the 2,500 ’QS points, I’m nearly in tears at the moment.”Each one of Simpson’s maneuvers was met with a thunder of cheers from the hundreds of thousands of spectators on the beach, and the young Californian’s win was caused an unparalleled eruption of excitement to ripple through the Hurley U.S. Open event site.“When you’re riding on the ski in front of the crowd and you hear the applause it definitely pumps you up,” Simpson said. “Every time I was feeling a bit tired, the energy level of the crowd would lift me right up. It’s unbelievable to have all the support and my family and friends here with me. This is the best day of my life.”In addition to taking away professional surfing’s biggest first prize in history (US$100,000), Simpson earned 2,500 ASP WQS points solidifying his campaign in the qualification race for the 2010 ASP Dream Tour. The progressive natural-footer is in excellent position for a berth next season at professional surfing’s most elite level, the ASP World Tour.“I don’t know what to say,” Simpson said. “It hasn’t sunk in yet. Fanning was in phenomenal form this morning, eliminating two fellow ASP World Tour campaigners en route to his Finals berth, but the current ASP World No. 7 was unable to navigate the decreasing afternoon conditions. Despite missing out on the US$100,000 first prize, the Australian exhibited true sportsmanship, congratulating Simpson as well as the event.“It’s been an amazing week for me,” Fanning said. “I haven’t been here for seven years and to come back into an event like this is just amazing. The setup, the crowd, the waves, it’s all been a dream. Congratulations to Brett (Simpson), he’s a true champion and we look forward to seeing him next year on tour.”


nancyhol said...

Great photos of the surfing, Barb!

Those waves were huge this weekend. Wasn't there a death - a guy thrown against the rocks? They really scare me.

Laurie said...

Great photos, Barb! What an awesome event! That's something I'd like to see!

barb cabot said...

You're right Nancy, there was a death but it was a body surfer not a surfer in the competition. Waves were incredibly big.

barb cabot said...

Laurie and Nancy I cannot take credit for the photos. I did have my camera but was way too far to get any great images such as these. These were off the internet taken by professionals but they were taken the day of the event so they are from Huntington Beach as we watched.

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