U.S. Open of Surfing
If you want to take the pulse of the action sports nation, the annual Vans U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach is a pretty good place to start. Take a cast list of thousands of spectators, pro skaters, BMXers and, of course, surfers; throw in live music, one of the world’s most iconic beaches, and a pro surf comp, and you have a recipe for one of the most combustible events on the calendar. That’s how it went down this year, any way.
As ever, the surf comp was the main draw for fans and athletes alike. When legendary 11-time ASP champion Kelly Slater is in town to battle for the $100k prize and 6500 points towards the ASP title, you know something big is going down.
Slater might not have took the win, but the final between Orange County’s own Kolohe Andino and Brazilian Alejo Muniz pretty much reflected the mood of the event. Muniz might have been the underdog but his smooth style helped him to the win ahead of local favourite Andino, which he dedicated to his late grandfather, who had died four years previous to the day. Nice touch.
The women’s final was a contest of wills between Carissa Moore of Hawaii and America’s Courtney Conlogue, with Moore dominating from the start, despite a late comeback from Conlogue, who was playing to a hometown crowd. With Moore’s win taking her into first position on the tour rankings, her third victory this year, she said it was “such an honour to win this event in front of this big crowd. I feel amazing.”
While the water at Huntington Beach was going of with slashes and airs, there was no shortage of action back on dry land. With the huge skate bowl and the crowds of sun loving spectators there was plenty of fun to go around.
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Check out iON team skater Manny Santiago catching up with the iON booth: