What: Honda US Open of Surfing presented by O’Neill (Men’s 6-Star WQS Event; Women’s 6-Star WQS Event; Grade 2 Men’s ASP Junior Event)
Where: Huntington Beach California
When: 18 – 27 July 2008
Boasting the largest and most diverse field in its 15-year history, the Honda US Open of Surfing Presented by O’Neill began its epic 10-day run this weekend at the Huntington Beach pier. The event is North America’s highest-rated qualifying contest and the world’s most heavily attended professional surfing competition.
Since it was founded in 1994, 26 out of 28 men’s and women’s ASP World Titles have been captured by US Open of Surfing champions. The list reads like a who’s-who of professional surfers with Kelly Slater, Lisa Andersen, Andy Irons, Layne Beachley, Sunny Garcia, Sofia Mulanovich and Pauline Menczer all standing atop the winner’s podium.
Several Honda US Open champions have finished runner-up in the world title race including three-time champ Rob Machado, Shane Beschen, Taj Burrow and Keala Kennelly. Myriad others have used the prestigious event as a platform to reach the World Tour.
The 2008 Honda U.S. Open of Surfing Presented by O’Neill continues this historic tradition, showcasing 516 world-class contestants from 28 countries competing for $200,000 in prizes. The six-star World Qualifying Series (WQS) rated men’s and women’s divisions boast $135,000 and $35,000 purses respectively and offer competitors the largest point allocation of any mainland event.
This year’s Honda Men’s US Open Presented by O’Neill features 192 competitors in the main event, 96 in the trials and 30 more on the alternate list. Forty eight of the top 50 competitors on the WQS and 90 of the top 100 are entered. In addition to “heavy-hitting” World Tour standouts Chris Ward, Tim Reyes, Cory Lopez and Taylor Knox, crowd favorites include highly rated WQS stars Patrick Gudauskas, Sunny Garcia, Adriano de Souza, Brett Simpson, Nathaniel Curran and Nathan Yeomans.
In addition to Gudauskas, former world champion Garcia, Curan, Yeomans, Austin Ware and Simpson are within striking distance of the 2009 World Tour and would benefit from a strong US Open.
The 60-strong women’s division is equally as impressive, boasting three world champions (Stephanie Gilmore, Sofia Mulanovich and Layne Beachley), 16 of the top 18 girls on the ASP World Tour, and nine of the top 10 in the current WQS standings.
World-class talent like Samantha Cornish, Melanie Bartels and Megan Abubo will battle against rising stars including WQS ratings leader Sally Fitzgibbons, Sage Erickson, Courtney Conlogue and Karina Petroni. Erickson, Conlogue and Malia Manuel have each been granted wildcards into the round of 48.
The Honda US Open of Surfing Presented by O’Neill features a jam-packed roster of sanctioned surfing contests including men’s and women’s junior divisions and longboarding. Ancillary events include Pac Sun’s Battle of the Brands, They Will Surf Again Expression Session, Boost Mobile Pro Shoot Out and Corona Stand Up Paddle Surf Challenge.
Surfing competition begins on Friday, July 18 and runs through Sunday, July 27.