The 2009 US Open of Surfing

29 07 2009
The hometown kid wins $100,000. photo: Hurley

The Hometown Kid Wins $100,000. photo: J. Klein

A wise man once said or maybe it was David Lee Roth, “Money can’t buy you happiness, but it can buy you a yacht big enough to pull up right alongside it.” Hurley not only anchored the yacht right beside the barnacle-encrusted pilings at the Huntington Beach Pier, it brought the money with it. 
 
The hype started nearly two weeks ago. The swell was going to be big. Really big. The Internet was buzzing. Texts were exchanged en masse. Twitter accounts were exceeding the 140 character maximum. The surf industry was foaming at mouth like a Jewish dog at the end of the Yom Kippur fast. Surely the city had already hired an engineering firm to design a new pier, because certainly this one wouldn’t withstand the might of the impending swell. 
 
Then there was the money. A record $100,000 first-place check would go to the winner. Meanwhile, some half-retard on meth wins millions for driving in circles for three hours. Sure, most surfers are half-retards, but usually they aren’t on meth. Perhaps someone should alert Slater or ESPN about the missing ingredient to immediate riches. It works for NASCAR.
 
As it turned out the swell peaked late Friday, maxing out at a few feet overhead, but it sure as hell beat the typical Huntington two-foot slopfest won by a Brazilian or a midget or both. For many (including myself) the Huntington event is a love/hate thing. Think of it as a bacon-wrapped hot dog bought on a Tijuana street corner at 2 a.m. The stomach says no, but the stomach is no match for the mind after that much tequila.
 
The money or the swell, or maybe it was boredom, brought a bevy of WCT surfers and icons that have been skipping this event for the past five years or so. The 100 grand was a smart move. People waned to see Andy Irons, Mick Fanning, Taylor Knox and Slater. Gony Zubizarreta and Wiggolly Dantas sure aren’t driving webcast traffic.
 
Slater was clearly the stand out surfer on Friday and Saturday. In the round of 48 his carving 360 on massive closeout sent Artiz Arramburu home. Later he called it one of the best he’s ever done. Impressive yes, but hardly worth the 9 for one maneuver. Then there was the 10-point barrel on Saturday. He was toying with the conditions and his opponents, eventually losing to De Souza in a wave-starved quarterfinal.
 
Let’s pretend Joel Parkinson is Luke Skywalker, a young ultra-talented surfer who has the future of surfing resting on his shoulders. That would make Parko’s coach, Luke Egan, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Now let’s say Huntington Beach’s own Brett Simpson is Anakin Skywalker. Would that make Ian Cairns Jabba The Hut? Well, you have to give Ian the Hut credit. Simpson’s coach is doing something right.
 
The 24-year-old Simpo disposed of Nate Curran, CJ Hobgood and Mick Fanning on Sunday en route to the win. Along with Slater, Fanning, CJ, Curran, Pat Gudauskas and De Souza, Simpson was one of the most progressive surfers all week. Conspiracy theorists may think it’s a little too convenient that a Hurley surfer took home the big money. But Simpson won fair and square. He earned it. Now Simpson sits at 5th in the WQS ratings, basically securing a spot on the CT next year. He proved he is a formidable threat, no matter the opponent, in breachbreak conditions. But, then again, there aren’t many beachbreaks on the Dream Tour.

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3 responses

29 07 2009
mike

David Lee Roth Rules!

30 07 2009
Hef

How am I supposed to pronounce the name of this site?

Nug-able, like hugable? Or, noogable like…I don’t know, something similar.

30 07 2009
nugable

Yes, it’s Nugable like hugable. Frankly, I’m surprised furries don’t already own the url. If the surfing stuff doesn’t work out I can just switch gears and cater to the furry lifestyle.

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