HUNTINGTON BEACH, California (Thursday, July 29, 2010) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) PRIME US Open of Surfing presented by Hurley and Nike 6.0 is just days away from kicking off its 2010 venue and with 33 ASP Dream Tour competitors in the men’s draw and the event boasting a women’s ASP 6-Star division, the highest level of professional surfing is guaranteed to unfold at South Huntington Beach Pier.
The 2010 US Open of Surfing is a marathon event that not only includes competitors from the Men’s ASP PRIME and Women’s ASP 6-Star event seeking ratings points to qualify for the prestigious ASP Dream Tour, but also holds the ASP Grade-2 US Open Junior Pro, which will showcase the nation’s finest men’s and women’s ASP Pro Junior talent hunting for a position of the inaugural ASP World Junior Tour.
Tanner Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 22, current ASP Dream Tour rookie, is ecstatic to compete alongside his fellow ASP World Title Race surfers in Huntington Beach and the young goofy-footer’s familiarity of the famous California beachbreak has him fired up to compete against the world’s best in familiar territory.
“The U.S Open is a really special event because it still draws the top of the Dream Tour but in the conditions of the Star events,” Gudauskas said. “It’s a fun time to play on a more even playing field in conditions where you feel comfortable. Growing up in Southern California, I have always looked forward to being a part of the US Open and this year is no different. I can’t wait to put that jersey on and have a go!”
With thousands of spectators flocking to Huntington Beach Pier’s amphitheater, some competitors may find the uncharacteristic crowds unbearable, but Gudauskas feeds off of the crowd’s energy to battle through heats.
“I love the crowds,” Gudauskas said. “It gets me pumped up to know that there are so many people that are passionate about surfing and it makes me want to go out and try my hardest.”
Dane Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 24, suffered a vicious ankle injury while competing in Tasmania in late March, but after several months of rehabilitation, the powerful goofy-footer will be back in a jersey at this year’s US Open.
“In the Tasmania event I suffered a pretty severe ankle sprain and it kept me out of the water for three months,” Gudauskas said. “I’ve been back surfing for the better part of a month and I couldn’t be more stoked to be surfing! The US open will be my first event back and I couldn’t be looking forward to it more. Since I have been out of the water I’ve had my eyes on one thing, getting back in the jersey and competing at a high level. I’m feeling focused, healthy and I’m really looking forward to this event.”
Courtney Conlogue (Santa Ana, CA), 17, who is the defending US Open champion, is ready to defend her title, but despite being a local at Huntington Beach Pier, the up-and-coming regular-footer knows that her homebreak’s tricky characteristics make it anyone’s game.
“Every year is so different,” Conlogue said. “I obviously would love to make it as far as I can. I want to try and win again and get a good result, but Huntington is a tricky spot because the sandbars are always changing. It’s pretty much anyone’s ball game out there. I guess I have home field advantage because I get to sleep in my own bed, but I’m just trying to take it heat-by-heat and earn those points towards qualifying.”
Conlogue, who has been a standout amongst her international peers for several years now, has recently graduated and has her sights set on a spot on the ASP Women’s World Tour. With the US Open as the only women’s ASP Star event on the 2010 calendar in Mainland America, Conlogue is out to capitalize on the invaluable ratings points on offer to help her cause.
“This is my first year trying to qualify for the Women’s World Tour,” Conlogue said. “Trying to juggle both school and competition was challenging but now that I’ve graduated with top honors I feel like I’ve been able to dedicate equal time to both surfing and my education.”
Sage Erickson (Ventura, CA), 19, is one young talent who is competing in both the US Open of Surfing and the US Open Junior Pro and hopes that she can build momentum through the ASP Pro Junior division before tackling the globe’s best female surfing talent in the women’s ASP 6-Star event.
“The level of Pro Junior competition is amazing and I’m so glad to be a part of it,” Erickson said. “I signed up for the Pro Junior knowing that it would be a good warm up for the 6-Star. Once you find your groove out at Huntington Beach you’re pretty unstoppable in each heat and I know that girls like Carissa (Moore) and Malia (Manuel) will push me in every department to surf my best and find that groove.”
Marquee names also competing for their piece of the impressive $250,000 prize purse in the ASP PRIME US Open of Surfing include nine-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (Cocoa Beach, FL), 38, reigning two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 29, three-time ASP World Champion Andy Irons (Hanalei, HI), 32, 2001 ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood (Melbourne, FL), 31, three-time ASP World Champion and event wildcard Tom Curren (Santa Barbara, CA), 46, current ASP World No. 1 Jordy Smith (ZAF), 22, and American talent Dane Reynolds (Ventura, CA), 24.
Top names in the women’s ASP 6-Star event include reigning three-time ASP Women’s World Champion and former US Open of Surfing champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 22, and former ASP Women’s World Champions Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 27, and Chelsea Hedges (AUS), 26, amongst others.
The US Open of Surfing runs from July 31 through August 8, 2010 and will be webcast LIVE via www.usopenofsurfing.com