HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Sunday, July 29, 2012) – The world’s best female surfers have converged on Southern California’s iconic Huntington Beach for the final stop on the 2012 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Nike US Open of Surfing, from July 30 through August 5, 2012.
With Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 24, clinching her fifth ASP Women’s World Title at the previous event in France, the focus of the Nike US Open of Surfing turns to high-performance surfing and the ever-important requalification race.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 21, defending Nike US Open winner and current ASP Women’s World No. 2, is disappointed she was unable to send the 2012 ASP Women’s World Title Race to Huntington Beach, but the progressive natural-footer remains positive that she’ll be able to finish strong at the US Open.
“The last event didn’t go as well as I would have hoped,” Fitzgibbons said. “I really thought that we were a lot closer in the rankings than we actually were, but Steph (Gilmore) had to do a lot of take the title there and it was a pretty special thing for her to do it in front of so many people. Right now, I’m just focusing on the positives and I’ve had a pretty good year so I’m already thinking of next year. The goal is the world title and will be next year. Huntington Beach provides another opportunity for me to hone my skills.”
A noticeable change in the young Australian’s approach this season has been the use of unconventional equipment while battling the world’s best female surfers. Fitzgibbons has utilized epoxy technologies on more than one occasion as well as beefing up the volume in her small-wave crafts.
“I’m in between shapers at the moment so I’ve been taking advantage of this time to experiment with different kinds of boards for different kinds of waves,” Fitzgibbons said. “I’ve been having a lot fun with it and am now confident that I have boards that can perform in a number of conditions. We’ll see what the surf brings us this week.”
Fitzgibbons will take on Paige Hareb (NZL), 22, and Jacqueline Silva (BRA), 33, in her opening round bout at the Nike US Open of Surfing.
Lakey Peterson (USA), 17, 2012 ASP Dream Tour rookie and current ASP Women’s World No. 9, is confident that she’ll be amongst the world’s elite in 2013 and, after finishing Runner-Up at the Nike US Open of Surfing in 2011, the young Californian is looking to improve at this year’s installment.
“I feel like I’m in a pretty good position right now on the rankings and my focus for the US Open is not requalifying but to win the event,” Peterson said. “While I don’t specifically live in Huntington Beach, it’s still California and feels like home. I’ve had a lot of experience at the spot and I’m really looking forward to this week.”
Peterson will face Tyler Wright (AUS), 18, and compatriot Sage Erickson (USA), 21, in Round 1 of competition.
In addition to the final installment of the 2012 ASP Women’s WCT, the Nike US Open of Surfing, owned and operated by IMG, a global leader in sports and entertainment, is part of a major action sports festival that includes skateboarding, music, art and more.
The final event of the 2012 ASP Women’s World Championship Tour, the Nike US Open of Surfing, will be webcast LIVE via www.usopenofsurfing.com
For more information, log onto www.aspworldtour.com
NIKE US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND 1 MATCH-UPS:
Heat 1: Courtney Conlogue (USA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Sarah Mason (NZL)
Heat 2: Tyler Wright (AUS), Lakey Peterson (USA), Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS), TBA
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL), Jacqueline Silva (BRA)
Heat 5: Carissa Moore (HAW), Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Justine Dupont (FRA)
Heat 6: Laura Enever (AUS), Coco Ho (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)