After a week of competition in front of a packed beach at Huntington Beach Pier Brazilian surfer Alejo Muniz has won the Vans US Open of Surfing, taking home a huge purse prize of $100,000 and a healthy amount of ASP Tour points as the Men’s 2013 World Championship Tour hits the halfway mark. Muniz beat local Orange County surfer Kolohe Andino in the finals in peaky one-to-three foot waves with progressive surfing and key wave selection.
Muniz’s two-wave-total included a combined 8.43, attacking the wave with frontside turns, and a 7.80 on his backside speeding towards the pier. Andino scored a 7.77 but couldn’t find another strong score to match Muniz. The Brazilian natural footer also defeated Australian Mitch Crews, an awesome feat as Crews’ progressive surfing set the bar in each of his heats, pushing the score set higher and challenging his match-ups to go bigger with more power. But ultimately it was Muniz who would claim The Open title in front of the massive crowd in Huntington Beach.
“I’m so happy, I can’t believe it,” Muniz said. “Today marks the four-year anniversary of my grandfather’s passing and I’d like to dedicate this win to him. This is the biggest win of my career and it’s the biggest crowd I’ve ever surfed in front of. I was putting everything in to this event and the work paid off. I think I surfed smart all week and it’s been amazing.” The win in Huntington moves Muniz up in the world rankings from No. 24 to No. 15.
“Congratulations to Alejo,” said runner-up Andino, who took down Bede Durbidge in the semifinals. “He surfed amazing all week. It would have been nice to win, but I just couldn’t find a second wave and I’m happy that I made the final.”11-times ASP World Champion Kelly Slater fell early in the contest to Michael Bourez in Round 24. Neither US Open title defender, Julian Wilson or Lakey Peterson made it through to the quarterfinals this year.
For the women’s event it was Carissa Moore who would take The Open title and move to the world No. 1 spot, bumping Tyler Wright to No. 2. Moore defeated local surfer Courtney Conlogue in the finals with a strong two wave total of 8.17 and 7.83. Conlogue caught two waves in the last five minutes of the heat but could not find the scores to secure the win.
“To be honest I’m a little shocked right now because I thought Courtney (Conlogue) won when the crowd erupted on that last wave,” Moore said. “I was definitely nervous at the end of that heat. It’s such an honor to win this event in front of this big crowd. I feel amazing!”
Conlogue was on fire throughout her heats in front of a hometown crowd at The Open. She took out Wright in the semifinals and now sits third in world rankings with two events left on the ASP Women’s WCT Tour this year. This will be Moore’s third ASP win of the 2013 season and the first event for the Women’s WCT Tour since May, after Roxy Pro Biarritz was postponed due to lack of waves.
“It was definitely an amazing heat and Carissa (Moore), she’s been surfing really well,” Conlogue said. “With everyone screaming and the crowd on the pier I definitely wanted to win. I was trying to be progressive and surfing the best that I could.”
The world’s largest surfing competition is over, but not without a fight. The Open drew some unwanted attention as the eight-day festival ended with a riot on Main St. across from the Huntington Beach Pier as police tried to disperse the crowd. Property was damaged, including the storefront of EasyRider Bike & Skate Shop.
The Men’s World Championship Tour heads to Teahupoo for the Billabong Pro while the Women’s WCT heads back to France with hope of better waves in Biarritz.
VANS US OPEN OF SURFING MEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Alejo Muniz (BRA) 16.23
2 - Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.54
VANS US OPEN OF SURFING WOMEN’S FINAL RESULTS:
1 - Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.00
2 - Courtney Conlogue (USA) 15.27
By: Jenna Goldberg
Photo credit: ASP/ROWLAND