Usual Suspects Firing in Round 1 of Honda US Open
Round 1 of the Honda U.S. Open of Surfing presented by O'Neill has kicked off with improved 1-metre waves on offer at Huntington Beach Pier.
As the biggest Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Qualifying Series (WQS) event in North America, the 6-Star U.S. Open boasts one of the most competitive draws in the region, and the Day 1 action saw regular standouts performing at levels above the fold.
Micah Byrne (Huntington Beach, CA), who won the last ASP WQS event in Huntington Beach last March, continued to prove why he is the man to beat at the venue, racking up an impressive 17.43 out of a possible 20 for the highest heat total of the day.
"I think the local advantage and little bit of luck went a long way out there today," Byrne said. "The rest of the guys in the heat were sitting on the inside and I took my chances on the outside and just got lucky to get a good set wave. That put me in a good cycle of getting waves and I just went from there."
Mike Losness (San Clemente, CA), who finished 3rd at last year's US Open, picked up right where he left off, posting a convincing win in his Round 1 heat. The progressive goofy-footer took to the increased swell, punting sizeable airs and blending exciting turns with aplomb.
"I was stoked to see there were more waves today than there were over the weekend," Losness said. "It seems like that South swell is filling in so hopefully it increases as the week moves on. I just went out there trying to have fun and it paid off. There was a little bit of pressure on me as I wanted to finish well again after last year's performance. Now that I'm through the first heat, the pressure is off a little bit. I'm looking forward to the rest of the event."
Peter Devries (Tofino, CAN), one of the eight trialists who received entry into the main event, remained consistent today with a win in his Round 1 heat. The powerful natural-footer surfed with speed unmatched as he unloaded an impressive arsenal of maneuvers in the punchy beachbreak.
"It definitely feels good to get through that first heat," Devries said. "I want to try to keep the ball rolling. I think it's good to surf the trials and get that momentum up. I certainly feel more comfortable out there."
Devries was joined by fellow trialists Greg Cordeiro (Santa Catarina, BRA), Sean Marceron (San Diego, CA), Josh Fuller (Gold Coast, AUS North Shore, HAW) and Granger Larsen (Lahaina, HI) in advancing through to Round 2 of the Honda U.S. Open, a result that he hopes will pay dividends in the future.
"I'm going to be focusing on the bigger North American WQS events this year," Devries said. "It would be great to get a good result here at the U.S. Open as it would really help my seed in the years to come."