HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Thursday, July 26, 2012) – The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Prime rated Nike US Open of Surfing is set to host nearly 30 elite ASP WCT surfers at Huntington Beach Pier as they prepare to do battle at one of surfing’s most prestigious events from July 28 to August 5.
The Nike US Open of Surfing is the sixth of nine ASP Prime events on the 2012 calendar and plays a crucial role in surfer’s qualification campaigns to join the 2013 ASP WCT.
Julian Wilson (AUS), 24, current ASP World No. 14, is used to the pressure that comes along with surfing in high-profile events, but admits the massive crowds that produce a stadium-like atmosphere in Huntington Beach add an extra dose of excitement while competing.
“Surfing in front of the crowd at the US Open makes it extra exciting,” Wilson said. “It’s the closest thing us surfers get to feeling like you’re trying to make that putt on 18 to win surrounded by crowds or hitting the winning run in a ball game, I love it! I’m just excited to get back to US Open and try to do better than I have in the past.”
Patrick Gudauskas (San Clemente, CA), 27, who is in his third year on the elite ASP WCT, has been a part of the Nike US Open of Surfing for over a decade and is hoping his veteran experience coupled with the local support will carry him to the podium this year.
“I’ve been surfing in the event since I was about 15 either in the trials or juniors and it’s one of the most iconic events in surfing,” Gudauskas said. “Being from Southern California, it’s one I’ve always wanted to win and with the huge crowd behind you and 10 years of experience, I’m hoping to do well this year.”
Gudauskas admits that tackling a draw that consists of nearly all of his ASP Top 34 compatriots and the finest pedigree of ASP Prime rated talent will call for his best effort and the San Clemente talent is excited for the challenge that lies ahead.
“This event really acts as a kickoff for the rest of the season and I looked at the draw and it’s basically a ‘CT event in a Prime, everyone is in the draw,” Gudauskas said. “I love that about the US Open and you really want to beat the best if you’re going to win. I can’t wait for it!”
Andrew Doheny (Newport Beach, CA), 19, a standout on the ASP World Junior stage and a leader of the next generation, has been awarded a wildcard into this year’s Nike US Open of Surfing and is excited for the opportunity to assert himself against the world’s best surfers.
“I’m really happy to have a wildcard in to the US Open,” Doheny said. “It’s definitely an honor. Huntington is right down the street and the waves get pretty fun this time of year so it should be a really fun contest and hopefully I can get through some heats surfing against some the best surfers in the world.”
Doheny, current No. 5 on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, also has his sights set on the ASP 4-Star Nike US Open of Surfing Pro Junior, where he knows a standout performance will be beneficial in his campaign towards qualification for the 2012 ASP World Junior Tour.
“The Junior event is also a focus of mine and I’m going to try my best in both events,” Doheny said. “I’m looking forward to it all. This Junior contest has a lot of qualifying points to get into the worlds, so it’s equally important for me to do well in it.”
Top ASP surfers including 11-time ASP World Champion and defending event champion Kelly Slater (USA), 40, Australian icons Joel Parkinson (AUS), 31, and Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, and the likes of elite ASP WCT rookies John John Florence (HAW), 19, and Gabriel Medina (BRA), 18, are just a few additional elite names in this year’s draw at the Nike US Open of Surfing.
Accompanying the men’s ASP Prime and ASP Pro Junior events will be the final stop on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour and the ASP 4-Star Nike Women’s US Open Pro Junior as well.
While the action in the water is guaranteed to provide plenty of entertainment, 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.
Nike US Open of Surfing competition will begin on Saturday, July 28, 2012. LIVE streaming will begin on Monday, July 30 via www.usopenofsurfing.com