HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Friday, July 26, 2013) - The ASP Prime Vans US Open of Surfing hosted the Round of 24 in peaky two-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at Huntington Beach Pier, deciding the Round of 16 compliments of some intense battles from the world's best surfers.
Michel Bourez (PYF), 27, continued his tear at the Vans US Open of surfing, trumping 11-times ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 41, with patented power surfing and progressive above-the-lip maneuvers. Slater would put in a valiant effort in the dying seconds of the match in an attempt to surpass the Tahitian, but would fall shy of the score required, securing Bourez's position in the Round of 16.
"I knew he was going to try to put a show on and do some big airs," Bourez said. "I saw him trying to look for the rights and my goal was to catch a few lefts first. Then I got that right and tried that air, so that was the good one for me. I saw Kelly from behind on that last wave and he did five or six turns and the wave was really tiny. I heard the crowd cheer and thought maybe I made a mistake."
Julian Wilson (AUS), 24, defending US Open Champion, moved one step closer to taking back-to-back wins at Huntington Beach Pier, topping Brazilian darkhorse Alex Ribeiro, 21, with the day's high single-wave score of 9.10 for a ferocious backhand attack on a steep left-hander
"Surfing against a guy like Alex is always dangerous because he didn't have much to lose," Wilson said. "I was able to do a few backside turns put scores on the board and push him enough to fall on those backside airs. He came close on one and it could have turned the heat, but it was nice to build some momentum after a close loss yesterday. Today is a little bigger with some corners and the conditions are fun."
Jadson Andre (BRA), 23, current No. 25 on the ASP World ranking and past WCT surfer, put in a banner performance with massive frontside airs on the lefthand ramps breaking in to Huntington Beach Pier, securing his victory over recently injured ASP WCT rookie Sebastian Zietz (HAW), 25.
"I just feel bad for Seabass (Sebastian Zietz) because he wasn't 100 percent," Andre said. "I'm still stoked to win the heat and it was a really important round for me. I'm feeling healthy and I hope I can keep going. I knew that was going to be a really tough heat and that's why I tried to catch waves as fast I could so I didn't give him too much opportunity. I have Adriano (de Souza) next and I know he's going to be a tough competitor."
Hodei Collazo (EUK) 29, current No. 127 on the ASP World Ranking, was responsible for a big upset today, eliminating veteran campaigner C.J. Hobgood (USA), 34, in their Round of 24 clash with last minute heroics.
"That was really close," Collazo said. "C.J. started with a 6.6 and a 5.5 and I tried to be patient and wait for the best waves. Luckily I had priority at the end and I was able to get the score. I tried to push hard on my turns and I knew it was going to be close."
"I definitely favor my backhand and the rights are better today," Young said. "They are bowly and are bending towards the beach. I wanted to get scores on the board on my backhand and then I was able to just surf and have fun."
The completion of the ASP Women's WCT Round 4 would immediately follow Men's ASP Prime action, setting up Vans US Open of Surfing Quarterfinals match-ups.
Laura Enever (AUS), 21, issued the round's biggest upset, taking down reigning five-time ASP World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 25. Enever's Quarterfinals berth matches her best result of the season and the Australian will face off against local favorite Courtney Conlogue (USA), 20, in Quarterfinal No. 1 tomorrow.
"It's always good to win and I'm stoked to make it to quarters," Enever said. "Steph's amazing and she only needed a 6.5 at the end. I've had some sketchy heats this year and I'm happy to get a little roll going. I want to make the top 10 and this will help me. I've got Courtney (Conlogue) in the next round and she's a local here so I know it's going to be a tough heat."
"Lakey is a fighter and I have a lot of respect for her," Moore said. "She surfs so well in beachbreaks and goes for it and she's not someone I wanted to draw in Round 4. I didn't feel like I surfed my best, but was able to squeak by and got lucky. I'm happy to get through that one."
Moore, 2011 ASP World Champion and current No. 2, is trailing Australian Tyler Wright (AUS), 19, in the race for the 2013 ASP World Title, but is attempting to take a more relaxed approach while striving for a second crown.
"I think I've got to just forget about the title race and have fun," Moore said. "That's the biggest thing right now and I think Tyler's having fun and it's part of the reason she's doing so well. It will come down to who doesn't overthink things and that's when things come in to place."
"Alana (Blanchard) rips and I knew it wasn't going to be an easy heat," Ado said. "This is my first Quarterfinals at the US Open and I'm pretty happy. I think I'm going to be against Sally (Fitzgibbons) and it's going to be tough to beat. I'm just going to do my best."
Tomorrow's Vans US Open of Surfing schedule will see Men's Round 5, Women's Quarterfinals and ASP Pro Junior Finals. Watch the action LIVE via http://www.usopenofsurfing.com/surf/