Who Will WIN the US Open of Surfing?

World Tour Seeds Fall on Day 1 – Slater, Reynolds, Medina, and De Souza Advance in Small Conditions

It’s that time of year again when the world’s best surfers congregate at the iconic Huntington Beach Pier for the biggest surfing event in the world, the US Open of Surfing. With $100,000 and 6500 World Ranking points up for grabs, most of the top 34 World Tour surfers are entered in the event as well as the Prime and Star rated surfers from around the world.

With so many talented surfers in the event picking a winner could be tough. Here are some of the favorites that have a very strong chance at being on the podium this Sunday.

Kelly Slater – Last year’s champion, Kelly has nothing more to prove to the surfing world. At 40 years old, Kelly is consistently schooling the newest generation of aerial surfers with an impressive aerial repertoire of his own.

Can Slater go back-to-back? Odds are in his favor.

Adriano De SouzaMineirinho, as he is affectionately called, is a powerhouse in any type of conditions. With unsurpassed energy, De Souza can get 9.00’s on command and consistently pulls the highest scoring types of maneuvers. With small surf on offer, look for De Souza’s tiny stature to be a BIG advantage.

Adriano De Souza will be tough to beat if the condition are small like on Day 1. If it does pick up, Adriano is still a threat for the podium.

Yadin Nicol – Last year’s runner-up, Yadin could use this event to re-invigorate his 2012 ASP World Tour campaign. He will have to have more passion and energy to compete against the more hungry competitors in this year’s field.

Yadin Nicol routinely punted the biggest airs of the event last year, but fell short in the final against Slater. Could this be Yadin's year to shine?

Dane Reynolds – One of Dane’s only contests for the 2012 season, the US Open is a place to fulfill sponsorship obligations for the reclusive superstar. After his Round 1 heat, it’s safe to say that Dane is psyched on the event. Maybe not competing as much makes each contest appearance a bit more sweet?

Dane Reynolds is injury free and well rested after a full year off the World Tour. Look for Dane to do well this week and make it deep into the final rounds of the event.

Miguel Pupo – One of the Brazilian Contingent’s brightest stars. Pupo has the skill, stamina, and desire to win in Huntington. One of the world’s best aerialists, Pupo will take to the air in his heats and have an advantage on the small south-swell lefts. He posted the highest heat score on Day 1.

When Miguel Pupo gets on a roll he his virtually unbeatable. After posting the highest heat score in Round 1, you could say that he is definitely on a roll. Watch out!

Julian Wilson – Australia’s million-dollar baby, Wilson has had his ups and downs on tour this year. But due to sheer ability, Wilson is a favorite in this and every event. If he can keep his focus and put his uber-clean style on display for the judges then he will certainly make it to the final rounds.

Julian Wilson is always a contender at ANY event in the world. He will really be able to display his polished style if the waves pick up and offer more open face. Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times

John John Florence – The toe-headed kid from the North Shore is building quite a reputation from his inspiring performances around the world. He will have to have his heart in it if he wants to do well at a place where the waves don’t live up to his talent. If the forecasted south swell picks up, he will be on fire.

John John Florence has not had a good result in any of the California events. Look for the 2012 US Open to give John John a much needed lift in Cali conditions.

Jordy Smith – At 6’2″ and pushing 200 pounds, Jordy had a definite disadvantage in the tiny surf on offer on Day 1. Yet, because of his ability, Jordy posted some of the highest scores and advanced easily through his first heat. Extraordinary skill. If he wants it he can take it.

Out of all the surfers throughout Day 1, Jordy was arguably the most in-form surfer of the day. The big Saffa blended tail-free maneuvers with powerful turns and a smooth flow.

Brett Simpson – A former 2-time US Open winner, Simpo will always be Orange County’s hope for a win in Huntington. The local will have a tougher time than ever as he faces his foes on the World Tour as well as the new crop of young and hungry surfers from the Prime and Star series of events.

After two huge back-to-back wins at the US Open in 2009 and 2010, Simpo has nothing left to prove. A big result is needed in 2012 as his World Tour ranking has slipped a little.

Gabriel Medina – The Brazilian Wonderkid continues to impress the world after a full year in the spotlight. With a big Prime win at the Lower’s Pro a few months ago in similar size lefts, look for Gabriel to be unstoppable at the US Open. The only way to beat this kid is to not let him catch a wave.

Medina is the future. Everyone knows that. After a big win at the last Prime event in California a few months ago, Medina is sitting in a good position to make a run up the ratings in the second half of 2012. Look for big things from the 18 year old. Can he win? My sources say yes.

Check out some of the highlights of last year’s epic US Open of Surfing below:

Be sure not to miss all the action from the 2012 US Open of surfing. Finals will be this Sunday!

 

 

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