It was a lazy morning for most souls in Huntington Beach. That darned US Open has a way of creating a black hole of partying, sucking innocent people in and turning them into belligerent animals for days on end. By Sunday morning, it can be hard to recall what it’s like to wake up without a headache. But Sunday is the day for lives to crawl back on track, and it is also the day of the Finals. Waist to chest high waves welcomed the few early-risers at the pier. It was slow, gloomy and the beach was becoming exponentially more crowded. Hung over folks slowly rose from their Hilton bed tombs. And when the heats commenced at 8:00 AM, it felt like a fitting final day at the Vans US Open of Surfing.
Ever since the Roxy Pro Gold Coast in March, the Women’s WCT has been less of a tour and more of a duel. Two women with phonetically pleasing last names, Carissa Moore and Tyler Wright, have been battling back and forth in what has been a storm of horrible headlines. Tyler Is Wright at the Rio Pro! Carissa Finds Moore at Bells! In HB, both darlings made it all the way to the Semifinals. Courtney Conologue, an unofficial councilwoman for the city of Santa Ana, snuffed Tyler out in a very unhurried heat. Carissa seized the chance to get ahead by besting Pauline Ado in the semis and sending Courtney back to her council seat in the Final. And with only two events left, Carissa now leads the rankings on the Women’s WCT.
On the Men’s side, the quarterfinal draw made it seem like a world tour event. Out of the eight surfers, seven were current WT competitors. As an event on the Prime series, the US Open was pillaged by ‘CT guys there to fulfill obligations to their sponsors and to compete in the HB amphitheater . They acted as bullies, using their immaculate strategies to defeat point-hungry dudes like Mitch Coleborn who are still trying to toss their fins in the hat on the big league. The final day had been slow for the aggressors, but Kolohe Andino and Alejo Muniz are awfully patient and awfully tactical young gentlemen. Alejo got off to an early start in the Final, getting his two scores on his first two waves. He glanced back once, but all he saw was a trembling mass of flesh and body paint, and so he promised himself to never look back again. Kolohe had a run at it, but he’d never find a way to get the 8.46 that he needed. The final horn sounded, giving those recovering from days spent in the black hole one last burst of hell, and the Open was officially closed until 2014. —Brendan Buckley