U.S. Open of Surfing: Kelly Slater, Sally Fitzgibbons win men's and women's titles
In an anticlimactic final, 10-time world champion Kelly Slater cruised past Australian Yadin Nicol to win the Nike U.S Open of Surfing men's final Sunday afternoon in Huntington Beach.
Slater burst out of the gate with big air on his first wave that led to a huge opening score of 8.5. He was never really challenged by Nicol, who didn’t surf a wave for 31 minutes of the 35-minute contest. Nicol had waited for a good set for the first part of the final, but when Slater built a big lead, he was forced to continue to wait for a perfect wave that never came. Slater finished with a two-ride score of 16.27 to Nicol’s 2.57.
"When you come to a contest you want to win, you put in your best effort," the 39-year-old Slater said. "The depth in surfing is great, and that inspires me all the time."
On the women’s side, world No. 2-ranked Sally Fitzgibbons blew past junior champion Lakey Peterson in final. Fitzgibbons was consistent with runs of 7.5 and 6.73 that gave her more than enough points to best Peterson.
The teenager from Santa Barbara on the other hand was tentative, waiting until about halfway through the final to take her second wave. But for all that patience, she was unable to capitalize with a big score. She splashed into the water after trying to get air on her third wave, and never posted a score higher than 6.27.
Photo: Kelly Slater is carried through the crowd by fans after winning the men's final at the U.S. Open of Surfing on Sunday in Huntington Beach. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times