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Cory Lopez & Kekao Bacalso take the finals at US Open

Mens Podium : photo Bob Ghysels/

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Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing

Presented by O´Neill

ASP 6 star Mens WQS event

ASP 6 star Womens WQS event

ASP Longboard tour WQS event

ASP Grade 2 Junior Pro

Huntington Beach, Calif

26 July - 3 August 2003

Cory Lopez wins WQS and Kekao Bacalso wins Pro Junior

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. – Sunday, August 3, 2003 – Florida’s Cory Lopez, known throughout the surfing world as the conqueror of Teahupoo (a dangerous Tahitian wave), added the world’s largest professional surfing competition to his trophy case. In front of a world record crowd of 85,000 spectators pounding 10,000 O’Neill-branded “thunder sticks”, Lopez won the $125,000 Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing Presented by O’Neill at the Huntington Beach Pier. Australia’s Taj Burrow finished in second place while Hawaiian Kekoa Bacalso became a repeat winner in the $10,000 Lost Pro Junior.

Lopez was on fire early in the 30 minute final that also featured reigning world champion Andy Irons and Santa Barbara upstart Bobby Martinez. Cory set the pace with a blistering 8.83 wave that featured a huge floater over an eight-foot wall of Pacific Ocean, followed by two vertical snaps. Lopez then reversed directions with two more “off-the-tops” near the shoreline.

Irons, who had defeated Lopez in the semi-finals, tried to fight back with a display of huge, crowd-pleasing maneuvers. Showing no fear, “AI” dropped into one set wave after another, showcasing elevator-like drops off the face of 6-8 foot waves, but not generating the necessary scores. Burrow also gave a valiant effort going right on his forehand, launching into a huge floater and worked down the line with speed and grace, but notched only a 7.17.

Cory Lopez : photo Bob Ghysels/

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Lopez then upped the ante by making something out of nothing. Taking off on a smaller, inside wave, he was able to generate several impressive moves in route to a 7.23. Now sensing an imminent kill, he took charge of his own destiny with an incredible speed carve to a bottom turn and picked up speed heading toward the pier. He then fearlessly shot through the concrete pilings and had three more big hits on the north side of the pier. The judges awarded a 7.77 and the battle was now for second place. Lopez, with 16.60 points, not only captured the prestigious U.S. Open title, but a $15,000 first place check. Burrow finished with 15.17 points followed by Irons with 10.94 and Martinez with 7.83.

“I knew that I had to go out there and sit on Taj,” said Lopez. “The waves cooperated for me and they lined up really nice. From the quarter-finals on the competition was top-notch. Referring to the unprecedented crowd, “It’s the most people I’ve ever seen for a final. We surf all over the world with small crowds and it felt great to have all the people react to big moves.”

“I fell on a lot of my waves,” said Irons. “It was all out in the final and Cory just nailed it today. My hat’s off to him. The crowd here is so ampted. It definitely pumps you up.”

For the second straight year, Bacalso captured the Lost Pro Junior title. The event showcases the world’s top 19 and under surfers and is considered a stepping-stone to the World Tour. Bacalso finished with 14.77 points followed by fellow Hawaiians Dustin Cuizon with 13.30 points and Sea Moody with 11.83 points. Carlsbad’s Dane Johnson wound up in fourth place with 8.84 points.

Taj Burrow : photo Bob Ghysels/

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On Saturday, Australian Chelsea Georgeson captured her first major World Qualifying Series (WQS) victory in the United States by winning the $30,000 Honda Element U.S. Open of Women Presented by O’Neill. Georgeson, one of the stars of Boarding House: North Shore, finished ahead of two-time defending champion Pauline Menczer (Australia) to pocket $6,000. Imperial Beach’s Taylor Jensen captured the $10,000 O’Neill U.S. Open of Longboarding with a narrow victory over San Clemente’s Colin McPhillips.

Notable: Eleven countries were represented throughout the nine days of competition. The final day began with 12 Australians, 11 mainlanders, five Brazilians and four Hawaiians. Machado surfed the most rounds of any competitor (10). The 300,000 combined spectators throughout Philips Fusion broke all previous attendance records while Saturday (70,000) and Sunday’s (85,000) set individual records.

Virtually all hotels within five miles in any direction, including the Waterfront Hilton and Hyatt Regency, were sold-out for the past several days. Huntington Surf & Sport and Jack’s Surfboards reported record sales. Most “feature” interviews (TV, newspaper and radio) by a competitor: Holly Beck with nearly three dozen. Best wave score by a man, Raoni Montiero of Brazil with a 10.00. Best wave score by a woman, Chelsea Georgeson of Australia with a 9.60. Japan had its largest representation with 18 competitors.

Andy Irons : photo Bob Ghysels/

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Here are the complete event results;-

Final Results


1st -Cory Lopez (USA) - 16.60 pts.

2nd -Taj Burrow (Aus) - 15.17 pts.

3rd - Andy Irons (Haw) - 10.94 pts.

4th - Bobby Martinez (USA) - 7.83 pts.


1st -Chelsea Georgeson (Aus)-17.00 pts.

2nd -Pauline Mnczer (Aus)-13.67 pts.

3rd -Jaqueline Silva (Brz)-8.33 pts.

4th -Julia Christian (USA)-5.50 pts.

Pro Junior

1st -Kekoa Bacalso (Haw)-14.77 pts.

2nd -Dustin Cuizon (Haw)-13.30 pts.

3rd -Sean Moody (Haw)-11.83 pts.

4th -Dane Johnson (USA)-8.84 pts.


1st -Taylor Jensen 20.70 pts.

2nd -Colin McPhillips 19.63 pts.

3rd -Pete Johnson 15.20 pts.

4th -Dodger Kremel 15.17 pts.

Kekao Bacalso : photo Bob Ghysels/

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The Honda Element U.S. Open of Surfing anchors Philips Fusion, America´s original and largest oceanfront event of its kind. The $225,000 action sports, technology and music festival, sponsored by Philips Electronics, attracts more than 600 world-class athletes from across the globe and features surfing, skateboarding and BMX in innovative venues along with an interactive electronics festival area and live concerts.

A full photo gallery from is available here

Official results: -

Heats & results US Open Mens WQS 6 star ASP event

Heats & results US Open Womens WQS 6 star ASP event

Heats & results US Open WQS Longboard ASP event

Heats & results Lost Pro Junior Grade 2 ASP event

Kelly Slater/Expression Session : photo Bob Ghysels/

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: photo Bob Ghysels/

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: photo Bob Ghysels/

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: photo Bob Ghysels/

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: photo Bob Ghysels/

Click for gallery/to enlarge

: photo Bob Ghysels/

Click for gallery/to enlarge

: photo Bob Ghysels/

Click for gallery/to enlarge

: photo Bob Ghysels/

Click for gallery/to enlarge

: photo Bob Ghysels/

Click for gallery/to enlarge

: photo Bob Ghysels/

Click for gallery/to enlarge

Previous reports:-

# 1 : O´Neill announces sponsoring 2003 US Open of Surfing

# 2 : Philips Fusion largest US Ocean-Front Sports Festival

# 3 : Honda Element US Open of Surfing presented by O´Neill

# 4 : North America´s original action sports event on July 28

# 5 : U.S. Open of Surfing boasts the worlds largest pro field

# 6 : US Open kicks off with Longboard & Pro Junior events

# 7 : Machado shines as Mens event commences at US Open

# 8 : Machado continues his heat winning charge at US Open

# 9 : Old guard and new young guns advance at US Open

# 10 : Kohdr/Simmons shine at US Open, Machado squeeks by

# 11 : Beschen survives whilst Irons/Flintoff dazzle at US Open

# 12 : Monteiro stands out as Irons/top surfers enter US Open

# 13 : Chelsea Georgeson and Taylor Jensen win at US Open

More US & Hawaii surfing news available here

Check the latest West Coast Surf Reports and Forcasts

Mike Kingsbury


Cherie Garcia

(714) 375-2188

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