Capping off a phenomenal week at the 2012 Nike U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Nike athletes Julian Wilson and Lakey Peterson made a clean sweep of the men’s and women’s titles.
“I’m over the moon,” Wilson said from atop the podium. “I got a really good start in the final and my hat goes off to Miguel (Pupo), he’s deadly. I knew he was going to be hunting those lefts the whole heat and I just tried to apply a bit of pressure on him. He got that 8.93 and was right back in the heat with plenty of time left. There weren’t that many opportunities out there but it came down to the last minute and I had to just pray there wasn’t one behind it.”
Thanks to the famed Huntington Pier and beachfront bleachers, an estimated beach crowd of over a million people over the course of the week, came down to cheer on their favorite surfers. Simply put, it’s surfing’s ultimate arena.
“There’s nowhere like it, you hear the roar of the crowd, you feel all the energy from the people on the beach, there’s a lot of pressure to do good,” explained Julian, who found himself constantly mobbed after every heat. “I reckon it’s the closest thing surfing has to a real stadium. There’s a big screen with replays on the pier and everything.”
For Lakey’s part, it was an unbelievable way to cap off a very successful rookie season on the ASP World Tour, a performance that’s sure to earn her Rookie of the Year honors at next year’s ASP banquet.
“It’s been an amazing year, I can’t even believe it right now,” she smiled from the winner’s stage. “I just tried to stay focused all week, do my thing, surf the way I know how, and to have a result like this, to finish my rookie year like this, it’s something I’ll never forget.”
It’s hard to forget the Nike U.S. Open. From the brilliantly progressive performances in the water, to skateboarding’s Coastal Carnage and street competitions. From the premiere of Kai Neville’s “Dear Suburbia,” to bands on the epic sound stage at the end of the day… it’s a week long celebration of surfing and its heros.