2011 Nike US Open of Surfing: Slater And Fitzgibbons Victorious

Kelly Slater and Sally Fitzgibbons slayed their competition at the 2011 Nike US Open of Surfing by mastering the waves and pulling off some of the best feats the event has ever witnessed.

Kelly Slater.  Photo: ASP/RowlandReigning 10-Time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater is the winner of 2011 ASP Nike US Open of Surfing for the first time since 1996, defeating Yadin Nicol at the iconic Huntington Beach Pier.

Kelly Slater quickly asserted his dominance in the Final against Nicol when he launched a frontside air-reverse to earn an 8.50 and backed the ride up with a 7.77. 

“I guess Yadin (Nicol) wanted me to win because he didn’t catch any waves,” said Kelly Slater. “I was just really frustrated for him because he was sitting out the back waiting for the big sets and the big sets were close outs.”

On the final day of competition, Kelly Slater fought his way back and overtook Hawaiian Dusty Payne by launching a hail-mary, no-grab backside 360 air.

The massive punt garnered the highest single-wave score of Nike US Open of Surfing competition, 9.77 out of 10, as well as the highest heat-total of 17.94 out of 20.

Nicol fought hard throughout the entirety of the ASP PRIME competition, taking out dangerous South African Royden Bryson and prodigious Californian Kolohe Andino on the Final day of competition, but struggled to find a wave in the Final against Slater.

“Kelly started off strong with the 8.5 and I thought I’d wait for a good wave and I think I waited too long,” Nicol said. “At the start of this week I wouldn’t have thought that I’d be in the Final with Kelly. I love it. Sometimes things work out and you make the Final and I’m stoked, I’m over the moon.”

Yadin, who was rated No. 36 entering the US Open of Surfing, now sits at 27th on the ASP World Rankings, moving him inside the coveted ASP Top 32 midyear cut for the halfway mark of the year, but with two events remaining on the ASP World Title Season, Nicol remained guarded in claiming his spot for the final elite events.

Sally Fitzgibbons also celebrated a victory at the final stop of the 2011 ASP Women’s World Title series after she topped dangerous wildcard Lakey Peterson in a hard-fought battle.

Fitzgibbons, who finished second on the ASP Women’s World Title Series, was strong on both her forehand and backhand and fought off the determined wildcard to clinch her third elite event on to finish her 2011 season.

Wildcard Lakey Peterson was not an easy defeat and Sally Fitzgibbons commented on the future of women’s surfing with such progressive up-and-comers.

“Today was just about connecting the dots and stepping it up,” Fitzgibbons said. “I think the future is bright for our sport. Lakey (Peterson) is only 16 and she was in both finals in this event it was a great week for her, but to get the win was an amazing way to cap off the year.”

Peterson proved to be a giant killer throughout the Women’s Nike US Open of Surfing, taking wins over veteran Melanie Bartels, Tyler Wright, Courtney Conlogue, Laura Enever, and even freshly crowned ASP Women’s World Champion Carissa Moore.

Peterson, who won the ASP 4-Star Nike US Open of Surfing Pro Junior yesterday, asserted herself as a frontrunner among the progressive movement of women’s surfing via dominant run at the Nike US Open of Surfing.

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