A 24-year-old Orange County surfer won top honors and a record prize of $100,000 at the 50th annual U.S. Open of Surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier.
Brett Simpson was the last man riding the waves in the Hurley-sponsored competition, which is staged in head-to-head heats.
"I just want to cry right now," Simpson told the Seal Beach Daily. "I’m so stoked, all my family is here, and I’ve never had a check this big in my life."
Australian Mick Fanning, 28, won $10,000 for second place, tournament spokeswoman Megan Weber said.
Keeping it local, Santa Ana resident Courtney Conlogue, 16, won the women's title Saturday, defeating the defending champion Malia Manuel, a 15-year-old Hawaiian, Weber said.
Conlogue, a senior at Sage Hill High in Newport Coast, earned $10,000. Manuel took in a second place prize of $2,300 and also won the junior women's event, earning an additional $2,500.
Promoters said they expected a total of about 500,000 over the course of the tournament, which saw some big waves over the past two days, thanks to a southern ocean storm. The surf was near normal today, with the biggest breakers about shoulder high.
The surfing competition began in 1959 and was shut down in the 1970s, before the surf clothier Ocean Pacific revived it in 1982.
Surfers competing in the U.S. Open are not only out to claim the prize purse, but are also hunting for the valuable ratings points towards a berth on the 2010 Association of Surfing Professional's World Tour. Since it was founded in 1994, 28 out of 30 men's and women's ASP World Titles have been captured by U.S. Open of Surfing champions.
The tournament is a key building block in the city's attempt to capitalize on its official moniker -- Surf City USA. Many of the out-of-town visitors are staying at the Shorebreak, a chic 157-room hotel with a surfing theme that opened in May.