Peterson through, Curren in action

HUNTINGTON BEACH  — Judging by the sheer size of the event set-up for this year’s U.S. Open of Surfing, this week’s contest in Huntington Beach is a very big deal. Billed as the largest professional surf contest in the world, it is backed up by the sport’s largest prize purse.

Tom Curren

Tom Curren on Tuesday competing at the U.S. Open of Surfing. (Presidio Sports Photos)

There’s a record $60,000 up for grabs in the Women’s Open competition, which started with 12 of the top 16 female surfers in the world in the 60-person draw. After Tuesday only eight remain, among them Santa Barbara’s Lakey Peterson.

Former World Champion Tom Curren also competed on Tuesday as a wild-card entry in the Men’s Open, taking on Cory Lopez, Torrey Meister and Miguel Pupo in the first round. The 46-year-old scored a quality 6.33 ride early but couldn’t follow it up with anything else substantial, finishing fourth place in the heat.

“I know the break pretty well and even with the new surfing and stuff, I still have a chance out here (because of wave selection),” Curren said. “Anyway, it didn’t work out but that’s ok.”

Evan Geiselman, Lakey Peterson, Laura Enever(L to R) take time for an autograph session in the Nike 6.0 tent.

COMPLETE RESULTS

Peterson also struggled, but did enough to get through. Carissa Moore won the heat, with Peterson edging South African Chantelle Rautenbach 5.73 to 5.27 for second.

“That was an ugly heat but I’ll take it,” Peterson said. “I got lucky but I feel really good and I’m just really excited to make quarterfinals.”

Peterson will face Australia’s Tyler Wright in Friday’s two-person quarterfinal.

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