There was talk before the start of the U.S. Open of Surfing that 2011 could be the year of the Young Guns.
Just days before Sunday's Men's final, former World Tour veteran and first-year contest director Pat O'Connell, felt the same way. But O'Connell was quick to warn of one thing: don't overlook the veterans.
Nobody was able to overlook Kelly Slater at the Huntington Beach Pier over the weekend. Slater, at 39, showed why he is the winningest surfer in history by easily claiming his second U.S. Open title. He out-dueled 25-year-old Yadin Nicol of Australia by an overwhelming final score of 16.27 to 2.57.
It was Slater's first triumph in Surf City since he won the 1996 Men's title.
Less than an hour before Slater defeated Nicol, Sally Fitzgibbons of Australia turned back wild-card Lakey Peterson to win the Women's title. Peterson outscored the 16-year-old, 14.23 to 12.40.
Peterson, the No. 1-ranked Junior surfer in North America, made quite a name for herself during the weekend. She not only made her way into the Women's final but on Saturday, won the U.S. Open Junior Pro Women's title. The Jr. Pro Men's title was won Saturday by Filipe Toledo of Brazil.