Women kick-off at US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach Pier. Unlike the boys this a fully blown World Tour event with much on the line.
The forecast was for a contestable but dropping swell, providing ample canvas for the completion of Round 1 and a few upsets. Heading into the rest of the week, Wednesday will see a steady decline before a pulse arrives later on Thursday and Fri, falling on Saturday, before pulsing again for Sunday, the final day in the waiting period.
Silvana Lima, who has struggled this season relegated five-time champ and storming rookie Bianca Buitendag to Round 2. “I feel really good,” Lima said. “This is my best Round 1 result and usually I have to surf in Round 2 here in Huntington. I’m happy to skip that round 2. I’ve had a tough year, but I’m feeling really good and it’s nice to have some waves. Hopefully I can keep going.”
Pauline Ado was another wielder of the upset stick, relegating defending champ Lakey Peterson and Coco Ho to Round 2. “I started off slow in that heat and the girls were paddling around me,” Ado said. “Then I got that good score. I need to get good results the rest of the year. I’ve lost in the fourth round a lot of times and it’s good to be in round three already. Hopefully I can make another heat and get some important points.”
Alana Blanchard contributed to the day of upsets, defeating current rankings leader Tyler Wright and wildcard Leila Hurst in their Round 1 battle. “Competing here is amazing and I love the support from the fans,” Blanchard said. “It makes the event that much more fun. I always want to surf my best and I try not to really think about the crowd. Coming in to this event, I’m just trying not to think about the ratings. I usually do better when I’m having fun with it all.”
While several event favourites were relegated to Round 2, half of the event’s top seeds dominated their heats, earning the day’s high scores.
Sally Fitzgibbons, event champion, dominated her heat with committed combinations on both her forehand and backhand, earning the Women’s high heat total of 16.70 out of 20.
“Really great coming back to Huntington and US Open week is always a unique experience,” Fitzgibbons said. “The heats are spread out, but our weeks are filled in with lots of other things. There are big crowds and it’s good fun. I think the more time I’ve been on tour I just draw from experience and have that confidence even when I’m not competing. I’ve been training and feel really strong.”
Carissa Moore, 2010 US Open Champion, admittedly felt out of sorts following the long break between events, but still managed to take a commanding Round 1 victory compliments of polished forehand surfing.
“I just got done surfing my first heat here and I didn’t feel that good, but it was good to just surf a heat,” Moore said. “I haven’t surfed a heat since Brazil, so it’s been about two months and I’m just happy to have the jersey on again.”
Moore, former ASP World Champion and current No. 2, knows an additional crown is well within reach, but is trying to focus on another strong heat at the Vans US Open rather than the title race.
“I’m just taking it heat-by-heat like I always do,” Moore said. “If you start over-thinking things you’ll fall to the pressure so right now I’m trying to figure out Huntington. It’s always a little tricky so I’m going to just take it day-by-day. It’d be awesome to win here again. To win in front of this crowd would be awesome, but we’ll see what happens.”
Courtney Conlogue, current No. 4 and local favourite, dominated her opening heat, capitalising on her intimate knowledge of the Huntington Beach Lineup to secure a convincing Round 1 win. The Californian is hunting a big result in the only American Women’s WCT event this season and hopes to build momentum as the rounds progress.
“Lot of support here and I love being here in my hometown,” Conlogue. “I love sleeping in my own bed and getting my coffee before. It just gives me a lot of confidence. I really want to get a good result here. I’ve got two fifths and it’d be good to replace that. I’d like to build momentum and not peak too soon and hopefully I can put on a good show for everyone.”
The boys also surfed finishing up their Round 1 heats and getting stuck into a little Round 2, full results below:
VANS US OPEN OF SURFING WOMEN’S ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.00, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 10.44, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 6.67
Heat 2: Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.46, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 10.44, Laura Enever (AUS) 9.36
Heat 3: Alana Blanchard (HAW) 12.43, Tyler Wright (AUS) 11.90, Leila Hurst (HAW) 9.54
Heat 4: Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.87, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.93, Paige Hareb (NZL) 10.43
Heat 5: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.70, Malia Manuel (HAW) 14.10, Sage Erickson (USA) 12.27
Heat 6: Pauline Ado (FRA) 15.33, Coco Ho (HAW) 10.60, Lakey Peterson (AUS) 10.27
UPCOMING WOMEN’S VANS US OPEN OF SURFING ROUND 2 MATCH UPS:
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) vs. Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Rebecca Woods (AUS)
Heat 3: Tyler Wright (AUS) vs. Leila Hurst (HAW)
Heat 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) vs. Sofia Mulanovich (PER)
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA) vs. Sage Erickson (USA)
Heat 6: Laura Enever (AUS) vs. Malia Manuel (HAW)
VANS US OPEN OF SURFING MEN’S ROUND 2 RESULTS:
Heat 1: Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.67, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 13.47, Chris Ward (USA) 10.27, Adrien Toyon (FRA) 9.86
Heat 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.27, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 12.60, Shaun Joubert (ZAF) 11.27, Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 10.40
Heat 3: Julian Wilson (AUS) 18.03, Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 12.27, Dane Reynolds (USA) 6.26, Willian Cardoso (BRA) 6.10
Heat 4: Michel Bourez (PYF) 14.04, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 13.90, Brett Simpson (USA) 12.66, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 9.50
Heat 5: Bede Durbidge (AUS) 11.30, Adrian Buchan (AUS) 10.84, Aritz Aranburu (EUK) 10.10, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 7.00
Heat 6: Kelly Slater (USA) 13.20, Vincent Duvignac (FRA) 12.50, Mitchel Coleborn (AUS) 10.83, Nathaniel Curran (USA) 9.37
VANS US OPEN OF SURFING MEN’S ROUND 1 RESULTS:
Heat 19: Marc Lacomare (FRA) 11.70, Evan Geiselman (USA) 11.74, Alain Riou (PYF) 10.87, Dillon Perillo (USA) 9.60
Heat 20: Perth Standlick (ZAF) 12.77, Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.66, Dale Staples (ZAF) 9.23, Nathan Florence (HAW) 5.37
Heat 21: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.60, Evan Geiselman (USA) 11.74, Alain Riou (PYF) 10.87, Dillon Perillo (USA) 9.60
Heat 22: Beyrick De Vries (ZAF) 14.57, Gabe Kling (USA) 11.67, Jano Belo (BRA) 8.44, Travis Logie (ZAF) 7.30
Heat 23: Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.54, Alejo Muniz (BRAZ) 13.33, Hizunome Betero (BRA) 11.27, Romain Cloitre (FRA) 9.23
Heat 24: Nat Young (USA) 13.93, Tim Reyes (USA) 13.34, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 11.06, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 10.17