PHOTO: Erickson © WSL / Morris
Sage Erickson (USA) claimed victory today at the Vans US Open of Surfing in two-to-four foot (0.5 – 1 metre) waves on the southside of the Huntington Beach Pier. A capacity crowd witnessed Erickson clinch the win at Stop No. 6 of 10 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).
Erickson claimed her first Championship Tour victory today after defeating 2016 event winner Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) in an intense Final. The 26-year-old will now vault from 9th to 6th on the Jeep Leaderboard, just 1,450 points behind World No. 5 Johanne Defay (FRA). The 10,000-point gain significantly strengthens the Californian’s 2017 World Title campaign heading into the Swatch Women’s Pro, Stop No. 7 on the Women’s CT.
“I feel like I’ve been working really hard for a moment like this,” said Erickson. “Something felt really special about this event. I was really comfortable and just aiming high. I can’t believe I’m here. I’m not World Champ, it’s just the US Open, but it still feels like that so I’m going to celebrate it like I am. I can’t be more proud to be from a place like America — you can feel the energy and all the support from all the people on the beach. It’s just amazing to bring my first win home in California and to do it in a place like Huntington couldn’t be more of a surreal situation.”
PHOTO: Weston-Webb © WSL / Morris
In their fifth head-to-head match-up, today’s Final saw Erickson claim her second win over Weston-Webb to earn the event title. Weston-Webb held an early lead through to the halfway mark with multiple attempts in the beachbreak conditions. Erickson stayed patient, with only one wave ridden at the halfway mark, but maximized on a second opportunity to take the first position away from Weston-Webb. Determined for a second event win, Weston-Webb battled back to earn a 0.36-point lead with less than ten minutes to go. Under pressure, Erickson had the Huntington Beach crowd to their feet as she meet the 4.63 requirement with a 6.67 for the win.
Today’s runner-up result marks Weston-Webb’s second of 2017. The 26 year-old is heating up this season with back-to-back event Finals with her finish in Huntington and at the OK Fiji Women’s Pro. Weston-Webb will move up two spots to 8th on the Jeep Rankings, just one place higher than three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW).
“I had the best wave to start and I just blew it so hard,” continued Erickson. “I just told myself, ‘it’s okay, don’t worry.’ Then I bogged another wave and just thought that now I really have to get it together and luckily there were some waves out there. I got that last wave and I don’t know exactly what I got, but this feels like a dream. I’m in complete disbelief and can’t thank everyone enough.”
“Two Finals in a row, wow, I can’t thank God enough for putting me in this position and of course my support crew. Everyone here was second-to-none,” Weston-Webb said. “My surfboards have been amazing under my feet and my sponsors have just been incredible, and I love them all so much.”
PHOTO: Weston-Webb © WSL / Morris
En route to her maiden CT Finals appearance, Erickson took out 2017 World Title contenders Courtney Conlogue (USA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Moore.
The second Semifinal saw a close battle between the California natives. Conlogue got an early lead with a 5.23, but Erickson came charging back with a 7.50 for control. Conlogue regained first position with a 6.23, but again, Erickson fired back with another big score to put the pressure on Conlogue. Needing a 7.11, the Huntington Beach local fell just 1.87 points short and was eliminated from the event.
Conlogue is off to a great start this year with two CT wins at Bells and Fiji. Conlogue’s third place result will move her up to 3rd place on the Jeep Leaderboard and one step closer to wearing the yellow Jeep Leader Jersey.
Weston-Webb dispatched Coco Ho (HAW) in the first Semifinal match-up. Ho will exit Huntington Beach with a 3rd place finish, her first Semifinal berth and best result this season. Ho will jump from 12th to 11th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
PHOTO: Courtney © WSL / Morris
Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s CT Final Results:
1 – Sage Erickson (USA) 11.84
2 – Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 9.80
Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s CT Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 11.10 def. Coco Ho (HAW) 7.34
SF 2: Sage Erickson (USA) 13.33 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 11.46
2017 WSL Women’s Jeep Leaderboard
(After Vans US Open of Surfing):
1 – Tyler Wright (AUS) 41,400 pts
2 – Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 39,900 pts
3 – Courtney Conlogue (USA) 38,300 pts
4 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 34,750 pts
5 – Johanne Defay (FRA) 33,400 pts