Above: Bianca Buitendag on good form.
The Vans US Open of Surfing, Stop No. 6 on the 2015 Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Championship Tour (CT), ran through Rounds 2 and 3 in two-to-three foot surf at Huntington Beach yesterday. The field of 18 was narrowed to 12, with four surfers earning the direct advance to the Quarterfinals.
Defending event winner Tyler Wright (AUS) suffered a heavy Round 2 elimination at the hands of Alessa Quizon (HAW). An early 8.20 from Quizon put her in a strong position, leaving Jeep Leaderboard no. 5 in need of a near-perfect 9.70 as the clock ticked down. Victory today marks only the second heat win of the season for the Hawaiian and the first ever Round 2 exit for Wright in her CT career. Quizon wasn’t able to maintain her momentum into Round 3 and will look regain her winning form in Round 4. “I was watching in the first heat and the lineup looked really confusing,” said Quizon. “I knew it would be difficult and I had to rely on hunting waves. It feels really good to finally get a win again. It’s frustrating when you keep losing and you get stuck in that rhythm.”
Above: Alessa Quizon took down Tyler Wright in her heat.
“I found it really tricky out there,” said Wright. “Alessa’s wave selection was really on point. I’m definitely bummed that I didn’t get through. I definitely would have liked to put on more of a performance. At the end of the day I’m stoked for Alessa to get through. I’m happy no matter what happens. It’s all experience, and that’s what I’m here for – learning and enjoying myself.”
Lakey Peterson (USA), 2012 Vans US Open of Surfing champion, looked unstoppable in the varying conditions at Huntington Beach. Peterson defeated Sage Erickson (USA) in Round 2 before earning a direct pass into the Quarterfinals with a win over Quizon and Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in Round 3, finding critical section hits and using her experience to her advantage.
“I hate surfing against my best friend (Erickson) after she’s been surfing so well,” Peterson said. “I had to not get caught up in what she’s doing and I was just trying not focus on her so much. I have a really good board right now and you just have to search for the best waves. We were lucky, we had a lot of waves and it wasn’t too lully. Having experience here definitely helps — of course the banks change but it’s all pretty familiar in terms of getting a big turn on the outside and finish on the inside.”
Above: Big scores from Carissa Moor.e
Jeep ratings leader and two-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW) faced wildcard Chelsea Tuach (BRB) in Round 2 Heat 3. Two big scores from Moore were too much for her opponent who was left in a combination situation while the Hawaiian moved through to Round 3. Tuach was eliminated in equal 13th place but will surf again in the Women’s Pro Junior Semifinals on Saturday, August 1.
“I warmed up this morning to try and get a good feel for the lineup. Huntington is really tricky and I get nervous before every heat out here because if you don’t get the waves it can be really tough,” Moore said. “Chelsea is a really great surfer and I think she’s got an amazing future ahead of her.”
Moore’s top form continued in Round 3 where she chased down fellow Hawaiian Coco Ho (HAW) to steal the win in the dying minutes and move straight into the Quarterfinals.
“It was a tough heat,” Moore said. “We had waves in the beginning, there was a lull and I was going through a lot of different things in my head. The score took a while to come in and I’m just stoked I made it.”
Above: Malia Manuel netting a 17.17 heat total to earn a direct pass to the quarters of the Vans Us Open of Surfing.
Malia Manuel (HAW) put on an incredible performance in Round 3, taking down current Jeep Leaderboard no. 2 and Huntington Beach local Courtney Conlogue (USA) in decisive fashion. Manuel posted an excellent 9.17 and heat total of 17.17 to advance, despite the distraction of a possible interference call down the beach on Conlogue and Silvana Lima (BRA). Manuel heads directly to the Quarterfinals while Conlogue and Lima will surf again in Round 4 tomorrow.
“I was paddling back out near the pier and saw that happen and they were having some vibes out there,” Manuel said. “It could’ve easily been me. After they had that situation I knew to just stay focused on myself and hunt for waves away from them. I’m just trying to stay strong to keep up with all these girls and have a strong technique. I think style comes from technique and I’m always working on little things.”
Above: Sally Fitzgibbons, powering through despite her injury from the last event.
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), back from some time out of the water after suffering a perforated eardrum during the Fiji Women’s Pro, looked confident and comfortable, taking the win over Keely Andrew (AUS) in Round 2 and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) in Round 3 to earn her place in the Quarterfinals. “It was a tricky month off and I’ve been trying a long-term solution to dealing with perforation,” Fitzgibbons said. “I can’t hear with all the gear and it’s a little disorienting and uncomfortable but as long as I’m in the water I’m happy.”
The Vans US Open of Surfing runs from July 25 through August 2, 2015 and is webcast LIVE via WorldSurfLeague.com and VansUSOpenofSurfing.com.
Each year, the Vans US Open of Surfing features the best in the world tearing up the storied break at Huntington Beach. Along with competitions for skate and BMX and dozens of on-site sponsors, the nine-day festival features four separate surf contests, including Junior Tour contests for men and women, a high-stakes men’s Qualifying Series battle, and a women’s Championship Tour contest for the Top 17.
Women’s Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Lakey Peterson (USA) 15.07, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 11.44, Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 8.73
Heat 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.03, Coco Ho (HAW) 15.97, Johanne Defay (FRA) 15.67
Heat 3: Malia Manuel (HAW) 17.17, Courtney Conlogue (USA) 14.10, Silvana Lima (BRA) 7.34
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 15.03, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 14.86, Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) 10.57
Women’s Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.50 def. Dimity Stoyle (AUS) 9.66
Heat 2: Alessa Quizon (HAW) 14.93 def. Tyler Wright (AUS) 9.70
Heat 3: Carissa Moore (HAW) 16.44 def. Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 11.34
Heat 4: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 16.10 def. Keely Andrew (AUS)
Heat 5: Lakey Peterson (USA) 16.53 def. Sage Erickson (USA) 14.60
Heat 6: Silvana Lima (BRA) 12.80 def. Laura Enever (AUS) 12.17
Women’s Round 4 Match-Ups:
Heat 1: Alessa Quizon (HAW) vs. Johanne Defay (FRA)
Heat 2: Coco Ho (HAW) vs. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF)
Heat 3: Courtney Conlogue (USA) vs. Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW)
Heat 4: Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) vs. Silvana Lima (BRA)