Sunday, July 31, 2016, was a wrap for the capacity-crowd Vans US Open of Surfing with Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) claiming victory at the Huntington Beach Pier, CA.
This was Weston-Webb’s first elite Championship Tour victory by taking out Malia Manuel (HAW) in a tough Final at Huntington Beach. The win sees earned her 10,000 points and advanced her two places to 4th on the Jeep Leaderboard.
“To be honest, I had a tough week last week because I lost out in the first round of the Supergirl Pro QS event,” said Weston-Webb. “I just wanted to get my confidence back up. I knew I had a tough draw here in Huntington, especially going against Courtney (Conlogue). She is at her home court and she is so amazing out here. After beating Courtney I got a lot of confidence. I had to surf the Final against my fellow Kauian Malia (Manuel) and she has been ripping all event.”
The Final saw an all-out clash between Hawaiian chargers Weston-Webb and Manuel. Manuel kept busy to put points on the board and charged with back-to-back waves under Weston-Webb’s priority. Weston-Webb fired back with an excellent 7.33 and a 5.63 to regain control with fifteen minutes left on the clock. Manuel continued to chip away at Weston-Webb’s 12.96 combined score. A set out the back in the dying minutes of the heat gave Manuel one last opportunity, but she was not able to find the 7.79 required to close the gap and Weston-Webb took the win.
“I can only go up from here and I want to keep this roll going and hopefully win some more events in the future,” continued Weston-Webb. “I just want to thank my family, sponsors and all the fans for their support. This win is for everyone..”
Manuel’s 2nd place finish at the Vans US Open of Surfing is her best result of the 2016 season and will keep her at 8th to on the Jeep Rankings. Manuel previously dispatched Tyler Wright (AUS) and six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) to earn her first Final berth of the year.
“Being back here in the Final at Huntington Beach is very special,” Manuel said. “Eight years ago I won this event and it was a long time ago, but it is always a nice feeling to make the Final. I’ve gotten a couple of second place finishes these past couple of weeks. California is a second home for me and it is nice to come back and see everyone and all the surf fans.”
Despite being eliminated by Manuel in the Semifinals, Tyler Wright (AUS) reclaims first position on the Jeep Rankings with the 6,500 points awarded to her at this event. Wright’s 3rd place result in Huntington Beach has earned her the right to wear the coveted Jeep Rankings Jersey heading into the next event on the CT, the Swatch Women’s Pro.
Lakey Peterson (USA) was eliminated in the Semifinals by Weston-Webb. Peterson, who suffered a sidelining injury earlier this year, charged through her first event of the 2016 season to earn a 5th place result.
Weston-Webb knocked out Huntington Beach local Courtney Conlogue (USA) in the Quarterfinals. The heat saw both surfers charge for the win, but Conlogue was not able to close the narrow 0.23 point gap required to advance. Conlogue has finished in the top five at every CT event this season, with only the Fiji Pro matching her 5th place result in Huntington Beach. Today’s result will see her move from 1st to 2nd on the Jeep Leaderboard.
2016 WSL Rookie Keely Andrew (AUS) was eliminated in the Quarterfinals by Wright. Despite Andrew’s elimination from the event, the rookie put on a great performance leading up to the Quarterfinals as she knocked out top ranked surfers Johanne Defay (FRA), defending event Champion, and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW).
Alongside Weston-Webb’s massive Women’s CT win, Filipe Toledo (BRA) finished off a phenomenal run at the 2016 Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 with a second title to his name. The Brazilian showed off his signature flair over the stylish power surfing from Ethan Ewing (AUS) to take another massive win at Huntington Beach, California.
“That’s a really special moment for me now after I’ve had a really blessed week surfing against all these great guys,” Toledo said. “I’m so stoked to have two titles here in Huntington, the crowd is just amazing here and I have the best support coming from my family and friends. This is big confidence builder moving into Tahiti, although I know that’s a totally different wave, just winning a contest is such a great feeling.”
2014 Vans US Open Champion Toledo has secured two Men’s QS10,000 titles in the shadow of the Huntington Beach Pier. The Brazilian had the crowd on their feet leading up to his win at the Vans US Open of Surfing. Taking down the powerful Michel Bourez (PYF) in the Quarterfinals and hometown hero Kanoa Igarashi (USA) in an explosive Semifinal, Toledo scorched his way through the final day of competition.
“I had an amazing week and this win is for all my family, friends, and fans that support me so much,” Toledo added after his celebration. “Competing against Ethan (Ewing) in that final was so crazy, he absolutely rips and know he’s poised with for a big year with his Ballito result and this runner-up. This wave is one that I’m super comfortable in, growing up on beach breaks like this my whole life and now living down the road it just feels like home to me.”
Ethan Ewing (AUS) has made himself a household name this year and just elevated himself to the next level with an incredible run at the Vans US Open into a runner-up position. The Australian junior talent took down two CT competitors on the final day of competition, topping rookie Ryan Callinan (AUS) and defending WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA).
“Coming into this event I felt comfortable competing against some of these older guys and I was expecting to maybe make two or three heats, but to make it to the final I’m blown away,” Ewing said. “After losing out in the Pro Juniors it definitely got me more focused into the main event. When people always ask about the points or how much money I’ll make, I can get caught up in that but I’ve been staying with good people who kept me really grounded. This is the biggest achievement of my career so far and I’m just so happy.”
The next stop on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour will be the Billabong Pro Tahiti, which will see the world’s best male surfers resume this season’s title race from August 19 – 30, 2016.