Van’s US Open of Surfing is of one Southern California’s favorite summertime events. With something for everyone, the event draws the best competitors in the world in the arenas of surfing, skating and BMX. This year’s competition was presented by Swatch and once again fans and beach-goers from up and down the coast of the Golden State decked the iconic Huntington Beach pier.
While every year has its excitement and drama, incredible maneuvers and crazy turns of events, this was a particularly special final day for local fans as they celebrated two of Huntington Beach’s very own, Courtney Conlogue and Kanoa Igarashi, as they swept the Women’s and Mens’ titles, respectively.
For Conlogue, this was a monumental win. Back from injury with a victory over World No. 1 Stephanie Gilmore, she proved she is on her A-game just in time for the final three competitions of the Women’s Championships Tour. “It’s so great performing in front of my hometown,” she commented. “We spend so much time traveling during the season, and when you get your hometown vibe, there’s nothing like it. You just absorb all that energy and use it as fuel for your fire.”
This win marks her second hometown win, having won the tourney nearly a decade ago, in 2009. “The win in 2009 was quite amazing for that time in my life, and now this one has its own special meaning for me . . . Both of these wins here have been amazing and unforgettable,” she said, reveling in her victory. “Coming back from injury, it’s the first event I’ve felt 100 percent. “
Kanoa Igarashi had equal reason to celebrate, also winning his second US Open of Surfing Championship in Huntington Beach – only his win comes as repeat performance as last year’s reigning champion. With his victory today, he is the first surfer to win consecutive Men’s Opens Championships since Brett Simpson – also a Huntington Beach native – in 2009 and 2010.
In fact, Igarashi cited Simpson as an inspiration throughout the tournament, using his back-to-back wins as motivation to drive his own performance. It came down to the final heat when he faced Griffin Colapinto.
“That was the best heat I’ve ever had,” said Igarashi. “On that last wave, I don’t know, I felt like something just took over me and whatever I was going to do on that wave I was going to land it. When I stood up on that wave I knew I already had the score.”
“The whole contest I was just thinking about this final heat . . . I paced myself the whole time and let it all out at the end. It was a really hard heat, the waves were slow, but I just believed that Huntington was going to give me the waves and it did.”
For the Juniors, it was also a back-to-back repeat when the Pro Juniors were once again swept by Hawaii in both the Women’s and Mens’ events — Zoe McDougall and Barron Mamiya, respectively, took home the crowns for the Island state.
For the Junior Women, it was Hawaii vs. Hawaii in the final heat with Summer Macedo and McDougall taking control of the final heat, battling it out for the title win on US soil. They traded leads multiple times, with McDougall ultimately pulling it out in the end with a final score of 6.83 out of 10, earning her the victory over her fellow Hawaiian.
She remarked, “The atmosphere here is incredible and I couldn’t imagine a better place to take a win . . . The plan all along was to be standing here and I’m just so happy right now. I didn’t know I had that heat until the horn blew. All those girls were ripping and [to] just have Summer [Macedo] alongside me and to battle with her for the win, that was so fun. I just can’t wait to build off this, it’ll definitely be a highlight for me and hopefully, someday I’ll be on the stage for the Women’s Championship Tour.”
Mamiya’s soared into a solid position for the Men’s Junior trophy about half way through the final heat. Despite initially falling behind the eventual runner up Cole Houshmand (USA), Mamiya surged ahead at the halfway mark with a 7.73 move which earned him the first-place position – one to which he held tight straight through to the finish line. Fellow American Kade Matson and Mexican, Alan Cleland gave Mamiya a run for his money, but neither their best efforts not Housmand’s last ditch moves in the final seconds could oust the Hawaiian and Mamiya earned the Island state its second-straight US Open Men’s Pro Junior Win.
“I’m super amped to keep this event title in Hawaii after coming into it getting prepared for the QS, but to win is pretty special,” Mamiaya said after earning the title. “I’ll take this confidence moving forward. I got a good result at the beginning of this year, but I’ve just been putting too much pressure on myself thinking I have to do well that I lost sight on enjoying it. Once I lost the QS, all the pressure was off and I just put everything into my surfing so I think that shows.”
Article and Photos by Néstor Colombo