– PRO JUNIORS BATTLE THROUGH ROUNDS 1 AND 2 IN HUNTINGTON BEACH
– MEN’S JUNIOR PRO TO CONTINUE WEDNESDAY, JULY 24
– MORE AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Sunday, July 24, 2016) – The 2016 Vans US Open of Surfing men’s Junior division completed Rounds 1 and 2 today in three-to-five foot (1 – 1.5 metre) waves in Huntington Beach, California. Showcasing the next generation’s progression and passion, the Juniors dominated the southside of the Huntington Beach pier to determine the Quarterfinalists of the event.
Griffin Colapinto (USA), defending Vans US Open of Surfing Junior Champion, is on track to defend his Title as he dominated both his Round 1 and Round 2 heats. Colapinto – the 17-year-old from San Clemente, California – set the bar for the Juniors by landing the highest single wave score of the day, a near-perfect 9.83, which earned him an impressive 16.50 heat score, the highest of the day. His efforts will see him advance to the Quarterfinals, along with Jacob Burke (BRB) who landed the second position of Round 2 Heat 5.
“I feel confident after winning this event last year,” Colapinto said. “The waves are similar so I think that is even better for me. I am just going to try and catch the right waves and not fall. This wave can be tricky if you are not from here, but I have been doing contests here since I was 9 years-old so I have it pretty wired. There are two or three peaks and that reform, so it is tricky but very fun.”
Round 2 Heat 3 saw Samuel Pupo (BRA) edge out the competition with a 12.77 combined score. Pupo was slow to get points on the board, but found his rhythm with a 5.77 and strong 7.00 later in the heat. Luke Gordon (USA), who claimed the second place finish, followed closely with a 10.94 heat score to dispatch Braden Jones (USA) and Marco Mignot (FRA).
“In the first minutes of that heat I was nervous because all the other guys had two scores and I didn’t,” Pupo said. “Finally I got a little wave that gave me a 5 and after that I got the next wave closer to the pier. It was hard because I did not want to do big maneuvers where I could fall, so I was trying to surf normal. I could not get a wave where I could surf one-hundred percent, but I am still excited to advance.”
The opening heat of Round 2 witnessed a close battle between Ethan Ewing (AUS), Eithan Osborne (USA), Tommy Coleman (USA) and Te Kehukehu Butler (NZL). Ewing’s opening ride earned him a 4.17 to get in the mix, but his 7.33 secured his spot in the Quarterfinals. The second place position went to Osborne after he locked in a critical 10.67 combined score. Osborne recently made the final round of the Los Cabos Open of Surf Junior event in June, taking down top seeds. Osborne will continue his hunt for a similar result here in Huntington Beach.
“I am really excited to advance just because I do not do a lot of Pro Junior events,” Osborne said. “I have a broken toe right now so I was trying not to get even more hurt but still go for it. The waves were pretty slow and I got lucky with two good waves. This is my first year doing the contest and I’ve been coming here since I was a little kid. It is super cool to actually compete.”
In one of the closest heats of the day, Nolan Rapoza (USA) and Yuji Mori (JPN) secured the first and second positions, respectively, after eliminating Crosby Colapinto (USA) and Kyuss King (AUS). All competitors were within 2.00 points of one another and fought to advance through to the Quarters. Rapoza won the heat with a 9.00 combined score, with Mori closely trailing by only 0.16 points.
“The waves were a little slow and I thought I would start off quick,” Rapoza said. “The waves were not really materializing so I stressed out and did not get as many waves I would have liked to, but I made it and it went alright. It is all about getting the best waves and so my strategy is to continue focusing on that. I love the US Open, it is wild and packed. I would love to get a good result here and I hope to keep going.”
Jake Marshall (USA) posted excellent scores in Round 2 Heat 8 and will advance to the Quarterfinals. Marshall unleashed big frontside snaps for a 13.53 combined score, followed by compatriot Ryland Rubens (USA), who finished with a 10.93. Marshall, who barely missed the cutoff for the QS Trials event after coming in second to Derek Peters (USA), came hungry into the Juniors event and has his eyes on a strong finish in Huntington Beach.
“It is good to get through these first rounds,” Marshall said. “I got second in the QS Trials this morning and I would have liked to have won that. It is still a good result, though. I am excited. You can’t really set too much of a game plan because it is a beach break, but for the next round I plan to go out there and get the best waves.My goal is to take a win in the Pro Junior event, but you never know. I am just having fun out there.”
The Vans US Open of Surfing will continue tomorrow with Stop No. 6 of 10 on the 2016 Samsung Galaxy WSL Championship Tour (CT), where the world’s best female surfers will continue their battle for the WSL World Title. The Women’s Championship Tour Trials will commence at 7:00 a.m. local time, followed by Round 1 of the men’s QS10,000 and the women’s CT event.
High Res Images from this event available for editorial use via Reuters
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Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Junior Pro Round 1 Results:
Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Junior Pro Round 2 Results: