Yesterday a friend of mine who happens to live in Huntington Beach was cycling home from work when she was pelted with eggs by a bunch of guys driving an SUV. What the heck! Who does that!? Anyway, when the US Open of Surfing comes to Huntington Beach it brings along with it a large dose of hooliganism. Who can forget the complete pandemonium that broke out after the 2013 US Open of Surfing final (Kolohe vs Alejo Muniz); a full riot! A fight broke out on Main Street that eventually led to rioters flipping a row of portable toilets and using street signs as battering rams to shatter storefront windows. Mayhem! Sounds like a ‘service delivery’ protest inspired by wayward youth and alcohol as opposed to people asking for houses and running water.
Anyhow, we’ve really managed to start this article on a bad note, but don’t worry we’re about to bring this thing right back round. The Vans US Open of Surfing is one of the most important events on surfing’s calendar, here are some things to consider.
Kanoa Might Get a Three-peat
Now for those who don’t know, Kanoa Igarashi, the American surfer who parades beneath the Japanese flag, has won the last two US Open of Surfing. He knows the wave (Huntington Beach) like the back of his hand because he’s grown up there and not actually Japan. Kanoa sits on the verge of obtaining a three-peat at the US Open of Surfing, the only person to have done that in the contests illustrious history. So we’re raising the question who can stop this man?! Can someone put an end to Kanoa’s reign at Huntington Beach? Will someone rise from the ashes to defeat a spindly Goliath? All we can do is pray and hope.
Hoards of South Africans
Ahhh isn’t absolutely delightful to see so many South Africans in a QS 10 000. A couple of years ago we only had 2 or 3 surfers competing at the US Open, this year South Africa is exporting 8 surfers to the West Coast of America, two of which of have done fairly well at the event previously: Mikey February and Beyrick De Vries. As far as we know this is the first time Slade Prestwich and Adin Masencamp will be competing at the Vans US Open of Surfing and we wish them luck. Slade is fresh off his first QS victory, the Vic Bay Classic and it went down in epic conditions. Slade took out a field of South Africa’s best at pumping Victoria Bay and onto his first-ever QS victory. Well done Slade! On a side note, how good is Vic Bay as a QS event site? Probably one of the best venues on planet earth. Someone get a major sponsor behind this event and up the rating baby!
The other (new) South African to take on the US Open of Surfing is the mighty Adin Masencamp. Now Adin is one determined ass human. And he’s grown up in Strand, which isn’t exactly a surf tourist destination. In fact, it’s probably somewhere you’d cross out on the surf map because the waves suck so badly. But before Strand locals get offended and raise their pitchforks in the direction of Koelbaai courtesy of this piece of writing right here, just think about how Strand has created an excellent small wave wizard in the form of Aden Masencamp.
The only woman from South Africa competing at the US Open of Surfing is the wonderful Bianca Buitendag. Now we love Bianca, as do all South Africans, but where are our other Saffa ladies? Bianca can’t be the only one! We want more! And we need more ladies competing at this level! We’re calling to all our ladies to step it up and get competing on this level.
It’s a Groveller’s Paradise
Huntington Beach is a groveller’s paradise. We’ve heard rumours of the wave getting good during the event, but damn, we’ve never hit play on the WSL broadcast to delight in firing surf at the famed but ball-less beach break. Usually, it’s 15-minute waits between sets and when the sets do eventually arrive from the deepest North Pacific Ocean, they’re nothing to write home about. Don’t put pen to paper baby, you’ll have nothing to say. But you don’t need firing waves to witness outlandish performances. In fact, when you put (certain) people’s backs up against the wall and provide them with a limited opportunity it can bring out the animal in them! Last year Seth Moniz landed a crazy inverted backhand rotation as his heat counted down to make it through his round 5 heat. And if you look back on his 2018 QS season, landing that air and making that heat was one of the key factors in him qualifying for the 2019 CT season. His back against the ropes, Seth swung, rotated, landed – a knockout blow and made the heat. That’s what we came here to see!
Who’s in striking distance of the CT
If you’re serious about qualifying for the Championship Tour, the Vans US Open of Surfing is a good place to make your move. Now don’t get us wrong here, if you don’t do well at Huntington Beach, there’s still four more QS10 000 you can gain some much-needed points, but if you can do the Huntington-Hop best you get hopping baby. After the Vans US Open of Surfing, you really get a good idea of who could realistically make the CT. It’s also important that nobody counts themselves out, even if you suck at surfing small waves! Remember that time Willian Cardoso did well at Huntington Beach! I mean he pretty much weighs 150kg and can (barely) do an air. That should serve as a bright shining light to all heavy hitters that we can all do the Huntington Hop if we really try.