The Saffas have been flying the flag high over California’s Huntington Beach, where Bianca Buitendag is through to the semi-finals in the Women’s division, Beyrick De Vries is among the last 24 in the Men’s, and Shane Sykes and Dylan Lightfoot are still set to contest their quarter-final in the Pro Junior division at the Vans US Open of Surfing.
Bianca Buitendag has blasted her way into the semi-finals of the Vans US Open of Surfing.
If Bianca Buitendag beats good friend Johanne Defay (FRA) in the semi-finals of the Women’s Vans US Open of Surfing, the Vic Bay local will have made it a hat trick of final appearances on the Dream Tour and put herself in serious contention for this year’s world title. Already she has shaken up the Jeep Leaderboard in a big way by beating ratings leader and two-time world champ, Carissa Moore (HAW), in the quarter-finals. This ensured that California’s Courtney Conlogue, who also advanced to the semi-finals and will be facing Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), has jumped to first place and earned the yellow jersey.
In the inconsistent and tricky Huntington Beach surf, Bianca’s victory over Carissa was a narrow one – 11.10pts to 10.60pts. Carissa led the match-up for most of the heat as Bianca waited for a wave that offered a little bit more. Then with just three minutes remaining, Bianca got the better of the two wave exchange and fitted in three turns to Carissa’s one on the outside for the score she needed to seal the win.
“I was keeping my cool and being patient,” Bianca said in her post-heat interview. “I’m not going to say I expected to be here, it’s pretty shocking for me and I’m stoked. The whole heat I was waiting, which was frustrating. That one popped up in the last two minutes and I was just dying to surf. I’m taking things one event at a time after a tough start to the year. I’m so blessed and I’m just going with it.”
The Huntington fans were stoked to see Bianca advance to the semi-finals.
In Round 2 of the Men’s division, Beyrick De Vries faced a tricky trio of competitors. Brazilians Filipe Toledo and Caio Ibelli and Hawaii’s Granger Larsen were his opponents, and Filipe and Caio in particular are tough to beat in small waves. Filipe led the heat from his first wave to the last, racking up an 18.20 heat total in the process for two well-surfed 9.10 scores. Beyrick, meanwhile, started with a low-scoring 1.00 score before grabbing a solid 8.17 ride to put himself in a good position if he could find a back-up.
Knowing he needed just one more good wave, Beyrick played the waiting game while the rest of the competitors caught a number of rides either side of him. With a little over seven minutes remaining, Beyrick found the wave he was waiting for and jumped into an advancing position by nailing a 7.77 score for a well-surfed right. Granger put the pressure on with an 8.03 of his own a minute later, but Beyrick solidified his second place in the heat with an excellent 8.37 with two and a half minutes remaining. There was no meaningful reply from either Caio or Granger, and Beyrick grabbed his spot in the last 24 along with heat winner Filipe Toledo.
Beyrick De Vries has been on a roll at Huntington Beach and is through to the last 24.
Shane Sykes and Dylan Lightfoot are still waiting to surf their quarter final heat in the Pro Junior division, after advancing through a few tough rounds earlier in the week. The face each other in Heat 4, but will both be looking to advance over Californian phenom Kanoa Igarashi and Joshua Burke (BRB).