Vans U.S. Open of Surfing Day 4: Clean Waves and French Upsets
The weather may have been a grayish overcast but the waves at Huntington Beach for day 4 of Vans U.S. Open of Surfing were clean, four-to-five foot gems, just right for the world’s surfing elite to perform and impress.
First up, the Women’s Championship Tour Round 1,which saw France’s Johanne Defay obliterate the competition, scoring a commanding 17.00 (out of 20) in the opening heat, the highest two-wave score for the day. Her combo score also included a 9.00 ride, the single-highest wave score in Tuesday’s competition.
“I’m just really happy there are good waves out there,” Defay said. “I was just thinking I need to get one or two good hits to get the score. I wasn’t sure about my board at first, but I’m happy it was a good choice.”
Defay’s dominant rides forced Carissa Moore of Honolulu and Silvana Lima of Brazil to surf again in elimination Round 2.
In the upsets category, Trials winner Maud Le Car of France stunned the morning crowd on the beach, taking down six-time World Surf League Champion Stephanie Gilmore (Australia).“I’m feeling super good and super grateful to be at this event, and just want to say thank you to Vans for this opportunity as a wildcard in the trials,” Le Car said. “I didn’t have any expectation and have nothing to lose so I’m just enjoying the opportunity, and just want to show a little bit of my surfing.”
Le Car’s decisive performance and subsequent ousting of Gilmore grants Tyler Wright (Australia) a prime opportunity to carve her way up the leaderboard. Wright took the win in Round 1 Heat 3, advancing to non-elimination Round 3, so she’s in a good spot to do some work.
In other notable news, Courtney Conlogue, who hails from nearby Santa Ana CA, stayed alive in elimination Round 2 Heat 4, while France’s Pauline Ado continued the nouveau French tradition of unexpected upsets, sending home 2016 Vans U.S. Open Semifinalist Lakey Peterson (Santa Barbara, CA) in harrowing form, pulling out an impressive ride in the last few seconds of Round 2 Heat 5.
For the men, Filip Toledo (Brazil), still reeling from a Corona Open J-Bay win days before, showed similar fighting spirit, powering through his heat with a 15.43 total, on target to defend his 2016 U.S. Open championship.
“I showed up three days ago and just had the craziest stomach flu … and it’s my first surf back since,” Toledo said. “It’s always good training and come back here trying to win my third US Open. Having my daughter changed everything, it’s a crazy feeling and has given me a new perspective on life along with such a good energy. My family just helps get rid of the pressure and I think that’s the main goal is just to have fun, which I am.”
For a full report on the day’s activities check here.