The south side of Huntington Beach Pier saw four-to-five foot waves during day 5 of the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing. Courtney Conlogue of Costa Mesa, CA, got competition off to a swift start with a quick win in Round 3 Heat 4 over three-time World Surf League Champion Carissa Moore of Honolulu. “Yesterday I was a little out of rhythm with the lineup,” said Conlogue. “I just wanted to find that rhythm in my heat today and feel everything click.”
Conlogue also beat out Pauline Ado (France), who bested 2016 U.S. Open Semifinalist Lakey Peterson just yesterday. That’s the way the wave tumbles …
Conlogue is now in the Quarterfinals, eeking ever closer to a first-ever CT win in Huntington Beach. As for Moore, she faced Sage Erickson in the elimination Round 4 but ultimately lost to the Ojai, CA native, with Erickson locked in for the Quarterfinals. Also into the Quarterfinals: Sally Fitzgibbons of of New South Whales, Australia, who finished her round with 14.33, accomplishing the highest two-wave total of the women’s event today.
2016 World Surf Champ Tyler Wright lost in her first heat only to make a triumphant comeback with a win against wild card Maud Le Car of France. Elsewhere in Round 3, Johanna Defay (also of France), who won the U.S. Open of Surfing in 2015, paddled her way into the Quarterfinals, beating Australia’s Nikki Van Dijk and Le Car.
“It’s always a part of the plan to end up in the Finals and I treat every heat pretty much the same with the same details and prep,” Wright said. “Obviously, I have to adapt to whatever is on-hand … The water is constantly pulling you so it’s taken it out of me today, but I’ve kind of just been managing that and I’m managing energy in a heat.”
Highlights on the Men’s front included a clutch performance by South African Micael February, who came back in the last five minutes of his heat, nailing a backhand on a wave that racked up 7.10 points. Two more crisp backhands finished off in the shorebreak gave February an almost-perfect 9.17 and the unofficial title of Comeback Kid.
“That wave at the end was such a blessing,” February said. “Those last two waves and then that 9 just really helped put me at ease. It’s been the best start of my career ever … I’m stoked with results from my last few events and just want to keep the positives alive going into the next few.”
Costa Rican Carlos Munoz also delivered a standout performance, getting the beach-lounging crowd clapping with bottom-to-top turn combinations and a 14.10 heat total.
“I’m excited to come here to the big show with a win to start,” Munoz said. “Everybody wants to be in Top 10 by the end of the year and these last few events everyone’s going to be training hard to try and qualify.”
Another highlight-reel ride came by way of San Clemente’s Griffin Colapinto. The 19-year-old local surfer nailed a huge backside rock-n-roll floater and proved once again why age doesn’t define this threat-level-midnight talent.
“I’m feeling really good and that heat was super fun,” Colapinto said. “It’s just the best thing to have a big contest at home. I’ll just keep it light this week and keep laughing while taking it one heat a time to give it my best go.”
Read a complete rundown of the day’s events here.
The surfing is happening again tomorrow with the Men’s QS 10,000 Round 2 Heat 23 at 7:30am PT, followed by the Women’s CT Quarterfinals.