2018 Vans U.S. Open of Surfing: Weekend Recap

The 2018 Vans U.S. Open of Surfing kicked off this Saturday with sloppy little waves, white wash and a lumpy ocean. Still, the young surfers prevailed despite challenging conditions, finding good waves among the bad as an umbrella-shaded crowd cheered them on from the Southside of Huntington Beach Pier. 

The first two rounds of the Men’s Pro Junior event saw the field of under-18 competitors narrow to the Top 16, with San Clemente Calif.’s Cole Houshmand (USA) earning the first Quarterfinal entry of the men’s Pro Junior after winning his first two heats. Houshmand’s win, alongside Keanu Kamiyama (JPN) in second place, eliminated reigning WSL World Junior Champion Finn McGill (HAW) in the opening heat of Round 2.

Kamiyama gave a strong performance, demonstrating an impressively clean style. Also impressive was Brazilian Mateus Herdy, who competed for the first time at the event in Huntington Beach and easily advanced to the Quarterfinals.

On Sunday, the ocean continued with its own meager performance but surfers in  the Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) ripped whatever they could get. Notably, Reef Heazlewood (AUS) was officially welcomed into the World Surf League (WSL) after his Sunday trial heat.

Heazlewood took down a tough 32-man field, made up of local talent, up-and-comers, and international challengers to earn entry into the men’s QS 10,000 event. Heazlewood now has the opportunity to compete against some of the world’s top male surfers today in the opening heat of men’s Round 1.

The Vans US Open of Surfing continued morning with the women’s CT Trials at 7 a.m., with Kirra Pinkerton (USA), Leilani McGonagle (CR), Ainara Aymat (ESP) and Tia Blanco (PR) contending for a chance to win at Huntington Beach. The women’s Trials will be immediately followed by the first two rounds of the men’s QS. Heazlewood now faces familiar names in the men’s QS event, surfing against Imaikalani deVault (HAW), Kei Kobayashi (USA) and Kalani Ball (AUS).

Also happening today: A glassing demonstration in the Van Doren Village from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. And later tonight, Vans will host a movie night featuring “The Goonies” in the Amphitheater.