The World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 Vans US Open of Surfing scorched through Round 4 at Huntington Beach, California in two-to-four foot waves. Despite inconsistent conditions, top competitors showcased their small-wave knowledge and found the diamonds in the rough for impressive scores. Men’s action now moves into two-man heats with Round 5 draws set and more heavyweight matchups on the agenda for the weekend crowds.
Kicking off the action-packed day of competition, Mitch Crews (AUS) took down the first heat of Round 4 over an impressive draw including CT competitor Keanu Asing (HAW)and freesurf standout Mitch Coleborn (AUS). The Australian has already been a part of some big upsets, taking down CT rookie talent Caio Ibelli (BRA) in Round 2 and Kolohe Andino (USA) in Round 3, but Crews still has a lot of competition in front of him at this event.
“This will be the fourth year I’ve gotten to Round 5 without making it past that hill so I’m going to try and change that,” Crews said. “To get through a few more would great. This morning the lefts weren’t really happening so I was hoping to get on that right coming through and it ended up being the better wave. I’m really just looking to be on the best waves. If it stays slower like this it would be great to try and stay in rhythm. I want to lift the level of my surfing a bit higher in these heats instead of just getting the job done.”
In an all CT showdown, defending WSL Champion Adriano de Souza (BRA) kept finding himself right where he needed to be in the lineup and posted the day’s highest heat total of a 15.10. Right behind him with the day’s highest single-wave score of an 8.17, Davey Cathels (AUS) topped Stuart Kennedy (AUS) for the runner-up spot, but it was De Souza who showcased his powerful surfing in the smaller conditions on offer to take the win.
“That was such a tough heat with Stu and Davey, both of those guys have been ripping through this event,” De Souza said. “I had to make sure my strategy was set being out there with them, but I made that heat which is the most important thing. I’ve been training around this contest really hard to try and get some momentum going into the next CT event. That kind of focus is what’s pushing me and I’m stoked to show my energy. Just want to try and keep it rolling and see what I can do in the next round.”
Ethan Ewing (AUS) has been relentless on the shores of Huntington Beach, California, with another massive heat win over defending champion Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) and CT competitor Ryan Callinan (AUS). Taking the Men’s QS by storm, 17-year-old Ewing has kept his winning formula intact with more impressive surfing amid some powerhouse talents.
“I’ve just stuck to the same game plan out there and with Hiroto and Ryan in that heat I was super nervous,” Ewing admitted. “I just wanted to get two good waves and surf them well to get the nerves out, which worked out really well. I’m still so young and just having fun at this event, not thinking about it too much and trying to surf my best out there. I did the Junior starting the day before and got some heats under my belt so that was a good advantage going in but the QS is definitely my main focus here.”
Torrey Meister (HAW) overcame two of the event’s most anticipated competitors Kanoa Igarashi (USA) and Griffin Colapinto (USA) in an epic heat that unfolded in the Huntington Beach Pier arena. The Hawaiian veteran got off to a quick start and didn’t turn back with a slight change in game plan as the heat progressed. Despite a rough start to his 2016, Meister is building confidence with each heat here at the Vans US Open of Surfing.
“That felt really good to make that heat with Kanoa dropping two eights every heat as well as Griffin, and I definitely don’t see them as kids,” Meister said. “I just went out there trying to play my own game and became a little grom chasing every wave. I didn’t get priority right from the start so I just wanted to stay busy since I figured it might be a slow heat and ended working out for me.
“My goal here is just trying to stay in the Top 100, I’m falling out of it a bit with some slow results and just trying to make some heats,” Meister added. “I’m stoked already and feel like I have a good flow with the ocean right now especially with conditions on hand. Here at Huntington the ocean definitely decides who’s going to make it through.”
Capping off another day of high-performance surfing in the smaller conditions on hand, Carlos Munoz (CRI) and Maxime Huscenot (FRA) provided a spoiler for hometown hero Brett Simpson (USA). Munoz is on a hot streak at this year’s event and with limited competing opportunities this year, he is taking full advantage of every chance given.
“To be honest I was really nervous with Brett being a winner and hometown boy, as well as Maxime who’s been ripping,” Munoz said. “I just wanted to go out there and give it my best effort, in the end it’s all about surfing and using priority to your advantage so I just kept that in mind. I have my family and friends here supporting me and that means so much to me, it’s giving me so much confidence moving forward. This event is a big stage to get some crucial points because I want to qualify, it’s my dream and I’m going to give it my all.”
Upcoming Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 Round 5 Matchups:
Heat 1: Mitch Crews (AUS) vs. Ryan Callinan (AUS)
Heat 2: Ethan Ewing (AUS) vs. Mitch Coleborn (AUS)
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) vs. Davey Cathels (AUS)
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) vs. Nathan Yeomans (USA)
Heat 5: Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (USA)
Heat 6: Torrey Meister (HAW) vs. Bino Lopes (BRA)
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) vs. Maxime Huscenot (FRA)
Heat 8: Michel Bourez (PYF) vs. Carlos Munoz (CRI)
Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 Round 4 Results:
Heat 1: Mitch Crews (AUS) 13.73, Mitch Coleborn (AUS) 11.80, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.47
Heat 2: Ethan Ewing (AUS) 13.03, Ryan Callinan (AUS) 13.00, Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 12.93
Heat 3: Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 11.97, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 11.33, Kiron Jabour (HAW) 10.07
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.10, Davey Cathels (USA) 14.27, Stuart Kennedy (USA) 12.53
Heat 5: Conner Coffin (USA) 10.13, Bino Lopes (BRA) 10.04, Matt Banting (AUS) 8.40
Heat 6: Torrey Meister (HAW) 13.67, Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 12.50, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 9.34
Heat 7: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.83, Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.60, Deivid Silva (BRA) 13.03
Heat 8: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 13.94, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 12.83, Brett Simpson (USA) 8.70
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.