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HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Saturday, August 2, 2014): Matt Banting (AUS), 19, and Bailey Nagy (North Shore, Oahu), 18, have won the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 2-Star Vans US Open Pro Junior in peaky one-to-three foot waves at Huntington Beach Pier. In addition, the Women’s Semifinalists for the Vans US Open of Surfing, the sixth stop on the ASP Women’s World Championship Tour (WCT), and the Men’s Quarterfinalist for the ASP Qualifications Series (QS) Prime event, have been set for tomorrow’s finale.
Matt Banting, who is still competing in the men’s main event, claimed the Vans US Open Pro Junior with last-second heroics. The Australian posted an excellent 9.00 score on a Pierbowl right, vaulting the Australian from last to first over fellow Finalists Cam Richards (Garden City Beach, SC), 19, Joshua Moniz (Honolulu, HI), 18, and Miguel Tudela (PER), 19.
“I’m over the moon,” said Matt Banting. “I couldn’t really buy a wave throughout the heat and for that last wave to come in the last minutes was a gift from God. I have more work to do tomorrow. Tomorrow’s the main event for me and to gain some prize money, some experience and to win an event in the US, I’m stoked.”
Bailey Nagy grabbed the lead early in the 30 minute final and held poll position throughout the heat’s entirety despite the valiant efforts of fellow finalists Mahina Maeda (North Shore, Oahu), 16, Brianna Cope (Koloa, Kauai), 18, and Meah Collins (Newport Beach, CA), 14. The Vans US Open Pro Junior win marks the biggest victory of the young Hawaiian’s career.
“I’m really happy, I don’t even know what to say,” said Bailey Nagy. “I just went out there going for broke. I’ve never made the US Open final and I’ve been in the event a few times now. I was able to get two good scores at the start and it was really nerve wracking to get the scores at the beginning in a long 30 minute final.”
Malia Manuel (HAW), 20, current ASP Women’s World No. 5, matched her season-high result, trumping rookie Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), 19, while advancing to the Semifinals where she will face Tyler Wright (AUS), 20.
“I feel really blessed to get the better of the small waves today,” said Malia Manuel. “Knowing that I’ve won here before puts a bit of pressure on but hopefully I get another win under my belt. I’m just working at improving, growing and learning every day and living the dream.
Tyler Wright clashed against defending event champion and current World No. 1 Carissa Moore (HAW), 21, and the Australian was in rhythm from start to finish despite wave-starved conditions. The Australian collected a round-high 15.93 (out of a possible 20) heat total in the process.
“Carissa (Moore) and I have had seven finals together and seven times she’s beaten me and every time her surfing is phenomenal,” said Tyler Wright. “It’s amazing to compete against such a great surfer. Between us it’s not so much about beating each other but more about pushing the limits of women’s surfing.”
Malia, always a class act. Photo: Brandon Means
Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), 23, current ASP World No. 2 and 2011 US Open winner, made crucial ground on the ASP World Title Race following Moore’s stumble. The Australian bested rookie Johanne Defay (FRA), 20, to claim the win and a Semifinals berth.
“It was challenging to be able to get some scorable maneuvers,” said Sally Fitzgibbons “In these conditions you have to find confidence and the willingness to adapt. Huntington throws up it’s challenges but I’m stoked to make it through and I’m going to throw everything I have at the Semifinal.”
Fitzgibbons will face off against five-time ASP Women’s World Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), 26, in the Semifinals. The 2007 event winner, made the most of the small Huntington Beach conditions, combining critical backhand snaps for a victory over dangerous Californian Lakey Peterson (USA), 19.
“It was hard work and I’m sure that was a tough loss for Lakey (Peterson)”, said Stephanie Gilmore. Sally (Fitzgibbons) and I are great rivals having come through the Junior ranks together. We’re great competitors but also great friends.”
Maxime Huscenot (FRA), 22, 2009 ASP World Junior Champion, continued his breakout performance of the season, topping WCT rookie Mitch Crews (AUS), 24, while advancing to the Quarterfinals.
“It feels great to win over Mitch (Crews),” said Maxime Huscenot. “I’m stoked on the way I managed the heat. There’s a lot of WCT guys here and I’ve beaten three of four of them so I’m really pleased and this is where I want to be.”
Willian Cardoso (BRA), 28, posted the day’s second upset, defeating Gold Coast flyboy Josh Kerr (AUS), 30, with a last-minute heat win.
“I definitely had nerves in that heat,” said Willian Cardoso. “I made a lot of mistakes, I started with the wrong waves and I made a mistake with priority. I was so furious but I tried to stay focused, get two turns and do my job. I’m really happy with the final result.”
Brett Simpson (USA), 29, two-time US Open Champion, claimed a crucial Round 5 victory in a wave starved heat against fellow ASP Top 34 member Bede Durbidge (AUS), 31. The local hero started strong with an 8.60, but could not find a backup ride until the dying minutes of the heat. Simpson rode only two waves in his victory over the Australian.
“I feel comfortable because I surf out here a lot,” said Brett Simpson. “Bede (Durbidge) is a tough competitor because he always puts up big scores. I’ve felt good physically all year but I’ve had some tough draws and made mistakes that have been frustrating. I just need to let it go and focus on making heats.”
Simpo stamped his passport into the final day. Photo: Brandon Means
Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
Quarterfinal 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) 10.00 def. Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 5.43
Quarterfinal 2: Tyler Wright (AUS) 15.93 def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 11.93
Quarterfinal 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 9.33 def. Johanne Defay (FRA) 4.66
Quarterfinal 4: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 11.80 def. Lakey Peterson (USA) 10.03
Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s Semifinal Match-ups:
Semifinal 1: Malia Manuel (HAW) vs. Tyler Wright (AUS)
Semifinal 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)
Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 14.87 def. Mitch Crews (AUS) 11.50
Heat 2: Willian Cardoso (BRA) 12.23 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.17
Heat 3: Adam Melling (AUS) 11.63 def. Charles Martin (GLP) 11.33
Heat 4: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 17.17 def. Keanu Asing (HAW) 14.63
Heat 5: Matt Banting (AUS) 16.00 def. Jadson Andre (BRA) 13.97
Heat 6: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 17.23 def. Jonathan Gonzalez (CNY) 13.40
Heat 7: Brett Simpson (USA) 13.53 def. Bede Durbidge (AUS) 12.53
Heat 8: Garrett Parkes (AUS) 14.08 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.60
Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Quarterfinal Match-ups:
Quarterfinal 1: Maxime Huscenot (FRA) vs. Willian Cardoso (BRA)
Quarterfinal 2: Adam Melling (AUS) vs. Jordy Smith (ZAF)
Quarterfinal 3: Matt Banting (AUS) vs. Filipe Toledo (BRA)
Quarterfinal 4: Brett Simpson (USA) vs. Garrett Parkes (AUS)
Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Pro Junior Final:
1 - Matt Banting (AUS) 14.83
2 - Cam Richards (USA) 14.54
3 - Joshua Moniz (HAW) 11.97
4 - Miguel Tudela (PER) 10.53
Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Pro Juniors Semifinal Results:
Semifinal 1: Matt Banting (AUS) 14.00, Cam Richards (USA) 11.20, Skip McCullough (USA) 10.37, Luan Wood (BRA) 8.87
Semifinal 2: Miguel Tudela (PER) 15.43, Joshua Moniz (HAW) 13.86, Yago Dora (BRA) 10.25, Nic Hdez (USA) 7.33
Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s Pro Junior Final:
1 - Bailey Nagy (HAW) 14.17
2 - Mahina Maeda (HAW) 13.87
3 - Brianna Cope (HAW) 11.63
4 - Meah Collins (USA) 11.63