A vital day of competition for the region's best 18-and-under surfers began with a heavy upset courtesy of Jackson Butler as he helped eliminate current North America No. 1 Crosby Colapinto and No. 2 Eithan Osborne. 2017 standout Cole Houshmand (USA) is advancing alongside Butler. A clutch performance from Kade Matson also earned him a spot into his second-straight Vans US Open Pro Junior Final.
"This is one of my favorite events and after I cracked the Final last year I just want to win it this year," Matson said. "I feel really good right now after getting that Final in Los Cabos earlier this summer and I won an NSSA National title here a few weeks ago. I feel in-sync with this wave. To have all the San Clemente guys here is so good because we push each other really hard even though we're all great friends, we all want to win so it's a healthy rivalry that we all have."
Finalist Kade Matson. Photo: WSL / Morris
Alongside a well-represented San Clemente, California, crew, Hawaii will once again have a competitor in the Final as Barron Mamiya (HAW) smashed his way through Quarterfinal and Semifinal action. After Cody Young's (HAW) victory last year, Mamiya has an opportunity to keep the US Open trophy on the islands, but knows the work is far from done.
"I'm psyched to be in the Final after I had a great start to the year, but I've been on a bit of a downer with some poor results since so this is great momentum," Mamiya said. "For the Final I'm just going to try and find the best two waves of the heat and rip them as hard as I can. This is a big arena with huge crowds so I just put my headphones in and not try to think about it. Cody (Young) is one of my good friends and I wasn't here last year unfortunately to be with him to celebrate that win, but hopefully I can win it this year and fly the flag for us again."
Mamiya will be joined by an in-form Alan Cleland. A dominant Quarterfinal performance propelled him into the stacked Semifinal heat. He was able to advance, marking his best career finish yet.
Alan Cleland and Malakai Martinez. Photo: WSL / Rowland
The Vans US Open of Surfing will continue tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. PDT with Women's Pro Junior Round 1 (H1-4), Quarterfinals (H1-4), and Semifinals (H1-2), followed by the Men's QS Round 2 (H17-24).