It was a real underdog story at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing last year, as Sage Erickson stormed forward to take the championship against all odds.
The comp went against all expected outcomes. Australian favourite Tyler Wright got knocked out in an earlier heat by Coco Ho and local favourite Courtney Cologne failed to beat Tatiana Weston-Webb to reach the final heat.
Weston-Webb went up against Erickson in the final. The win looked to be a sure thing for the Brazilian-born who won the Vans Open last year, until she chose a smaller wave at the end of the heat, allowing Ericsson to grab a last minute lead, gaining a final score of 11.84, against Weston-Webb’s 9.80.
“I feel like I’ve been working really hard for a moment like this,” Ericsson said in her post-heat interview. “Something felt really special about this event. I was really comfortable and just aiming high, I can’t believe I’m here.”
“I’m not world champ, it’s just the US Open, but it still feels like that so I’m going to celebrate it like I am.”
“It’s just amazing to bring my first win home in California and to do it in a place like Huntington couldn’t be more of a surreal situation.”
Erickson proved herself throughout the whole event, earlier in the event, she scored mini-coups, taking down three-time World Champion Carissa Moore and World No. 2 Sally Fitzgibbons respectively.