HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif./USA (Friday, July 27, 2018) - The Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch welcomes back the world’s best surfers starting Monday, July 30 through August 5, 2018 as they compete in Stop No. 7 of 10 of the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT).
The Vans US Open will play a critical role in the 2018 WSL World Title race, which is currently led by six-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS). The Australian now wears the Jeep Leader Jersey after her win at the Corona Open J-Bay earlier this month. Gilmore has yet to claim a CT win in Surf City but will look for a strong start in her opening heat against last year’s event winner Sage Erickson (USA) and the event wildcard, who will be determined by a one-heat trials event.
“Huntington is a totally different venue to the rest of the year and I’ve always struggled a bit, but I feel good heading into it," said Gilmore. "I feel excited about the current ratings and the processes I’m going through. All the girls are ripping so, it’s just about staying focused and making sure I’m investing all my energy into each heat. I feel like I can get a good result. I just have to really apply myself there.”
Lakey Peterson (USA), 2012 event winner, returns home to California for this event. The surfer from Santa Barbara, California sits just behind Gilmore in second place on the Jeep Leaderboard, hungry for her first World Title. She will be up against Coco Ho (HAW) and injury replacement Pauline Ado (FRA) in Round 1.
“It’ll be nice to be home for a minute and get that crowd support behind you," Peterson said. "We’ve been in Australia, which has a lot of Aussie support there, and Bianca (Buitendag) had that support in South Africa, so that’ll be great to have that kind of hometown support. I’ve done well at Huntington Beach in the past so I think it’s a great opportunity to keep chipping away at Steph (Gilmore). I’m just looking forward to some time at home and getting the jersey on while there.”
16-year-old rookie Caroline Marks (USA) will also be one to watch in Huntington Beach next week. Earlier this year, Marks made history as the youngest surfer to ever qualify for the elite Championship Tour. Now, with more than half the season complete and currently sitting at World No. 7 on the Jeep Leaderboard, Marks hopes to continue her previous success in Huntington Beach and earn a big result in her rookie debut. Marks will be up against Australians Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) and Bronte Macaulay (AUS) when competition commences.
“The US Open is a different event because there are so many competitive surfing events on display,” said Marks. “There is the men’s and women’s juniors, our CT event, and even a big men’s QS event, so everyone is there together and cheering each other on. It’s really cool. I grew up competing at Huntington through all the amateur and junior events, and I’ve had a lot of success there. That gives me a lot of confidence heading into the CT event. I’m just excited to have my family there, it’s been a long year on the road so it’s a perfect time to be home for a few months.”
Facing ongoing health issues from contracting Influenza A during the Corona Open J-Bay, Tyler Wright (AUS) has withdrawn from next week's Vans US Open of Surfing. The Australian is the reigning World Champion and currently ranked No. 5 on the Jeep Leaderboard.
"Unfortunately I will be withdrawing from Vans US Open of Surfing," said Wright. "I'm still recovering from Influenza A. I'm home with the doggos getting better, but still a long way from full strength. Thanks to everyone for the continued support."
Stepping in for Wright will be fellow Australian, Macy Callaghan. The 20-year-old is currently ranked No. 9 on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) and competed at the Corona Open J-Bay earlier this month, where she lost to Frenchwoman Johanne Defay in Round 2.
Brazilian Silvana Lima has also withdrawn from the US Open after sustaining a knee injury in Round 1 of the Corona Open J-Bay. Although Lima powered through the rest of her heat, she was unable to finish the event. She will be replaced by former WSL CT surfer Ado.
The Huntington Beach waves will also feature the WSL Men’s Qualifying Series event, the men’s and women’s WSL Pro Junior events, the first-ever all women’s Vans Duct Tape Invitational longboarding competition, and the annual Vans Stoke-O-Rama, bringing local Huntington Beach youth together for friendly surf and beach activities.
Starting Monday, July 30, the Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch will be broadcast LIVE on the WSL’s Facebook page, WorldSurfLeague.com, and the WSL app. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL's broadcast partners.
Surfline, forecast partner of the WSL, is calling for:
The first several days of the event window are looking relatively slow with a minor blend of Southern Hemisphere swells and local NWwindswell on offer. Heading through the end of next week into the final weekend of the event window we anticipate a slightly better mix of new SSW swell and NW windswell.
Heat 1: Carissa Moore (HAW), Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), Courtney Conlogue (USA)
Heat 2: Johanne Defay (FRA), Keely Andrew (AUS), Paige Hareb (NZL)
Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Sage Erickson (USA), TBD
Heat 4: Lakey Peterson (USA), Coco Ho (HAW), Pauline Ado (FRA)
Heat 5: Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA), Malia Manuel (HAW), Macy Callaghan (AUS)
Heat 6: Caroline Marks (USA), Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS), Bronte Macaulay (AUS)
More available at WorldSurfLeague.com.
Recognized as the largest professional sports competition and action sports festival in the world, the Vans US Open of Surfing is currently sanctioned and operated by the World Surf League under license from IMG, the event owner. Official partners of this year's event include Vans, Swatch, Jeep, Airbnb, Michelob ULTRA, Hydro Flask, LifeProof, Jose Cuervo, Barefoot Wine, Woolmark, BF Goodrich, Harley-Davidson, Peet’s Coffee, Red Bull, U.S. Army, Slowtide, CLIF Bar, U.S. Marine Corps, Let it Block Sunscreen, Tea of a Kind, Flowater, and Frontier Communications.
For more information, including continued updates and scheduling, please visit VansUSOpenofSurfing.com.
Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans authentic collections are sold globally in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans also owns and operates more than 600 retail locations around the world. The Vans brand promotes the action sports lifestyle, youth culture and creative self-expression through the support of athletes, musicians and artists and through progressive events and platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, Vans Warped Tour®, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans.
IMG is a global leader in sports, fashion, events and media, operating in more than 30 countries. The company manages some of the world’s greatest sports figures and fashion icons; stages hundreds of live events and branded entertainment experiences annually; and is a leading independent producer and distributor of sports and entertainment media. IMG also specializes in sports training and league development, as well as marketing, media and licensing for brands, sports organizations and collegiate institutions. IMG is part of the Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG) network.