Local boy Derek Peters gets the winning lift. Photo: WSL / Van Kirk
Jul 24, 2016

Derek Peters Claims Vans US Open of Surfing Wildcard Spot with Trials Win

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Sunday, July 24, 2016) – The 2016 Vans US Open of Surfing recommenced today in three-to-five foot (1 - 1.5 metre) waves in Huntington Beach, California. The day saw Derek Peters (USA) win the men’s Trials where 32 surfers battled for one coveted spot into the Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s Qualifying Series 10,000 event.

Peters strung together an impressive trails run as he plowed through four rounds en route to the Final. Peters claimed the first spot in an exciting final between Jake Marshall (USA), Seth Moniz (HAW) and Lucca Mesinas (PER). Marshall set the tone of the Final with an excellent 8.33 on his opening ride, backed up by a solid 6.10. Peters trailed closely with two strong scores, including a commanding 8.30. Marshall kept busy catching more waves in an attempt to improve his heat total, but Peters stayed selective with a critical 7.00 to take control away from Marshall. Peters was able to hold his lead over the field and will advance out of the trails and into the main event.

“The Trials are really hard because there are a bunch of great guys who surf so well,” said Peters. “I compete with them year round so I know how good they are. Things are just going my way this weekend, so we will see how things go. I will be first heat tomorrow morning, so I still have a lot of work to do. I got into the event, but now I have to restart in Round 1. These are big events for me especially with my rating and what I am trying to do. I grew up in Huntington Beach watching this event and I am excited to finally make it to the main event to compete.”

Derek feeling pretty comfortable at his home turf. Photo: WSL / Morris

Peters will compete in the Round of 112 to vie for the Vans US Open of Surfing men’s QS10,000 Title along with some of the world’s best surfers, including Samsung Galaxy Men’s Championship Tour (CT) rookie and fellow Huntington Beach native Kanoa Igarashi (USA) and two-time Vans US Open of Surfing Champion Brett Simpson (USA).

Igarashi has earned an array of impressive results at the Vans US Open of Surfing but has not yet hoisted the illustrious trophy. Igarashi’s parents moved to Huntington Beach hoping to provide their unborn son a chance at becoming a pro surfer -- something Igarashi has now made his career. The 18-year-old is back in his hometown and looking to better his equal third-place finish from last year.

“It would mean the world to me to win in front of my family and friends,” Igarashi said. “It’s something I’ve been dreaming about my whole life. My first time watching pro surfers competing was here when I was 6-years-old. I feel a lot better this year so I’m hoping to do a few spots better. It takes a lot of consistency throughout an event like this to win it along with lots of mental preparation. I feel really comfortable in Huntington, I know exactly what each wave will do and that helps a lot since it’s a very tricky wave.”

Simpson has earned the wildcard along with Italian phenom Leonardo Fiorvanti (ITA) into the Round of 96. Simpson hasn’t found a keeper result thus far into the Men’s QS 2016 season and is hoping to find some hometown magic to get his year started. Currently sitting at No. 168 on the QS rankings, the former CT competitor knows a good result is coming but has much more important things going on outside the water to keep him in high spirits.

Brett Simpson during last year's event. Photo: Michael Lallande

“It's my favorite event every year even if the quality of waves aren't usually top notch, but I love the atmosphere and having my family support is awesome,” Simpson said. “We just had the birth of our second child, a baby boy, so my mind has been a little more focused on the family and that's my number one. Now he's here and I can focus on some of the upcoming events more and fine tune myself. I feel I don't have anything to prove but to myself that I can get back to the top tier.”

“I've been there and I know how fun and exciting it is,” Simpson added. “The years I won I just chugged along and found ways to make heats. You have to get craftier like that and, just plain and simple, get it done in whatever Mother Nature brings.”

Event organizers will reconvene tomorrow at 6:30 a.m. local time for a possible 7:00 a.m. start.

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 Trials Final Results:
1 - Derek Peters (USA) 15.30
2 - Jake Marshall (USA) 14.43
3 - Seth Moniz (HAW) 9.80
4 - Lucca Mesinas (PER) 8.33

Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS10,000 Trials Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Seth Moniz (HAW) 13.90, Lucca Mesinas (PER) 12.87, Matt Passaquindici (USA) 11.60, Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 11.03
SF 2: Derek Peters (USA) 15.27, Jake Marshall (USA) 11.83, Cory Arrambide (USA) 10.43, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 5.57