7X Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) advanced through to the third round during todays competition
Jul 31, 2019

Women’s Elite Maintain Momentum, Pro Junior Semifinalists Determined at Vans US Open of Surfing Pres


  • Gilmore Headlines Remaining World's Best Debuts In Round Two
  • Juniors Schilling, Matson, Spencer, Pinkerton, Tomoda-Bannert Charge Into Semifinals

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Wednesday, July 31, 2019) -- The Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch, a World Surf League (WSL) Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 and Men’s and Women’s Pro Junior event, hosted the world’s top 18-and-under surfers and more of the world's best in two-to-three foot (1 - 1.2 metre), clean conditions. Competitors power through a decisive day as Semifinalists emerged in the Pro Junior division along with Round 3 contenders in the hotly-contested Women’s QS 10,000 division. 

One of the sport’s most iconic figures, seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) didn’t miss the opportunity to compete in this historic event for women and made her debut in Round 2 today. Japanese competitor Hinako Kurokawa (JPN) gave Gilmore a score after a brilliant start, but the reigning WSL Champion remained steadfast at the pier bowl and utilized her wave selection to showcase world-class experience.

“I know it’s only a Qualifying Series event, but it’s one of the biggest events on the schedule and it’s really good to be here,” Gilmore said. “It’s funny because there’s these girls I’ve never heard of and they’re dropping these big scores early in the heat. They’re excited, they’re doing so much better in their performances and there’s really no easy heats anymore which is really showing the progression of women. And then to have the equal prize purse, there’s so much coverage for the women just telling our stories, it’s incredible.”

Day 4 Post Show: Momentum in Surf City

HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Wednesday, July 31, 2019) -- The Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch, a World Surf League (WSL) Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 and Men’s and Women’s Pro Junior event, hosted the world’s top 18-and-under surfers and more of the world's best in two-to-three foot (1 - 1.2 metre), clean conditions. Competitors power through a decisive day as Semifinalists emerged in the Pro Junior division along with Round 3 contenders in the hotly-contested Women’s QS 10,000 division. 

One of the sport’s most iconic figures, seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) didn’t miss the opportunity to compete in this historic event for women and made her debut in Round 2 today. Japanese competitor Hinako Kurokawa (JPN) gave Gilmore a score after a brilliant start, but the reigning WSL Champion remained steadfast at the pier bowl and utilized her wave selection to showcase world-class experience.

“I know it’s only a Qualifying Series event, but it’s one of the biggest events on the schedule and it’s really good to be here,” Gilmore said. “It’s funny because there’s these girls I’ve never heard of and they’re dropping these big scores early in the heat. They’re excited, they’re doing so much better in their performances and there’s really no easy heats anymore which is really showing the progression of women. And then to have the equal prize purse, there’s so much coverage for the women just telling our stories, it’s incredible.”

Bronte Macaulay (AUS) started off her Vans US Open of Surfing debut by earning an excellent 8.50. © WSL / Morris

Fellow Australian and CT competitor, Bronte Macaulay (AUS) brought the heat in her Round 2 launch over 2019 CT rookie Macy Callaghan (AUS) and QS veterans Maud Le Car (FRA) and Nao Omura (JPN). The goofy-footer found a brilliant, reeling righthander that offered plenty of opportunities for the elite competitor to unleash her backhand attack to garner an excellent 8.50 (out of a possible 10).

“I saw that set and I was just thinking, 'don’t blow it, this is such a good opportunity' (laughs), when those sets come in it’s pretty easy to get the score,” Macaulay said. “Just being in third or fourth priority, I wanted a bit of a gap and felt like there was enough waves on that south end so I’m stoked to get one."

Local, upcoming talent Meah Collins (USA) is finding success at her home break and hoping to find a big breakthrough result. © WSL / Morris

Local competitor Meah Collins (USA) hasn’t had the best year by her standards, but still sits at No. 36 on the rankings with a seed into the major events following the Vans US Open. Her best QS ranking was back in 2016 where she saw a third place result right here at Huntington Beach for the Shoe City Pro and a 13th at the Vans US Open, but the 19-year-old is looking to make an even bigger name for herself in her home state. 

“I think my focus was so much on the US Open this year, I was just not in the right headspace versus Super Girl, and it just showed in that one heat that I had,” said Collins. “I was really upset and I was trying to just shake it off. There was a day were I was like, ‘okay, really depressed right now,’ but just coming back to Huntington and surfing with all the people and all the girls and the guys, it just kind of refreshed my mode.”

Last year’s World Title contender, former event winner, and California’s ownLakey Peterson (USA) was forced to withdraw from the event due to a back strain. Tessa Thyssen (FRA) took her place and ended Round 2 by ousting former CT competitor Alessa Quizon (HAW), but it was 2017 World Junior Champion Vahine Fierro (FRA) who decimated the lineup for a 14.60 (out of a possible 20) heat total.

Day 4 Top 5 Moments: Junior Tour Takes the Day

Caleb Tancred, Kade Matson, Bronte Macaulay, Vahine Fierro, and Kirra Pinkerton put on exceptional performances at the Vans US Open.

In a flurry of last-minute Men’s Pro Junior action, Jett Schilling (USA) and Taj Lindblad (USA) made it through the first Quarterfinal and took out event favorite Crosby Colapinto (USA) along the way. While Schilling was safe in first with a strong 12.23 scoreline, Lindblad surfed for his life on his final wave in the final seconds of the heat and earned the score he needed to move into second advancing position, also knocking out Alan Cleland (MEX).

“It’s super special, to have a heat with all my friends at the US Open and make it is amazing, I’m stoked,” said Schilling. “I just was on the right waves and made it through and was patient. It’s super hard to stay patient when other people already caught a wave, but lucky I got two waves. Great experience, I’m stoked. Lucky I got a wildcard into the QS as well and had some experience, it was fun. 

Meah Collins (USA) WSL / Herron

Current North America No. 1 Kade Matson (USA) scored the highest wave of Quarterfinal 4 for beautiful on-rail surfing despite recently rehabilitating a torn foot ligament. His 8.67 featured explosive maneuvers on a peaky right-handed wave, while fellow advancing athlete Taro Watanabe (JPN) surfed the second best wave of the heat, a clean-walled 7.17, with precision.

Other notable wins in the Men’s Pro Junior division  included Australian Caleb Tancred (AUS) and Japenese contender Joh Azuchi (JPN) as they look to spoil another year for the Americans by keeping the US Open title away from home soil.

Surfing both the Women’s QS and Pro Junior divisions at the Vans US Open, reigning World Junior Champion Kirra Pinkerton (USA) opened up the Women’s Pro Junior Round 1 with an excellent 8.00 and carried that fire into the Quarterfinals to nab the day’s best single-wave score, an 8.83, to keep her momentum alive in both the Pro Junior and QS 10,000. Currently No. 3 on the Women’s QS, Pinkerton is still maintaining focus on the Pro Juniors as she hopes to defend her World Title, but has the majority of her attention toward the QS. 

Pinkerton is getting accustomed to post-heat interviews with her success this year. © WSL / Morris

“The QS right now for me is a little bit more important so I’m really focused on those,” said Pinkerton. “Just focusing in on that, kind of have Juniors in the back of my head. Getting to surf in the Juniors is just getting more time in the water, heats, maybe as an advantage for the QS, so yeah, just trying to surf and find out what’s best. I think any event win at the Vans US Open is special and a lot of the girls from Worlds are here so it’s almost like World Juniors 2.0 (laughs). But winning the Pro Junior would give me a ton of confidence toward the 10,000.”

Alyssa Spencer (USA) joins Pinkerton in both the Pro Junior and QS 10,000. © WSL / Morris

Another notable Round 1 opener was World Junior runner-up Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) with a 14.97 heat total to overtake Peruvian surfer Sol Aguirre (PER). Tomoda-Bannert also charged her Quarterfinal as waves seemed to come right to her throughout the 20-minute heat, meanwhile the battle for second was hard-fought, which witnessed recent Super Girl Pro winner Samantha Sibley (USA) find herself into a  second-consecutive US Open Semifinal.

Bree Smith (USA) made an impression to wrap up Round 1 with a win over Sibley while the noteworthy Vans US Open rookies include the Smith, along with current North America No. 1 Caitlin Simmers (USA) and Sawyer Linblad (USA) -- each of which are into the Semifinals with breakout performances.

The Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch will resume tomorrow, Thursday, August 1, at 7:30 a.m. PT in Huntington Beach. The event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com and Facebook.com/WSL. Also, check local listings for coverage from the WSL’s broadcast partners.

Alongside the surfing, the Vans US Open of Surfing also hosts skateboarding and BMX competitions in sync with authentic community activations and artful entertainment in Surf City USA. Recognized as the largest professional sports competition and action sports festival in the world, the Vans US Open of Surfing presented by Swatch 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, ULTRA, Red Bull, Jose Cuervo, Barefoot Wine, Hydro Flask, Harley-Davidson, Polo Blue, BF Goodrich, CLIF Bar, and Frontier Communications.

Vans US Open of Surfing pres. by Swatch Women's QS 10,000 Round 2 (H7-12) Results:

Heat 7: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 12.10, Hinako Kurokawa (JPN) 9.67, Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 6.87, Teresa Bonvalot (PRT) 6.67
Heat 8: Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 14.67, Macy Callaghan (AUS) 10.97, Maud Le Car (FRA) 10.73, Nao Omura (JPN) 7.67
Heat 9: Mahina Maeda (JPN) 13.17, Tatiana Weston-Webb BRA) 10.60, Kirra-Belle Olsson AUS) 10.00, Claire Bevilacqua (ITA) 9.40
Heat 10: Sage Erickson (USA) 12.64, Malia Manuel (HAW) 11.77, Minami Nonaka (JPN) 8.26, India Robinson (AUS) 8.03
Heat 11: Meah Collins (USA) 12.30, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 11.87, Paige Hareb (NZL) 11.34, Ainara Aymat (EUK) 5.50
Heat 12: Vahine Fierro (FRA) 14.60, Tessa Thyssen (FRA) 14.10, Alessa Quizon (HAW) 10.26, Holly Wawn (AUS) 4.80

Vans US Open of Surfing pres. by Swatch Men Pro Junior Quarterfinal Results:

QF 1: Jett Schilling (USA) 12.23, Taj Lindblad (USA) 10.00, Alan Cleland (MEX) 9.33, Crosby Colapinto (USA) 9.10
QF 2: Joh Azuchi (JPN) 12.10, Mateus Herrdy (BRA) 9.50, Tiago Carrique (FRA) 9.37, Robert Grilho (HAW) 7.80
QF 3: Caleb Tancred (AUS) 13.63, Hagan Johnson (USA) 11.80, Dakoda Waters (AUS) 11.63, Malakai Martinez (CRI) 9.23
QF 4: Kade Matson (USA) 14.67, Taro Watanabe (USA) 13.17, Tommy Coleman (USA) 9.50, Sam Reidy (CRI) 8.60

Vans US Open of Surfing pres. by Swatch Women Pro Junior Quarterfinal Results:

QF 1: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 14.66, Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 9.96, Ella McCaffray (USA) 8.73), Charlotte Lange (USA) 7.70
QF 2: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 16.00, Eva Woodland (CRI) 8.06, Coral Schuster (USA) 7.84, Zahli Kelly (AUS) 4.66
QF 3: Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 12.50, Samantha Sibley (USA) 9.16, Makenna Burke (USA) 6.76, Rachel Presti (DEU) 6.10
QF 4: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 13.40, Sol Aguirre (PER) 10.17, Serena Nava (USA) 9.24, Bree Smith (USA) 7.30

Vans US Open of Surfing pres. by Swatch Women Pro Junior Round 1  Results:

Heat 1: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 15.17, Coral Schuster (USA) 8.60, Bella Kenworthy (USA) 8.33, Rubiana Bronwell (CRI) 5.97
Heat 2: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 12.50, Eva Woodland (CRI) 11.17, Kayla Coscino (USA) 7.56, Rachel Wilson (USA) 6.40
Heat 3: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 15.43, Charlotte Lange (USA) 9.77, Faviola Alcala (PRI) 8.34, Paulina Summers (CRI) 7.00
Heat 4: Zahli Kelly (AUS) 12.14, Ella McCaffrey (USA) 11.94, Shino Matsuda (JPN) 11.40, Brooke Young (USA) 6.23
Heat 5: Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 14.97, Sol Aguirre (PER) 13.04, Valentina Resano (NIC) 9.67, Maddie Garlough (USA) 8.20
Heat 6: Rachel Presti (DEU) 10.90, Serena Nava (USA) 7.20, Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN) 7.00, Marlee Lovell (USA) 5.44
Heat 7: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 14.04, Makena Burke (USA) 12.77, Valera Ojeda (USA) 6.97, Emily Grossarth (USA) 2.80
Heat 8: Bree Smith (USA) 12.60, Samantha Sibley (USA) 11.04, Leah Thompson (USA) 10.10, Melania Suarez Diaz (CI) 7.47

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