NewsVans US Open of Surfing - Men's QSYago Dora

8 International QS Threats to Watch at Vans US Open of Surfing

Prelude to the Grind

The Vans US Open of Surfing marks just the second QS 10,000-rated event of the year, following the culmination of the Ballito Pro last month, which Jordy Smith won. As just one of five events worth 10,000 points on the calendar, its importance to any surfer with real Championship Tour aspirations cannot be discounted. And when the current world No. 2 steals all 10,000 qualification points, it's a massive missed opportunity for the rest of the QS grinders.

Filipe Toledo after winning the Final at The Vans US Open of Surfing Championship Tour stars like Filipe Toledo pose a huge threat to the QS hopefuls trying to break through. WSL / Sean Rowland

Brazilian Jesse Mendes is the runaway ratings leader heading into the US Open, with a nearly 10,000-point lead over No. 2 Willian Cardoso. At this point, all Mendes has to worry about is locking down his 2018 CT travel itinerary. Things tighten up significantly behind Cardoso, however, who leads No. 3 Yago Dora by just 135 points. Further down the list, fewer than 450 points separate No. 8 Cooper Chapman from No. 11 Mikey Wright.

Here's a breakdown of the top-ranked QS international surfers to watch at the US Open. It'll be your only shot to see them all together at one event before the Tour hits the North Shore in early November.

Jesse Mendes

Jesse Mendes of Brazil winning Heat 5 of Round One of the Drug Aware Margaret River Pro at North Point, Australia. Jesse Mendes WSL / Kelly Cestari

QS rank: No. 1
Points: 22,060
Nation: Brazil
2017 Highlights & Notes: Two QS 6,000 wins to kick off his '17 QS campaign. Mendes is a 99 percent lock to be on the 2018 WSL Championship Tour. As a wildcard, Mendes won his Round One heat (held at North Point) at the 2017 Drug Aware Margaret River Pro.
Seed: Round of 96

Willian Cardoso

Willian Cardoso (BRA) at Jordy Smith Cape Town Surf Pro pres. by O'Neill Willian Cardoso WSL / Thurtell

QS rank: No. 2
Points: 12,095
Nation: Brazil
2017 Highlights & Notes: Cardoso snatched up 8,000 points for his 2nd-place finish at the QS 10,000 Ballito Pro. His next best result is a 5th at the QS 6,000 Maitland and Port Stephens Toyoto Pro.
Seed: Round of 96

Yago Dora

Wildcard Yago Dora of Brazil enjoying a morning freesurf at Cloudbreak on a layday at the Outerknown Fiji Pro Yago Dora WSL / Kelly Cestari

QS rank: No. 3
Points: 11,960
Nation: Brazil
2017 Highlights & Notes: Dora took the win at the Maitland and Port Stephens Toyoto Pro and 9th at the Ballito Pro. Surfing as a wildcard at the CT-level Oi Rio Pro, Dora thrilled his countrymen with a run to the Semifinals, where he lost to eventual winner Adriano de Souza.
Seed: Round of 96

Michael February

Wildcard Michael February of South Africa getting in a morning freesurf at Supertuebs during the first layday of the Corona Open J-Bay. Michael February WSL / Kelly Cestari

QS rank: No. 4
Points: 10,550
Nation: South Africa
2017 Highlights & Notes: February was the standout surfer of the QS's South African leg. He had two QS 1,000 wins on the South African swing alone to go with his 3rd-place finish at the Ballito Pro. His form earned him a wildcard entry into the CT's Corona Open J-Bay from the WSL's Commissioner's office.
Seed: Round of 96

Cooper Chapman

Cooper Chapman of the USA finished equal 17th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing third in Heat 8 of Round Four at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Cooper Chapman WSL / Kelly Cestari

QS rank: No. 8
Points: 9260
Nation: Australia
2017 Highlights & Notes: Chapman's 2nd at the QS 6,000 Ichinomiya Chiba Open is his best result to date, backed up with a 17th at the Ballito Pro. Chapman finished rated No. 35 on last year's final QS rankings list.
Seed: Round of 96

Alex Ribeiro

Alex Ribeiro of Brazil finished equal 49th The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing third in Heat 21 of Round Two at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Alex Ribeiro WSL / Kelly Cestari

QS rank: No. 9
Points: 8,900
Nation: Brazil
2017 Highlights & Notes: Along with a 3rd at the QS 6,000 Australian Open of Surfing, former CT surfer Ribeiro grabbed a pair of wins on the South African leg -- a QS 3,000 at the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing and the QS 1,000 Jordy Smith Capetown Surf Pro. Ribeiro fell off the CT in 2016, finishing ranked No. 35 overall on the Jeep Leaderboard.
Seed: Round of 96

Hiroto Ohhara

Hiroto Ohhara of Japan finished equal 37th in The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after placing fourth in Heat 1 of Round Three at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Hiroto Ohhara WSL / Kelly Cestari

QS rank: No. 10
Points: 8,830
Nation: Japan
2017 Highlights & Notes: Ohhara took 3rd at the Australian Open of Surfing and another 3rd at the Pro Santa Cruz 2017 in Portugal. Ohhara is a past champion at the Vans US Open of Surfing, taking the crown in 2015.
Seed: Round of 112

Mikey Wright

Mikey Wright of Australia advances to the Semifinals of the Ballito Pro presented by Billabong after winning Quarterfinal Heat 3 at Willard Beach, Ballito, South Africa. Mikey Wright WSL / Kelly Cestari

QS rank: No. 11
Points: 8825
Nation: Australia
2017 Highlights & Notes: Younger brother of two Championship Tour stars -- women's World Champ Tyler and men's No. 4 Owen -- Wright's best QS result is 3rd at the Ballito Pro. Wright surfed with radical abandon as a wildcard entry at the CT's 2017 Quik Pro Gold Coast, finishing 13th after going down to reigning World Champ John John Florence in Round Three.
Seed: Round of 112

Catch the top-ranked QS surfers and competing CT surfers at the Vans US Open of Surfing live daily from July 31 to August 6.

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