The Vans US Open of Surfing - Men's QS Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 is a massive beast of a surf contest. Between Saturday and today there have been five rounds of hotly contested trials heats comprised of surfers scratching to get into the all-important Round of 96, where they hopefully get to face off with the world's best. QS10000-level events like the US Open attract top talent from the Championship Tour (CT), and here in Huntington Beach 22 of the top 34 are competing. Joe Turpel, Strider Wasilewski and Rosy Hodge break down the day's action.
Today the CT contingent was led by Kolohe Andino, who earned a commanding win in the opening heat of the round. Andino set the tone for the current and former CT stars who followed. Seven out of eight heats run were won by these guys. Ethan Ewing and Ryan Callinan advance together out of Heat 2 over up and coming threats Miguel Tudela and Samuel Pupo. Alejo Muniz and Kanoa Igarashi advanced together over Willian Cardoso and Tanner Hendrickson. In many other QS events, these heats read like Finals, but here in Huntington, things are just getting started.
Joan Duru, Jeremy Flores, Josh Kerr, Stuart Kennedy and Davey Cathels held serve as well in their tough matches, making the most of the peaky south swell hitting the south side. With the forecast calling for playful size surf all week, we're bound to see performances levels spike with the pressure only mounting. A good chunk of the current CT stars are here for good reason: They're in desperate need of QS points if they want to requalify. The only CT surfer in the QS Top 10 right now is Jordy Smith, and he doesn't need a backup ranking.
Leonardo Fioravanti, Ethan Ewing, Ezekiel Lau, Kennedy and Kerr are all in need of some serious QS points at this point of the season, as their CT rankings are hardly secure. This event is the second of only five QS10,000-level events all season, which means the battles being fought at the Huntington pier this week could be career-defining.
On Tuesday the CT women will hit the water early, with the remainder of the Round of 96 set to go in the afternoon, conditions permitting. And there's no shortage of stars to watch. Defending Champion Filipe Toledo will be landing after his recent most recent blast off in J-Bay. He'll be joined by a long list of aces, including Yago Dora, Italo Ferreira and current QS leader Jesse Mendes. Connor O'Leary, Conner Coffin, Caio Ibelli and Griffin Colapinto are also on tap.
This thing is just getting started, but the burners are on full blast. Tune in on Tuesday for your next fix.