The Vans US Open of Surfing - Men's Jr ripped through Quarterfinal action and the world got a dose of pro surfing's next generation as Semifinalists emerged.
San Clemente's Cole Houshmand blasted his way to a Quarterfinal win to kick off the action as fellow hometown surfer Kade Matson joined into the Semis. Rising threat Samuel Pupo was on his way to a spot in the Semis until being called. Both continue on with a chance at earning valuable points toward the Pro Junior rankings to begin the back half of 2017.
"To see all the Women's CT and Men's QS, just all the people I look up to, has been an amazing experience," Houshmand said. "Having both here is a little intimidating and inspiring, seeing all the guys at the QS10,000 level is where I want to be someday so I'm continually working on that goal. I'm feeling really good after losing out in the Quarterfinals last year so it's nice to redeem myself and move on to the Semis."
San Clemente's reign continued with Crosby Colapinto posting a brilliant performance of his own -- the highest of Quarterfinal action with a 14.23 heat total. But, Hawaii's Elijah Fox made his way past the ever-dangerous Eithan Osborne and spoiled regional points for the Ventura, Calif., native.
2017 Australasia Pro Junior Champion Reef Heazlewood has taken to the road following a dominating performance throughout his junior series and prepares for the World Junior Championships (WJC) -- along with his first full year on the QS next year. Heazlewood got to work early and kept his rhythm throughout the heat despite John Mel dropping the day's highest single score of an 8.67. The Australian looks to win this event and continue the international dominance once again after Canary Islands' Luis Diaz won last year.
"I've got a great a support system here with my girlfriend Summer [Macedo], mom, as well as my team manager, so it's a good crew and means a lot to have them all here," Heazlewood said. The Australasia events are done for the year so I've moved on to the QS events and it's been grindy, but I'm enjoying it. It's such a good experience and I'm looking forward to what happens next year on the QS."
Hawaiian Cody Young played ultimate spoiler for North America Pro Junior rankings leader Ryland Rubens with a big win as Che Allan gained ground by making his way into the Semifinals as well. The Hawaiian may not be able to earn points here, but soaking up valuable experience against the regional contingent will pay dividends in the future.
The Vans US Open of Surfing Men's Pro Junior action will get back underway this weekend at Huntington Beach.