NewsVans US Open of Surfing - Women's Jr.Alan Cleland

5 Takeaways from Vans US Open: The Pro Junior's Story Unfolds

The Vans US Open of Surfing Men's Pro Junior and Women's Pro Junior events have come and gone in a blink of an eye after a marathon week of action in Huntington Beach. While the waves were subpar, the surfing was certainly next level as some of the best 18-and-under delivered for the massive crowd in attendance.

Here's a brief look back on some things you may have missed in a whirlwind week of surfing:

1. Hawaii Domination Continues

Zoe McDougall and Barron Mamiya of Hawaii are the 2018 US Open of Surfing Pro Jr. Champions in Huntington Beach, Ca. Zoe McDougall, Barron Mamiya WSL / Kenneth Morris

Barron Mamiya and Zoe McDougall continue the island's reign over Huntington Beach after Cody Young and Brisa Hennessy staked their claim on one of surfing's biggest platforms.

Mamiya's commanding performance in the Final showed that he is still very much a QS threat. He showcased his brilliant air game and power surfing in the small Huntington conditions.

Barron Mamiya (HAW) advances to the Semifinals of the 2018 Pro Junior VANS US Open of Surfing after placing second in Quarterfinal Heat 3 at Huntington Beach, California, USA. Barron Mamiya WSL / Sean Rowland

"I'm super amped to keep this event title in Hawaii after coming into it getting prepared for the QS, but to win is pretty special," Mamiya said. "There wasn't a lot of focus in the junior event since it's the first year I'm really going for the QS and now I'll take this confidence moving forward. I got a good result at the beginning of this year, but I've just been putting too much pressure on myself by thinking I have to do well...I lost sight on enjoying it."

Zoe McDougall of Hawaii surfing during the final of the Womens Jr Series at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA, USA Zoe McDougall WSL / Sean Rowland

McDougall and Summer Macedo finished 1-2 in a wave-for-wave battle -- leaving Californians Samantha Sibley and Kayla Coscino fighting for a third-place finish rather than a US Open title. While the North America contingent continues to show progress within the regional events, when internationals are introduced, particularly on the Women's Pro Junior stage, wrenches in the system are soon to follow.

"The atmosphere here is incredible and I couldn't imagine a better place to take a win," McDougall said. "The plan all along was to be standing here and I'm just so happy right now. I didn't know I had that heat until the horn blew. All those girls were ripping. To have Summer (Macedo) alongside me and to battle with her for the win, that was so fun."

2. North America's Top Talents Stumble

Eithan Osborne (USA) at the Los Cabos Open of Surf. Eithan Osborne -- current No. 2 -- earned his second throwaway with three events remaining. WSL / Andrew Nichols

It was a devastating event for the likes of No. 1 and No. 2 on both the men and women's side of things. Both No. 1 Crosby Colapinto and No. 2 Eithan Osborne were eliminated in the Quarterfinals, as well as No. 2 Alyssa Spencer on the women's side, before current No. 1 Kirra Pinkerton finally showed a sign of letting her foot off the pedal with a Semifinal performance.

Despite these results, both Colapinto and Osborne -- as well as Pinkerton -- retain their spots, but now the pressure is on to perform at each remaining event as the gap narrows for the men. Pinkerton can take comfort in knowing that she still remains at the top of the women's regional rankings by a hefty 1,265 points moving into the final two events of their season.

Kirra Pinkerton of USA before Heat 3 of Round 2 at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA, USA Kirra Pinkerton had a week to remember despite not making the Pro Junior Final after earning her first-ever CT wildcard appearance. WSL / Sean Rowland

3. Alan Cleland and Cole Houshmand Breakthrough

The Vans US Open did allow for a showcase of the next in line, Mexico's Alan Cleland, as he earned a third-place finish to an extraordinary run in Huntington. The 16-year-old's confidence was lifted after a shining Round 2 performance in Acapulco and he carried that right into California.

"I tried to smash that one, but there's always next time," Cleland said. "My confidence level went way past what I thought it could go and just psyched for the next few events. Hopefully I can take a win at one of them. I just want to win, make it to that Top 4 for a chance at Worlds and then win that one for Mexico. It feels amazing to represent my country and I'm proud to say I'm Mexican. I always try to keep our flag up top ."

Cole Houshmand of USA surfing during the final of the Jr Mens Series at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA, USA Houshmand's last-second air fell just short of the requirement and finished runner-up. WSL / Sean Rowland

Houshmand's 2018 hasn't been what the San Clemente native is used to, save for a runner-up in Acapulco before this event, but he still shows signs of brilliance in and out of the jersey. The 17-year-old finally made his breakthrough to the Final after not doing so since his win at the end of last season and left Huntington beaming for what's next.

"I'm stoked to make that Final, it's always great to earn a spot into the last heat, but I really wanted to win that one," Houshmand said. "That would've been one of the best wins of my career so far, but I'm not complaining with a second-place finish. I really needed that since I missed the first event of the year and hopefully this really kickstarts my way to Worlds."

5. Samantha Sibley Into WJC Qualifying Spot

Samantha Sibley of the USA on her way in from plabing Second in her Quarterfinal Heat in the Womens Jr. Pro at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Ca. Sibley's learning one step at a time and enjoying the ride. WSL / Kenneth Morris

An emotional loss for Sibley does have a silver-lining to it -- she's into No. 2 on the rankings, overtaking reigning North America Regional Champion Alyssa Spencer -- though Spencer missed the Los Cabos Open of Surf.

It was a hard-fought event for the San Clemente native. Sibley ended with a third-place finish (giving her 560 points) and a chance at qualifying for the World Junior Championship if she can maintain this momentum.

Samantha Sibley of USA surfing during the final of the Womens Jr Series at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA, USA Samantha Sibley WSL / Sean Rowland

"It puts me into the runnings for a chance at Worlds and I'm pretty stoked about that," Sibley said. "I learned so much in that heat and I made that same mistake in the Supergirl, so to make that mistake again shows I'm really just learning. I just kind of grommed out and lost my priority on a few waves when I shouldn't have. It's amazing to have RVCA add an event, I love the wave at 54th (Newport) and it's super exciting."

4. Kayla Coscino'sLong-Awaited Final, Kade Matson Stays in Top 4

Kayla Coscino of USA surfing during the final of the Womens Jr Series at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, CA, USA Coscino's form was top-notch all week and earned a well-deserved Finals appearance. WSL / Sean Rowland

Competing at the WSL level isn't easy and can prove wearing on competitors, but for Coscino, the patience and perseverance paid off. The Laguna Beach, California, surfer put on a show and helped eliminated current No. 1 Pinkerton in their Semifinal bout for her first-ever Finals appearance.

Even though it became a battle for third against fellow Californian Samantha Sibley, the 16-year-old couldn't have been more excited.

"I'd be really excited if I can make a run to the Top 2, at the beginning of the year it wasn't my goal, but if I could that'd be my dream," Coscino said. "I've definitely been working on my mental game and trying to have confidence in my surfing, and I think that's really helped me. It'll also be my senior year of high school next year so I'm just trying to enjoy it all and have, not worry about results, and I think it'll all work out."

Kade Matson of the USA advanced to the Quarterfinals of the US Open Trials after winning Heat 4 of Round of Thirty Two at Huntington Beach, California, USA. Matson notches another Finals spot and hopes to stay in the Top 4 remain strong. WSL / Kenneth Morris

San Clemente's incredible US Open run delivered some of the best performances in the last few days and Matson was among them -- finishing with a fourth-place spot. The 16-year-old cracked his second Final of 2018 and now sits comfortably within the Top 4 by over 400 points. But, there's a lot of work to be done with three events remaining for the men and Matson isn't done yet.

"It feels good to make that Final even though I wish I had a few more chances, but it's a good momentum boost and I'm just focused on getting to Worlds," Matson said. "This is a huge result toward that so I'm looking forward to the rest of the year. We're all good friends here and all my friends from back home came up to support, it was so cool to have all that and just to have Cole in that Final was great."

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