- WSL / Kenneth Morris

Hurricane Frank continued to provide jaw-dropping moments at the Vans US Open of Surfing, Stop No. 4 of the World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS), with five-to-seven foot, occasional plus, swell powering its way through the event. Competitors who found themselves in the right place when gems approached took full advantage and posted brilliant showcases of top-tier performance surfing. Men's Round of 48 and Round of 24, Heats 1 - 4 were wrapped with the first surfers locked into the all-important Round of 16.

Imaikalani deVault Keeps His Requalification Hunt Alive
Highlights Day 4: Imai deVault Delivers Excellence, Heavy Eliminations Send CT Elite Packing At Vans US Open Of Surfing
A 15.74 heat total from deVault reminds spectators why he was on Tour, Challenger Series threats rise to the occasion to deliver hefty upsets to former CT standouts.

A star-studded affair kicked off the afternoon, Round of 24 action with former Championship Tour (CT) competitors Ezekiel Lau and Imaikalani deVault taking on world-class talent Mateus Herdy. Maui, Hawaii's deVault left nothing to chance and unloaded his heavy-footed forehand into Huntington Beach walls to garner a 15.17 (out of a possible 20) heat total - including an excellent 8.17 (out of a possible 10).

"That was a blast out there and you kind of just feel freed up after I got two pretty good scores," said deVault. "It's amazing (to get the highest score of the day). I wasn't going into that heat with any expectations just seeing guys make it through with two five-point rides so I was looking for the bigger sets. That was the game plan and I got lucky to find a couple."

Vans US Open Of Surfing Post Show Day 4: Buzzer-Beaters Make the Difference On Insane Day Of HB Competition
Heavy upsets were aplenty among the top-ranked Challenger Series competitors as emerging threats made their statements. Taichi Wakita's Last-Minute Heroics Sends Shockwaves in Round of 48. Plus Nolan Rapoza, Cole Houshmand continue to flurry with the local crowd behind them

Heavy upsets were aplenty among the top-ranked Challenger Series competitors as emerging threats made their statements.

Taichi Wakita drew big cheers from the crowd in recognition of his dying-minute heroics against former CT stars Julian Wilson and Ryan Callinan. Wakita posted his best Challenger Series performance to date in Ballito with an Equal 9th and looks to continue a showcase of his aggressive forehand, as well as tactical prowess, deep into this event.

"I just had to push my limit, but I'm super exhausted (laughs)," said Wakita. "I knew it was going to be tough so I surfed this morning longer than I usually do just to find out where the wave was breaking. It paid off because even though I was getting pounded, I knew exactly where I needed to be positioned."

Also, former CT rookie Liam O'Brien, who was plagued with injury and unable to compete during his first year, stamped his authority alongside the likes of Cole Houshmand, Ramzi Boukhiam, Ian Gentil, Eithan Osborne and many more while the likes of Top 10 Challenger Series competitors faced elimination including Leonardo Fioravanti, Gatien Delahaye, and Herdy.

Jadson Andre Displays Veteran Dominance
Jadson Andre (BRA) Jadson Andre (BRA) translated his experience and knowledge of Huntington Beach into another heat win. - WSL / Beatriz Ryder

Nolan Rapoza continued to feed off the energy from the Huntington Beach crowd and advanced behind CT veteran Jadson Andre who delivered an impeccable performance against countrymen, former CT competitor, Ian Gouveia and Matheus Navarro. One of the sport's most beloved competitors, Andre gives his all in every heat and showed his potential in tough conditions with a 12.84 heat total.

"When you come into Huntington you never expect that you're going to surf in big, closeout waves," said Andre. "I'm glad I had the boards from J-Bay with me because I needed that size for today. You can see how powerful the waves are right now and it's a lot of luck to be in the right place at the right time."

Fellow Brazilians Joao Chianca and Edgard Groggia are also into the Round of 24 with clutch performances as Willian Cardoso (BRA) prevailed for a spot into the Round of 16.

Peru's first-ever male CT representative, Lucca Mesinas, is in pursuit of making his dreams happen once again with a big Round of 48, Heat 5 victory before yet another win in the Round of 24.

The next call will be made tomorrow, August 3 at 7:05 a.m. PDT for a possible 7:35 a.m. PDT start for men's Round of 24 Heat 5.

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