The Vans U.S. Open of Surfing has finished up, with new champions being crowned in all areas of competition. From men’s and women’s surfing (including longboarding), to skate and even BMX events, Vans have outdone themselves yet again with another successful and very entertaining event for 2014. The waves unfortunately stayed rather small for the event, though this did not stop some great technical and exciting surfing being produced from all competitors. The invitational Van Doren skateboarding and BMX events also went off with a huge boom, with competitors and spectators all impressed with the contest arena, all taking it to the next level and throwing huge airs and giving the crowds what they wanted to see.
The main event was in the women’s surfing, which on World Championship Tour (WCT) status, saw the best 17 women surfers in the world battle it out for a chance to take home the title. After finishing runner up a number of times through the 2014 season, it was finally time for Tyler Wright to shine, as she took out Stop #6 of 10 of the Women’s WCT at the famous Huntington Beach Pier in California. Wright reigned over 5 time World Champion Stephanie Gilmore in the Final, linking manoeuvres from outside to in, dominating through her technical surfing abilities. Though locking in a strong score in the 9′s, Gilmore was unable to match the scores Wright had scraped together, falling short of her U.S. Open campaign goals. The win moves Wright up the rankings, now seated at #4 on the Women’s World Championship Tour.
“It’s been a long event and really enjoyable for me,” said Tyler Wright. “I wouldn’t be here without my team and they mean the world to me. All the girls have been ripping this entire event and it’s been wonderful to see. I felt really relaxed and comfortable and everything has gone really well for me this week and I loved it.”
Though many would think this could be a huge game changer in the overall rankings, Stephanie does not seem to worried. “When you do your throwaways I guess I’m in a good spot,” said Gilmore. “You can’t really calculate too much right now. More than anything, I’m excited for the rest of the year and to be able to surf Trestles, France, Portugal and finish the year off in Honolua Bay.”
Though being seen as almost its own event in surfing all together, the main surfing event for the men was a Qualifying Series (QS) Prime event, in which surfers battle it out to collect points and try to gain a lucky spot on the following years World Championship Tour. Filipe Toledo continued his impressive display of surfing, winning the event against fellow Brazilian Willian Cardoso in the Final. By throwing together a 8.73 and another strong score, Toledo used his terrific aerial skills to beat his fellow countryman, both however, stoked to see Brazil taking the top results as they flew their nations flag high with pride. Filipe takes home $100,000 in prize money and can now add his name to the honourable list of U.S. Open champions. Local favourite Brett Simpson was a popular nomination when people were asked who would take out the event for this year. The American perhaps cracked under pressure from the huge crowds and was knocked in Semi Final 2, by none other than Toledo, the event champion.
“I’m super stoked and excited,” said Toledo. “It was an amazing heat against Willian (Cardoso). He’s been surfing really well the whole competition. I just turned my game to the air game so I could do what I love to do and it worked. I had to surf though a lot of pain with my ankle (following a sprain in Africa) and just put it out of my mind. I felt comfortable in these conditions. I won the junior in 2011 and was just feeling confident throughout the week.”
Australian Matt Banting also claimed another win for the 2014 season, winning the Junior surfing event after a great 9 point ride. Banting competed in both the Junior event and the main event, though was eliminated in Quaterfinal 3. Hawaiian super shredder Bailey Nagy also won the Women’s Junior event, and reigning champion Justin Quintal won the longboard event, the Vans Joel Tudor Duct Tape Invitational. All in all, an absolute great event showcasing all types of surfing, something we all love!
21 year old Raven Tershy took the Van Doren Invitational Skateboarding event, after a long day of all competitors putting their bodies on the line to win the prestigious event. Tershy tore apart the concrete bowl built specifically for this event, impressing judges and spectators alike and thankfully can now add the win to his already impressive resume. Tershy combined his vert skills with street, as he displayed a series of long grinds and slides, with big airs and the inclusion of impressive flip tricks. Gary Young won the BMX invitational event, also producing huge airs and impressive combinations of some of the hardest tricks in the book.
*Imagery by Brandon Means/Justin Kosman/Michael Lallande
SurfStitch would like to congratulate all competitors on their great results, particularly those lucky enough to take out their chosen events! It is exciting to think what is to come from these athletes next! Either way, the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing will never disappoint.
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