Sage Erickson (USA) and Kanoa Igarashi (USA) claimed victory today at the Vans US Open of Surfing in two-to-four foot (0.5 - 1 metre) waves on the southside of the Huntington Beach Pier. A capacity crowd witnessed Erickson clinch the win at Stop No. 6 of 10 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) and Igarashi take out the Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 event.
Igarashi saved his best performance for last and opened up with an incredible, near-perfect, 9.63 in the Final -- the highest single-scoring wave of the men’s event. The local hero bashed three major backhand attacks and finished on the shorebreak in front of his hometown crowd to the eruption of applause. Igarashi then took that momentum into his next wave with two more critical backhand snaps that earned him a 5.60 and put an in-form Tomas Hermes (BRA) in a combination situation -- something Hermes was unable to come back from after Igarashi closed the door in the dying minutes with a 7.60.
The 19-year-old was beside himself as his friends and family rushed in the water to the crowd’s deafening applause for his first-ever Vans US Open of Surfing QS 10,000 win.
“This is crazy, just getting two Semifinal results here hurt so much, but it finally came,” Igarashi said. “I felt like this was going to be my year. A lot of people kept telling me it was and I just believed in it and it came true. This place means the world to me. I learned how to surf here. It’s just so special to be here with my friends and family. This contest means so much to me, it was the first place I ever watched pro surfing. Just sitting on the beach watching guys like Kalani Robb battle it out was incredible. I’ve just wanted to be around these guys and to win the US Open with this crowd here -- it’s a day I’ll never forget.”
Photo: WSL / Morris