Vans US Open of Surfing
World Surf League Men's QS10000
Women's WSL Championship Tour event
Huntington Beach Pier, California
25 - 31 July, 2016
Griffin Colapinto & Ethan Ewing announced as WSL Wildcards
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 15 July, 2016 - The World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Qualification Series (QS) returns to the iconic shores of Huntington Beach, CA., July 23 – 31 for the Vans US Open Men’s QS10000.
The US Open has witnessed some incredible moments on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier since joining the WSL schedule in 1994 with an all-star list of past champions that includes 11-time WSL Champion Kelly Slater, three-time World Champion Andy Irons, 2001 World Champion C.J. Hobgood, and three-time event winner Rob Machado -- who has a peak named after him at the historical break.
Vans took over as the major sponsor of the US Open to witness the “Brazilian Storm” in full effect with Filipe Toledo (BRA) winning in 2013, followed by Alejo Muniz (BRA) in 2014 to solidify the Brazilian’s hold on Huntington Beach.
But, it was Japanese new-comer Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) who broke that trend and claimed his first major victory in front of thousands lining the pier and shoreline. The Chiba, Japan native earned a near-perfect 9.17 on his second-to-last wave of the Final to emerge victorious over Tanner Hendrickson (HAW).
The now 19-year-old is preparing for the Vans US Open at the Murasaki Shonan Open in his native country before coming to Huntington -- something he’s not taking lightly.
“I’m so excited to come back to Huntington and I’m hoping to get a result there since I haven’t put together a good event this year,” Ohhara said. “It’s great to get the jersey on before Huntington and try to make some heats to get my heat strategy in place.
The US Open is an event I can see myself doing well in so I really want to try my best and see what follows. It’d be great to turn my season around and get things going.”
Griffin Colapinto (USA), winner of last year’s Vans US Open Junior event, has earned a wildcard into the Vans US Open Men’s QS10000 Round of 112. The San Clemente native has grown up in a jersey and now finds himself on the WSL Qualifying Series this year in addition to his final year on the WSL Junior Tour.
Working to earn a respectable spot on the QS and prepare for qualification in 2017, this event could be a pivotal moment in the young surfer’s career. Recently crowned 2016 Australasia Junior Champion, Ethan Ewing (AUS), has also been named a wildcard in the Men’s QS event and will compete alongside Colapinto in the Round of 112.
“I’m so excited to get the opportunity as the wildcard with Huntington having always been a special place for me,” Colapinto said. “I won my first-ever contest there when I was 11 and the biggest win of my career last year in the Men’s Junior.
It’s crazy how high the level is and how much experience you need to make heats in the QS -- I’m glad I’m starting early. I’ve set some high goals for myself this year and really want to win the Junior event again, as well as finish third or better in the QS.”
The Vans US Open Trials Winner, held July 23-24, 2016, will determine the single remaining spot into the main event.