Local surfers dominate US Open of Surfing final weekend – Daily News

It was a Southern California surf showdown.

San Clemente surfer Kolohe Andino took off to stay in first place in his three-man streak, but struggling for second place to stay in contention at the US Open of Surfing were fellow surfer from San Clemente Pat Gudauskas and Nolan Rapoza from Long Beach. .

Could it be Gudauskas, a veteran surfer who has surfed the contest for almost two decades, or the young Rapoza, who grew up surfing in Huntington Beach and hungry for big results?

The surfers remained busy chasing the waves, a dozen between the two competitors during the 30 minutes of heat. But it was a critical score of 7 points that pushed Rapoza to advance to the quarterfinals at the big event.

“I am madly excited. I feel like I am better meeting my expectations, ”said Rapoza. “It’s really good, like I’m living my dream.”

The list of remaining surfers was reduced on Friday, September 24, on the south side of Huntington Beach Pier, with several locals claiming victory to advance to the final two days of the event, with the finals set for Sunday afternoon.

  • Kolohe Andino from San Clemente, Calif., Surfs at the US Open of Surfing on the pier in Huntington Beach, Calif. On Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Patrick Gadauskas from San Clemente, CA surfs at the US Open of Surfing on the Pier in Huntington Beach, CA on Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Sawyer Lindblad from San Clemente, CA surfs at the US Open of Surfing at the Pier in Huntington Beach, CA on Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Caroline Marks from San Clemente, CA, surfs at the US Open of Surfing on the pier in Huntington Beach, CA, on Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Fans watch the action from the beach as Mihimana Braye surfs at the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif. On Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Sawyer Lindblad from San Clemente, CA surfs at the US Open of Surfing on the Pier in Huntington Beach, CA on Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Fans watch the action from the pier during the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Courtney Conlogue from Santa Ana, CA, surfs at the US Open of Surfing on the pier in Huntington Beach, CA, on Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Kolohe Andino of San Clemente, Calif., Surfs at the US Open of Surfing at the Pier in Huntington Beach, Calif. On Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Courtney Conlogue from Santa Ana, CA, surfs at the US Open of Surfing on the pier in Huntington Beach, CA, on Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Fans watch the action from the beach during the US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif. On Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Sawyer Lindblad from San Clemente, CA surfs at the US Open of Surfing at the Pier in Huntington Beach, CA on Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Nolan Rapoza of Long Beach, Calif., Surfs at the US Open of Surfing on Pier in Huntington Beach, Calif. On Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Nolan Rapoza of Long Beach, Calif., Celebrates after riding a wave at the US Open of Surfing on Pier in Huntington Beach, Calif. On Monday, September 22, 2021. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register / SCNG )

The day started with the women taking to the water, greeted in clean but frustrated conditions as the tide rose higher throughout the morning.

San Clemente surfer Caroline Marks got off to an early start, posting a 5.17 with a right-hander, but was forced to wait patiently until the end of the inning for a second score, which puts her in the lead against the Australian Dimity Stoyles.

“It’s a beautiful morning, the waves are a bit rough here but happy to come out on top,” said Marks, an Olympian who joined the sport’s debut in Japan over the summer. “I think it’s a completely different swell today. Seems like it’s kind of a typical Huntington southerly swell, longer lulls, but when they come it’s super fun.

San Clemente’s Sawyer Lindblad exploded in his run with an 11.67, edging Australia’s Macy Callaghan, who had a 10.93.

Santa Ana’s Courtney Conlogue wasted no time in her heat, pumping her board near the pier stilts and shooting huge tunes on the indoor section. Halfway through the heat, Courtney had a steep wave, still off the pier, giving spectators above something to cheer about, using huge turns on a steep wave to earn another solid score to overtake his opponent.

The waves slowed down so much that when the men took to the water, they had to restart the timer after 10 minutes without waves.

But the ocean instantly lit up when Andino, Gudauskas, and Rapoza touched the water, with non-stop action throughout the heat, all the surfers soaring over the lip and rocking. big turns on a flurry of waves.

On Rapoza’s 7-point score that brought Gudauskas back to third place, he took a big step back and followed with a tail swing inside, eliciting cheers on the sand as he clenched his fists. joy.

Gudauskas scratched a wave just as the buzzer sounded, ending with a sleek float at the end – but the score fell just short of what he needed to move forward.

The other two times Rapoza surfed at the US Open, he was knocked out in the first round. Thus, his last victory in the round is the best result for him to date in the event.

“It’s really hard trying to tell you in your mind that you can beat these guys, because you’ve admired them all your life, but all the time I thought to myself that I’m worth it and I can beat it. these guys and I beat these guys to get to where I want to be, ”Rapoza said.

The last second wave worked for Griffin Colapinto during his round, where the San Clemente surfer found himself in third place and in danger as seconds ticked by.

With just 10 seconds on the clock, Colapinto threw two big moves and finished the wave strong on the inside – winning an 8, the heat’s highest score, taking first place and moving on to the next round.

The US Open of Surfing has big implications for surfers hoping to join the rankings of the best in the world; this is the first of four Challenger Series events organized by the World Surf League offering big points towards qualifying for the round the world. The US Open of Surfing is one of four stops, the next in Portugal, then France and the last event is in Hawaii.

Two-time US Open champion Cole Houshmand of San Clemente and Kanoa Igarashi of Huntington Beach both advanced in the same heat after taking the top two spots. Kade Matson, also of San Clemente, also won his race to qualify.

For Rapoza, moving forward on Friday brings him closer to his goal of joining the best in the world.

“It would be crazy, I feel closer and closer to qualifying with each result,” he said. “If I can qualify for the day of the finals it will put me at ease for the rest of the year. “


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