Current WQS points leader Matt Banting fires a warning shot at the ‘CTers in the event. Photo: Taras
Malia Manuel stretched all the way to a 3rd place result, tying her best performance of the year. Photo: Sherm
Brett Simpson got bumped by Filipe Toledo in the Semis, but the hometown crowd was anything but displeased with Brett’s performance. Photo: Sherm
Stephanie Gilmore bottom turns while a kid in a tan shirt sternly critiques it. Maybe he prefers more of a vertical approach? Photo: Antoine Justes
Big Bill out the back and Little Fil closer in. This is the exchange in which Filipe snatched the win. Photo: Greg Gyselinck
…but some are also worth a hundred thousand dollars. Filipe Toledo, your 2014 Vans Us Open of Surfing champion. Photo: Jimmicane
Filipe and Willian stopped by the SURFING office together right before the contest started. We’re not saying that has anything to do with them both making the final, but we’re not saying it doesn’t. Photo: Greg Gyselinck
Flowers on her head, world title on her mind. Steph Gilmore is back in contention this year. Photo: Greg Gyselinck
Many great stories were born during the undomesticated animal that was the 2014 Vans US Open of Surfing. Stories about wild nights. About sex. About creeps on the beach, teens on the street and the bridge between those two parties of people: Jägermeister. But never mind any of that because today, the most important story of the event wrote itself. It was a story about surfing.
After a long week of sometimes fun, sometimes frustrating waves, it was time for the finals. Stephanie Gilmore and Tyler Wright were the two gals who wore Huntington Beach the best and so they waltzed into the Women’s final. It was a slow dance at first — even requiring a heat restart — but things sped up once the feet started finding the wax. Tyler got the best wave of heat, earned 8.67 points for it and Steph had no response. After trading wins with Carissa Moore last year, HB was Tyler’s first win of 2014. Carissa still sits atop this year’s ratings but after this event, the difference between Carissa and Stephanie (who sits in 4th) is a petty 4000 points. It’s a four pony race. Mares, rather.
Then came Filipe Toledo and Willian Cardoso for the Men’s final. Let’s touch on that matchup for a moment — Willian is basically two Filipes. He is a hulk and if he were a marsupial hulk, he could fit Filipe in his pouch and nurture him. Their surfing is pretty black and white too. Buffalo Bill can part the seas with a single turn and Filipe is the most consistent aerialist in the world right now. You couldn’t cherry-pick a more drastically different pair of surfers and maybe that’s just what makes Huntington Beach what it is — weird, wild, layered, unpredictable and pretty tan. Turns out the judges were more in favor of Filipe’s brand of surfing. Although Big Bill had the highest scoring wave of the heat, Filipe found two big scores and ran away with it. He just moved his entire family from Brazil to San Clemente and they swarmed him, trudging through chest-deep water to celebrate this little moment of surrealism. Welcome to America, folks. Sure makes for one hell of a story.