The Vans US Open of Surfing wrapped in solid three to five foot conditions at Huntington Beach with some awe-inspiring performances culminating in Sage Erickson and Yago Dora taking out the title.
The 2019 women’s event marked a historic milestone for the QS with the first-ever QS 10,000 and equal prize money at the Vans US Open. Erickson claimed the all-California Final over defending event winner Courtney Conlogue (USA) in incredible fashion with one of the day’s best performances — a 15.43 (out of a possible 20) heat total. The Ojai native’s backhand went to work while sitting in second place and smashed an excellent 8.17 (out of a possible 10) to push herself in the lead and leave Conlogue in need of an 8.90 for the remainder of the Final.
|“I shed a lot of tears when I came in from the water and I just want to say this is dedicated to my grandma who passed two weeks ago,” Erickson said. “It’s crazy how it takes someone to leave for everything they’re about to really set in. A lot of the lessons and things she believed in me, I have to speak over myself here for a second for her and it’s just about the people you value in your life. Whether it’s your friends or your family or even the people you can make a mark on and encourage.”|
Erickson had to deal with an all-star cast to get to the Final that truly showed the importance of this event with the competitors involved — defeating CT veteran Malia Manuel (HAW) and former Vans US Open winner Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) along the way.
“To be home in California, have a heat against Courtney and to be 10,000 — it’s more than just points,” Erickson added. “It’s equal pay, it’s
Yago Dora Takes his first win at Vans US Open of Surfing
The high-flying antics of Dora came firing right out of the gates on finals day with the day’s top single-scoring wave of a near-perfect 9.27 after soaring through the air and landing it smoothly. The Brasilian CT elite had to overcome one of the Vans US Open’s most insatiable dark horses to date, Liam O’Brien (AUS). Dora’s excellent 8.60 on yet another massive air-reverse before shooting through the pier to finish it off in the Final ultimately sealed his first-ever QS 10,000 victory.
“It feels so incredible right now and I just want to thank everyone who showed up today — it’s just amazing to surf in front of a huge crowd,” Dora said. “It gets me fired up to do my best and that’s what I did today. I gave everything I had and it worked out for me. I just want to congratulate all the finalists and especially Liam, he’s been surfing amazing.”
This win skyrockets Dora 46 spots to No. 4 on the QS ranks and in a position to secure his CT spot for 2020 heading into a vital back-half of 2019. The 23-year-old decimated the hopes of now QS No. 1 Jorgann Couzinet’s(FRA) opportunity of separating himself from the pack in the Semifinals and surviving a scare from former CT competitor Alex Ribiero (BRA) in the Quarterfinals. Now, the Brasilian sets his eyes on Tahiti for one of the CT’s most sought-after events.
“We had waves for nine days which is amazing for Huntington (laughs),” Dora added. “I came out of my house with a goal to win this event and I did it. I can’t even explain how happy I am right now.”