Johanne Defay, Hiroto Ohhara Win The 2015 US Open Of Surfing
An estimated 75,000 people crowded the Huntington Beach Pier south side on Sunday, August 2, to witness the finals of the 2015 Vans US Open of Surfing (USOS). Shredding an inconsistent swell, Men's and Women's finalists went head to head for the $100,000 and $60,000 crowns, respectively. While Huntington Beach's own Kanoa Igarashi and Courtney Conlogue ripped into the Semifinals, it was France and Japan who reigned victorious this year, with 18-year-old Hiroto Ohhara and 21-year-old Johanne Defay taking the wins.
Both winners made history at the event, with Ohhara becoming the first Japanese champion in the history of the USOS, and Defay besting two former champions for France's first win at the event.
Defay claimed her first elite Samsung Galaxy World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) victory, taking out Australia's Sally Fitzgibbons in a tense Final. The win earns her 10,000 points and a five-place bump from 11th to sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard.
"I don’t think I can put it into words," said Defay, who ousted good friend Bianca Buitendag of South Africa in a neck-and-neck Semifinals heat with a narrow 0.01 margin win.
Ohhara defeated homegrown Igarashi in the Semifinal of the Men's Qualifying Series (QS) 10,000 event, then took out Tanner Hendrickson of Hawaii in a hard-fought battle of the underdogs Final. With his historic win, Ohhara propelled 68 places up on the QS rankings to 13th place. He's now within reach of qualifying for the Top 34 in 2016.
"I don't know how to say it, I'm just so stoked," said Ohhara, who, at his young age, was doused with Perrier by Hendrickson during the awards ceremony in lieu of the traditional champagne.
As far as we know, Ohhara will put his winnings toward a new set of wheels...once he gets his driver's license.
Here's a look back at the day's numbers:
Women's CT Final Results:
1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.54
2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.83
Women's CT Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.17 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.16
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.83 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 7.50
Men's QS 10,000 Final Results:
1: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 14.50
2: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 12.90
Men's QS 10,000 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 13.50 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 13.16
SF 2: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 13.24 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.07
Men's QS 10,000 Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 14.00 def. Nathan Yeomans (USA) 11.40
QF 2: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 14.67 def. Ryan Callinan (AUS) 14.54
QF 3: Filipe Toledo (BRA) 14.93 def. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 14.30
QF 4: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 13.26 def. Kolohe Andino (USA) 7.93
San Diego's Dennis Enarson won the Van Doren Invitational on Sunday, claiming the $10,000 prize, "highlighting an outstanding final run packed with variety and flow, and capped off by an incredible whip transfer from the deep end and over the elbow," according to USOS. View full event results here.
Thank you to the fearless athletes who competed at this year's USOS, to the organizers for putting on a family-friendly, sports-focused event, and to the fans for supporting surf, skate, and BMX. Until next year...