Written by Lauren Taniyama
The definition of a US Open of Surfing double threat is an individual who competes in both the Junior Pro and the Prime event in Huntington Beach, CA. The largest surf competition in the world hosts nine days of non-stop surfing competition. These double threats can potentially surf 16 heats throughout these nine days. Although the heats are only 30 minutes, the preparation that goes into this cannot be underestimated. Surfing everyday of the open means that you need to deal calmly with the crowds and keep your focus through the rowdiness. This is not an easy task.
Those up to this challenge this year are Filipe Toledo (BRA), Keanu Asing (HAW), Conner Coffin (USA), Jack Freestone (AUS), Caio Ibelli (BRA), Andrew Doheny (USA) and Dax McGill (HAW). These kids are frothing to qualify and they are making it known to the rest of the pro tour by surfing as many heats as possible to get the experience, not to mention the points.
Dax McGill is the only girl to surf in both events this year. She is into the Quarterfinals of the Junior event and is in the Round 2 up against Tyler Wright who just came off a final in France. Wildcards are known to stir up the competition and Dax is definitely good enough to contend with the top ladies on tour.
Making it out of the trials, Conner Coffin went down in Round 1 of the main event surfing against an in form Gabriel Medina and Granger Larsen. Conner continued to surf well in the Juniors event, making it to the Quarterfinals to surf on Thursday, August 2nd.
Getting seeded into the event last minute were Freestone and Doheny. However, they also fell short, and placed 3rd in Rd 1 of the main event. Doheny is still in the Juniors event, surfing the Quarterfinals on August 2nd. Freestone was knocked out in Round 2 of the Juniors and is done surfing for the event.
Ibelli conquered Damien Hobgood and Marc Lacomare , coming in 2nd to his Brazilian compatriot Wilian Cardosa in Round 1. He is scheduled to surf against John John, 2-time US Open Champ Brett Simpson and Gabe Kling semifinalist at the HB Pierside Classic earlier this year. That is a tough draw. It will be exciting to see if he rises to the challenge. Unfortunately, he was knocked out of the Junior event in Round 2.
Toledo took down Taj and Freestone in Round 1, then fell 2nd only to Dane Reynolds who is looking like the one to beat this year. He then went on to eliminate world tour surfers Jordy Smith AND Bede Durbidge. By the shear size of those two men, I would say Toledo is looking to be the giant killer of the US Open. He sailed through the early rounds of the Juniors and without question, Toledo made it to the Quarters. As he is the reigning US Open Pro Junior Champion, Toledo is one to watch for sure.
Asing came up on top against Parko to win his heat in Round 1, and is proving to be the double threat force to be reckoned with this year. Making it to the Quarters in the Juniors event he has already taken down four heats in the Prime event starting in the trials. Talk about getting heats under your belt. He surfs against Davey Cathels, Lincoln Taylor and Travis Logie in Round 2 of the main event. Asing is the only contender who could potentially surf every round of the competition. He also won the Junior event at the HB Pierside Classic this last March. Asing knows how to adapt his surfing, and the softer waves of HB haven’t stunted this young surfer’s powerful Hawaiian style.
Keep in mind it’s early in the game so anything can happen. Look for more upsets courtesy of these amazing young athletes.