Maud Le Car (FRA) won the women’s Trials and earned a spot into the Vans US Open of Surfing Women’s CT main event at Huntington Beach. Le Car did battle with Alyssa Spencer (USA), Caroline Marks (USA), and Tia Blanco (USA) in a thirty-minute heat that the French talent emerged victorious.
After a close win over three very talented and hungry QS surfers, Maud will turn her attention to her first round match up with her close friend Coco Ho, and reigning world champion and current number one ranked Tyler Wright. This opportunity has been along time coming. In fact Maud was in this same position last year with a chance to fill the wildcard spot in Huntington Beach, but she was edged out by the local Meah Collins.
This will be Maud’s first ever CT event and she is up to the challenge. Maud is currently ranked 29th in the world on the QS tour and is always ultra competitive. A solid result here at the Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing will almost certainly send her into the second half of the QS season with loads of confidence.
The women will get things started on Tuesday with both the first and second rounds being contested. It should be a fun day as the forecast calls for three to six foot waves all day long with slight east to northeast winds. Some heats may see waves as much as eight feet midday. The women should start things off with and bang as the pier bowl in Huntington Beach will be firing.
The Van’s U.S. Open of Surfing kicks off the second half of the CT tour season. with less than 5000 points separating the top four surfers, we are sure to see exciting go for broke action as the the top four surfers look to gain some separation, while the rest of the top ten look to gain ground and tighten up the title race.
“I can’t believe it,” continued Lenny. “I am so stoked. That was awesome. I knew I needed a good score because Jamie (Mitchell) got one. It was hard to get waves out there because they were just so shifty, but then the one that I had been waiting for finally came. Everyone was a little too far in or too deep. I knew that that was it. I did a slow bottom turn and then I knew I had it.”
In his fifth Big Wave event, today’s win marks Lenny’s career-best result. Lenny will now lead the rankings heading into the Northern Hemisphere season, which opens October 15, 2017. Lenny will look to maintain his frontrunner position by besting his previous 9th place result in Pe’ahi and 13th in Nazaré.
Event standout Billy Kemper (HAW) will claim fourth place in this event. Earlier today, Kemper swept both his Round 1 and Semifinal heats with the highest scores in each round. Kemper’s dominating rides also collected the highest single-wave score of the event, a near-perfect 9.00. Kemper, 2016 and 2015 Pe’ahi Challenge winner, will prepare for an historic third straight event win with the 2017 Pe’ahi Challenge as an option to run this season.
Alex Botelho (PRT) received the last minute call-up to replace two-time BWT Champion Greg Long (USA) after Long withdrew due to injury. Botelho made the most of this opportunity to earn his Finals berth and best result, fifth place, in a Big Wave Tour event.
The first Semifinal saw 2014/15 BWT Champion Makuakai Rothman (HAW) barely miss his opportunity to advance to the Final as he fell just .13 points short of advancing over Botelho. Rothman will exit in Equal 7th place. The youngest competitor in the event, 20-year-old Jimel Corzo (MEX), also faced elimination in the Semifinals despite his Round 1 Heat 2 win. He will finish with Equal 9th. Nathan Florence (HAW) put up a strong fight in the first two rounds and will receive an Equal 11th result.
Grant “Twiggy” Baker (ZAF), two-time BWT Champion and defending event winner, was eliminated in the opening heat of Round 1 today after Kemper, Carlson and Florence took the Top 3 spots in the heat. The South African will now look to the Northern Hemisphere season to regain critical points to jumpstart his 2017 BWT Title campaign.
“I was actually super relaxed coming here,” said Baker. “We had a couple of warm-up days before the contest. The waves are pumping and I thought that things felt good. I just got into the heat this morning and it was just such a good heat. Billy (Kemper) was on fire, Trevor (Carlson) got that bomb and Nathan (Florence) had a couple of good waves, too. It just wasn’t my day, but the most important thing is the contest. The contest has been amazing. The waves have been pumping, the swell has been bigger than I expected. Everyone is super stoked.”
2016 event finalists Pedro Calado (BRA) and Will Skudin (USA) were not able to advance out of Round 1 and exited in 17th and 21st place, respectively.
The 2017 BWT season is divided into Southern Hemisphere and Northern Hemisphere components. The Southern Hemisphere window, which runs from May 1 – August 31, 2017, is now complete after today’s Puerto Escondido Challenge. The Northern Hemisphere window will open on October 15 and run through January 31, 2018 with event options in Portugal, Hawaii and Mexico.
2017 BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge Final Results:
1 – Kai Lenny (HAW) 23.53
2 – Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 18.64
3 – Tom Lowe (GBR) 12.23
4 – Billy Kemper (HAW) 8.50
5 – Alex Botelho (PRT)
6 – Trevor Carlson (HAW) 2.46
2017 BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Billy Kemper (HAW) 16.89, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 12.27, Alex Botelho (PRT) 8.07, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 7.94, Jimel Corzo (MEX) 7.13, Nathan Florence (HAW) 6.73
SF 2: Tom Lowe (GBR) 15.34, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 12.54, Kai Lenny (HAW) 11.27, Nic Lamb (USA) 10.77, Oscar Moncada (MEX) 6.00, Rogercin Ramirez (MEX) 1.64
2017 BWT Puerto Escondido Challenge Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Billy Kemper (HAW) 24.17, Trevor Carlson (HAW) 17.60, Nathan Florence (HAW) 16.34, Grant Baker (ZAF) 11.53, Angelo Lozano (MEX) 8.64, Cristian Merello (CHL) 2.16
Heat 2: Jimel Corzo (MEX) 12.77, Alex Botelho (PRT) 11.74, Makuakai Rothman (HAW) 10.37, Coco Nogales (MEX) 8.07, Peter Mel (USA) 6.83, Will Skudin (USA) 3.13
Heat 3: Tom Lowe (GBR) 18.06, Kai Lenny (HAW) 16.54, Nic Lamb (USA) 13.97, Rusty Long (USA) 13.51, Pedro Calado (BRA) 10.86, Jose Ramirez (MEX) 7.77
Heat 4: Oscar Moncado (MEX) 12.66, Jamie Mitchell (AUS) 10.31, Rogercin Ramirez (MEX) 8.10, Francisco Porcella (ITA) 7.66, Damien Hobgood (USA) 6.53, João de Macedo (PRT) 5.63
2017 WSL Big Wave Tour Schedule:
Southern Hemisphere: May 1 – August 31, 2017
Puerto Escondido Challenge: Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Northern Hemisphere: October 15, 2017 – January 31, 2018
Nazaré Challenge: Nazaré, Portugal
Pe’ahi Challenge: Haiku, Hawaii
For more information, check out WorldSurfLeague.com.