Waves were down from the day before when several surfers suffered broken boards due to the beefy shore break, but there were still plenty of waves for the surfers to hunt down during the Vans Duct Tape Invitational.
The Duct Tape Invitational contest brought together 40 of the world’s best male and female longboarders — a classic style of surfing decades ago that in recent years has had a resurgence — to compete at the World Surf League event.
The US Open of Surfing venue is the second stop for the World Longboard Tour, which will wrap up early October in Malibu to crown a champion.
The men’s quarterfinals got underway with San Diego’s Taylor Jensen earning a 13.00 to nab a spot in the semifinals. San Juan Capistrano’s Kevin Skvarna was knocked out during a heat against Kaimana Takayama.
Tosh Tudor, son of longboarding great Joel Tudor, went up against Florida’s stand-out Justin Quintal, who nabbed some of the highest scores of the day by putting his toes on the nose and “shooting the pier” by navigating the waters between concrete pilings. Quintal’s 9.0 and 7.50, a total of 16.50, earned him a spot in the semi-finals, where he’ll match up against Takayama.
He and Tudor were joking around before the heat started, he said.
“I would have been just as stoked and proud to see him win that heat,” Quintal said. “I was really nervous as well because I try and be a mentor for him, and we have a good friendly rivalry so that heat meant a lot to both of us.”
His goal for the remainder of the event is to “just try and have fun and keep the crowd cheering — put on a show.”
The women longboarders still have to complete Round 4, with Dana Point’s Rachael Tilly still in the running.
Local surfers eliminated from Challenger Series
The big waves from Hurricane Frank proved challenging for local surfers in the Challenger Series event who were all eliminated through the week.
In Round 48 completed on Aug. 2, San Clemente surfers Kei Kobayashi, Crosby Colapinto, and World Tour surfer Kolohe Andino were all knocked out in the early round.
Two-time US Open of Surfing champ Kanoa Igarashi, who won a silver medal last year at the sport’s Olympic debut and is always a favorite at the event, was also knocked out of the event.
Long Beach’s Nolan Rapoza, who made it to the semi-finals last year, was eliminated in Round 24.
Orange County’s remaining hope for a men’s winner was Cole Houshmand, but the San Clemente surfer went down in the Round 16 against Peru’s Lucca Mesinas.
A strong finish at the US Open, recently made a stop on the World Surf League’s seven-event Challenger Series, could also mean big points for those looking for a chance to join the ranks of the world’s best. It also allows surfers at risk of falling off the World Tour a chance to earn valuable points to stay in the hunt.
When the contest resumes, Hawaii’s Ezekiel Lau, who was recently knocked off the World Tour during a mid-year cut, is hoping to make a comeback with points earned at the US Open of Surfing and other Challenger Series contests in coming weeks. He’ll go up against Australia’s Liam O’Brien.
Mesinas will match up against Eithan Osborne of Ventura. Florida’s Evan Geiselman will go up against Australia’s Joel Vaughan. In the last quarterfinals match-up, Brazil’s Joao Chianca will surf against Australia’s Ryan Callinan.
In the women’s event, several Orange County surfers went down in Round 16 which wrapped up on Aug. 4.
San Clemente’s Bella Kenworthy lost her heat against Australia’s Molly Picklum while fellow San Clemente surfer Sawyer Lindblad went down against Hawaii’s Bettylou Sakura Johnson.
Two local surfers are still in the hunt for the title: Florida-raised Caroline Marks, who now calls San Clemente home, and Oceanside surfer and last year’s winner Caitlin Simmers.
More info: worldsurfleague.com