Local knowledge prevailed at the 2018 Vans U.S. Open of Surfing on finals day, with Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi winning the men’s QS event and Huntington Beach’s Courtney Conologue winning the women’s ‘CT.
The golden children from rival surf towns faced off in the men’s final–San Clemente’s Griffin Colapinto and defending U.S. Open Champion, Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi, both ‘CT competitors. After a restart, Colapinto opened up the final with an 8.00. Igarashi followed suit with a 7.60 and spent the rest of the heat trying to catch up. Igarashi’s chance to take the lead came in the dying minutes, where he stomped a reverse followed by an intense claim for an 8.17. Colapinto stroked into a wave on the outside with five seconds left, but it wasn’t enough to take the win. As the buzzer sounded, Igarashi became the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing Champion once again.
“The final was slow but I believed Huntington would give me the waves that I needed and it did. I’m speechless,” Kanoa said in his post-heat interview.
After missing most of the Women’s ‘CT events earlier this year due to injury, Huntington Beach local Courtney Conlogue faced 6x World Champion Stephanie Gilmore in the Women’s ‘CT final. The beginning of the heat was a slow one for Conlogue, who waited nearly 10 minutes to catch a wave while Gilmore went to work right away and posted decent scores. Eventually, Conlogue’s patience and local knowledge paid off as she not only scored one the best waves of the heat, but managed to slice it to pieces for the win.
When Rosy Hodge asked Conlogue how the win felt in the post heat interview, there was a long pause before she answered. “I’m a little choked up,” said Conlogue. “It’s been quite a journey this year. It’s not an easy road to recovery.”
Hawaiians had a heavy presence on the winner’s podium today too, with Honolua Blomfield winning the Duct Tape Invitational, Barron Mamiya clinching the Junior Men’s and Zoe McDougall taking the Junior Women’s.