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Kanoa Igarashi easily advances in first U.S. Open of Surfing heat

Huntington Beach's Kanoa Igarashi competes in Heat 24 of the Round of 96 on Tuesday morning.
Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi competes in Heat 24 of the Round of 96 on Tuesday morning during Day 2 of the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi handled his business Tuesday on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier as the U.S. Open of Surfing completed the first round of the men’s competition, reducing the number of surfers still in contention for a title from 96 to 48.

The women’s competition got underway, completing 10 of the 16 first-round heats.

Igarashi made it look easy in his heat, putting up scores of 8.33 and 6.67 for a two-wave total of 15.00, winning the four-man heat and advancing to the Round of 48, where he’ll be matched against San Clemente’s Kade Matson, Florida’s Evan Geiselman and Australia’s Reef Heazlewood.

Igarashi’s confidence on the south side wave comes from his familiarity with it, surfing it hundreds of times for nearly his entire life.

“Obviously Huntington’s where I learned how to surf,” he said. “Living in Huntington we have a few options to surf but I only surf south side. I definitely spend a lot of time out here and it’s definitely given me a couple waves in the past and even today.”

Igarashi’s 8.33 is the third highest-scoring wave in the Open so far, surpassed by San Clemente’s Griffin Colapinto (8.50) and Australia’s Liam O’Brien (8.40).

Igarashi has a history with both, facing Colapinto numerous times in contests growing up as kids, then beating Colapinto in the final heat to win the US Open in 2018.

O’Brien knocked out both Igarashi and Colapinto in the 2019 Open, on his way to the final, where he ultimately lost to Yago Dora.

Other notable men who advanced to the Round of 48 are Olympian and San Clemente resident Kolohe Andino, Championship Tour surfer Connor Coffin of Santa Barbara, Long Beach’s Nolan Rapoza, Encinitas’ Jake Marshall, and Patrick Gudauskas and Cole Houshmand of San Clemente.

Huntington Beach's Kanoa Igarashi does a backside 360 as he competes in the U.S. Open of Surfing on Tuesday.
Huntington Beach’s Kanoa Igarashi does a backside 360 as he competes in Heat 24 of the Round of 96 on Tuesday morning.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

In the women’s competition, Olympian Caroline Marks won her four-woman heat with a two-wave score of 11.10, advancing to the Round of 32.

Sage Hill School graduate Courtney Conlogue, a two-time Open winner who finished No. 9 in the world in the just completed Championship Tour season, will surf her first-round heat Wednesday morning around 9 a.m.

Two other local women surfed on Tuesday — Newport Beach’s Meah Collins and Huntington Beach’s Chiasa Maruyama.

Collins, the daughter of former pro surfer Richie Collins, placed third in her heat with a two-wave score of 9.67, just missing out on advancing.

Maruyama, a 2019 graduate of Huntington Beach High, was one of two women’s alternates to get into the contest after two women — Brazil’s Silvana Lima and 2019 Open winner Sage Erickson of Ojai — were forced to drop out.

Maruyama placed fourth in her heat with a two-wave score of 6.74.

Other notable women who advanced to the Round of 32 include San Clemente’s Kirra Pinkerton and Sawyer Lindblad.

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