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Longboarder Justin Quintal puts on a show at U.S. Open of Surfing

Justin Quintal of the United States rides the longboard during the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Raul Roa)

Justin Quintal of Florida may very well be the man to beat in the Vans Duct Tape Invitational men’s longboard competition this year at the U.S. Open of Surfing.

Quintal is going for his sixth straight title at the U.S. Open. He’s also won the Duct Tape 10 times before.

Those numbers are staggering, as was the score Quintal recorded on a quarterfinal wave Friday afternoon on the southside of the Huntington Beach Pier.

It was the third left-hander of the round that took Quintal through the pier. Like Joel Tudor and David Nuuhiwa before him, he enjoys the pier bowl lefts in Huntington Beach.

Kai Sallas of Hawaii catches a wave during the U.S. Open of Surfing, in Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Raul Roa)

Quintal was rewarded with a 9.0 wave — the highest score of the round — and a two-wave total of 16.50.

“I was really stoked,” Quintal said. “There weren’t a lot of great waves out there, and that one really stood up and had a nice bowl to it, a clean face. That one felt good.”

The round was more than enough to beat Tudor’s son, Tosh, and advance to the semifinals of the men’s Duct Tape Invitational event. He will surf there Sunday against Kaniela Stewart, while Taylor Jensen faces Kaimana Takayama in the other semifinal.

Quintal, now 32, said he always enjoys riding waves in Surf City.

Jefson Silva of Brazil rides the longboard during the U.S. Open of Surfing, in Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Raul Roa)

“I’ve grown up surfing contests here my whole life,” he said. “I like the energy and all of the people. You’re close to Newport, too, when it gets good waves there, so you kind of bounce between the two spots. I kind of grew up surfing a similar wave in Jacksonville, Florida.”

Quintal does still have a bit of work to do to get to Joel Tudor’s mark of eight U.S. Open titles. Tudor also won last year’s world championship at age 45, before being suspended this year by the league after some social media controversy.

The fact that Quintal is now surfing against Tudor’s son, who is 17, is not lost on him.

Taylor Jensen moved on to the longboard semifinals during the U.S. Open of Surfing, in Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Raul Roa)

“I remember when Joel brought Tosh here as a baby, and I was competing against him,” Quintal said. “Now I’m surfing against Tosh, and he’s giving me a run for my money. It’s crazy to see it come full circle. Lots of history at this pier, this strip of sand.”

Jensen, 38, has turned into a veteran of the competition. The three-time world champion cannot be ruled out.

“I live in Oceanside, so it’s a really similar setup with the pier and everything,” he said after winning his quarterfinal heat against Steven Sawyer of South Africa, 13.00 to 11.53. “It feels a lot like home. I’ve had a lot of success here over the years, won this twice, a couple of national titles on this beach and stuff like that. I feel good.

“There’s a lot of young kids who have come up in the last two years, three years and are really elevating longboarding again. I’m kind of an elder statesman, I guess, but Joel won last year at 45. I’m only 38. I’ve got a little bit of time left, hopefully. Fingers crossed, anyway.”

Phil Rajzman rides the longboard during the U.S. Open of Surfing, in Huntington Beach on Friday.
(Raul Roa)

Saturday’s competition at the U.S. Open includes the women’s CS quarterfinals from 7:35 to 9:35 a.m., with the men’s CS quarterfinals to follow. In the afternoon, the women’s Vans Duct Tape Invitational round 4 and quarterfinals will take place.

Sunday’s last day of the U.S. Open includes semifinals and finals for all events.

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