Orange County surfers make noise at U.S. Open of Surfing
The U.S. Open of Surfing is in Huntington Beach, but the rest of Orange County’s surfers made the most noise Thursday.
Five advanced to round four of the Men’s QS 10,000 event, while Kayla Coscino of Laguna Beach and Samantha Sibley of San Clemente punched their tickets to Friday’s junior women’s final.
Both Sibley and Coscino finished second in their respective heats, with the former scoring the second highest total overall of the eight semifinal surfers. Her final average of 11.74 was only outdone by a smashing 13.94 effort from Hawaii’s Summer Macedo.
Coscino, meanwhile, started off her heat with a bang, ripping her way to a 6.67 tally on her first wave. She cooled off from there, failing to clear 3.03 the rest of the way as Zoe McDougall of Oahu topped out at 10.43.
The women’s championship heat takes place at 7:30 a.m. Friday. Live streams and schedule updates can be found at www.vansusopenofsurfing.com.
A pair of San Clemente’s finest seized the third heat in the men’s third round. Kolohe Andino — son of legendary pro Dino Andino — and Griffin Colapinto both hit double-digit averages to advance.
Hometown defending champion Kanoa Igarashi found himself in a dog fight. He edged out Australia’s Davey Cathels by 0.23 points to grab second in Heat 11.
“You sometimes have to win tough heats to win a title,” Igarashi said. “Hopefully, that was it.”
Kolohe Andino, a 5-foot-11, 160-pounder, shot out of a cannon for an early lead, taking advantage of primo conditions. He commanded the two-foot tall waves, authoritatively carving the foam for a 6.83 debut. On his second go, he built speed with two turns and launched for a 360-degree spin for a 6.50 follow-up.
You sometimes have to win tough heats to win a title. Hopefully, that was it.
Kanoa Igarashi, U.S. Open of Surfing defending champion
The judges awarded Andino a 7.50 after a tightly-executed reverse, and he coasted from there for a 14.33 finish.
“I usually like to jump out to a big lead, so I can pick my waves after that,” he said. “I thought I was going to feel comfortable since I was surfing closer to home, but since I’ve been travelling so much the past year, it’s almost as if these conditions were brand new.”
Andino competed in South Africa and Indonesia in the months leading up to the U.S. Open.
Colapinto, meanwhile, worked speed floats to two separate air reverses for a final average of 10.83.
Andino indicated that the two worked well together in their heat.
“[Colapinto] called me up when he found out we were in the same heat,” he said, “and I think he was feeling weird about it. I was like, ‘Let’s go! We’re representing San Clemente, so let’s lock down this heat.’”
Both also finished in the top-two of their round four heats to move on to the quarterfinals.
The Gudauskas brothers — formerly of San Clemente, but now based out of Oceanside — battled for second place marks to also qualify for round four.
Tanner Gudauskas, the younger brother by three years, jostled with Hawaii’s Joshua Moniz for second place in the fourth heat. Moniz had taken the lead with a final-minute series of turns. Gudauskas needed a 5.60 to stay in the championship hunt.
With seconds left, he turned once, bounced twice to generate momentum for a final spin. Dramatically, he remained in the ocean while the judges deliberated. Finally, they announced a 5.90 for a qualifying score of 11.50.
“Stoked,” he said about his reaction. “It was exciting. I like that drama. The conditions were tricky, since we really had to pick our waves carefully. Good thing I found one just in time.”
His brother, Patrick Gudauskas, who beat the next closest surfer in the 10th heat by nearly three points, roared in approval.
“I was watching on the pier,” Patrick said, “and shook the person next to me. I don’t think I knew them.”
Only Andino and Colapinto surfed in round four. Action continues after the women’s tournament concludes on Friday morning.
SAM DODGE is a contributor to Times Community News. Follow him on Twitter: @samgododge
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