O-Side gives way to Huntington as WSL takes over Cali

It’s all happening.

The California leg of the surf season, which sees the Championship Tour and Qualifying Series converge in the Golden State, had some surprises on Tuesday. After Sunday’s finale for the Supergirl Pro in Oceanside, the women’s CT and the men’s QS met up in Huntington Beach to crown a pair of US Open of Surfing champions.

If Courtney Conlogue makes her way through the CT field, she’ll sweep the back-to-back events in her home state. Conlogue took home the Supergirl Pro championship on Sunday, besting Tatiana Weston-Webb in the semifinals before edging Sage Erickson in the title showdown.

Conlogue survived a head-to-head matchup on Tuesday when she faced Bianca Buitendag. The pair just squared off in the Supergirl quarterfinals, so Conlogue clearly has the upper hand against the South African. However, it was anything but a decisive win on Tuesday as Conlogue escaped with just a 10.10 to 9.77 win.

Buitendag came close to pulling off the major upset just one heat after another had already taken place. Maud Le Car came away victorious against six-time world champ Stephanie Gilmore. It was a quick start for the French wild card, who was competing in her first ever CT contest. She earned a 6.67 on her first effort, backing it up later with a 4.17. That moderate total was enough to come away with the 10.84 to 8.90 win and take Gilmore out of the event.

California native Lakey Peterson also fell victim to France’s Pauline Ado in round two, so a pair of big names earned just the minimum at this CT stop.

Weston-Webb didn’t have to worry about an elimination heat since she had won her opening-round matchup. She put up the third-highest point total of the round for a 13.74, fairly easily distancing herself from both Gilmore and Ado.

Nobody was putting up much in round one other than Johanne Defay, who started the event with a 17.00 in the very first heat. Maybe that should have been a sign of things to come for the French contingent.

The Aussies haven’t fared especially well with Gilmore, Keely Andrew, Bronte Macaulay and Laura Enever all losing in round two. Current points leader Tyler Wright, Sally Fitzgibbons and Nikki Van Dijk remain in the field.

Weston-Webb, Carissa Moore and Coco Ho are all into round three. Moore knocked off Macaulay and Ho took care of business against Enever.

Non-elimination heats are on tap for round three with Weston-Webb, Ho and Wright in the most intriguing matchup. Moore will take on Conlogue and Ado.

For the men’s QS 10,000 portion of the week, 112 surfers began in the crowded bracket. They’ve gotten about halfway through round two and nine Hawaii men are still surfing.

Sebastian Zietz made it through his second-round heat, taking second place behind Brazil’s Victor Bernardo. He’s the only one safely into round three because the rest of the remaining crew — Keanu Asing, Ezekiel Lau, Wyatt McHale, Dusty Payne, Finn McGill, Billy Kemper, Josh Moniz and Kiron Jabour — all have upcoming heats.

Koa Smith, Tanner Hendrickson, Mason Ho, Eli Olson, Cody Young and Torrey Meister all had early exits to their event.

Filipe Toledo, Kolohe Andino and Kanoa Igarashi are a few of the CT competitors who are almost certainly ready to run deep at Huntington Beach. But two more rounds of multi-way heats means that anything can, and usually does, happen.

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David Simon can be reached at dsimon@thegardenisland.com.

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