Upsets creating wide open field at US Open of Surfing

  • Morris / WSL

    Ezekiel Lau was one of the few Championship Tour surfers to survive the early rounds at the QS 10,000 US Open of Surfing. Four second-round heats remain, but Lau is safely into round three. The same can’t be said for Sebastian Zietz, Matt Wilkinson, Frederico Morais, Jeremy Flores and others who were eliminated early.

Swiftly and succinctly, the US Open of Surfing has progressed into the back end of round two for the men’s QS 10,000 contest. The overriding theme to this point has been upsets, as a lot of big names have fallen by the wayside in the early going, leaving plenty of hopefuls with some easier roads to big results.

Of the final 48 spots, 32 have been determined with eight more second-round heats remaining. A large group of favorites has already been shown the door thanks to some difficult and inconsistent waves for much of the competition.

Willian Cardoso and Mikey Wright have each had some shocking results on the Championship Tour this season, but both were on the wrong end of a round two shocker. If there’s any solace to be had, they’re in good company.

Sebastian Zietz came up short in his heat, losing to Brazil’s Peterson Crisanto and Maui’s Tanner Hendrickson. Zietz and Kiron Jabour were doing all they could to catch the leaders, but it was mostly chop and not much to work with. All four competitors posted at least 10 wave scores, but just the top two ended up in double-digit scoring.

Josh Kerr, Wiggolly Dantas, Matt Wilkinson, Frederico Morais, Jeremy Flores and Ricardo Christie all had round two exits, as did Hawaii youngsters Barron Mamiya, Finn McGill and Wyatt McHale. It was a brutal stretch for the top seeds, but it bodes well for the survivors.

Keanu Asing, Josh Moniz and Ezekiel Lau all survived into round three. Asing needs to start racking up the QS points, as he typically does. He’s 31st on the CT and 90th on the QS, so the back half of the season is going to be most crucial.

He has a difficult heat approaching against Adriano de Souza, Yago Dora and Kei Kobayashi.

Kolohe Andino, Italo Ferreira, Jesse Mendes and Dion Atkinson are some of the other top names into round three. Andino must be considered one favorites in his home state of California. He finished runner-up at the US Open back in 2013, but he hasn’t had stellar results the past two seasons. Maybe he’s due for another deep run.

Reef Heazlewood made it through the trial rounds as the lone surfer to join the main field among 32 hopefuls. That momentum has continued to propel Heazlewood through rounds one and two. He’ll enter the third round with plenty of confidence, having shown off his survival instincts over and over thus far.

The Men’s Pro Junior event reached its final heat on Tuesday. The final four contestants include include Mamiya, who was able to focus on the Junior event after falling out of the main draw. He’ll be taking on Americans Kade Matson and Cole Houshmand, as well as Mexico’s Alan Cleland.

The women’s CT event hasn’t gotten underway just yet. Hopefully the waves get steadier and heavier for the duration of their contest. If not, then the upsets are certainly more likely to continue throughout the week.


David Simon can be reached at

  1. Kauaidog August 3, 2018 8:40 am Reply

    WHERE is this event held? Who what where when???

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