Californians, International Talents Debut in Dynamic Form at US Open Huntington Beach pres. by Shiseido

Former US Open Runner-Up Griffin Colapinto Leads California Charge

Front Page: Former US Open runner-up Griffin Colapinto (USA) led the California charge with a massive Round 1 debut. Credit: © WSL/ Kenny Morris

Conner Coffin, Kolohe Andino, Nolan Rapoza Shine

Peru’s Olympian Lucca Mesinas Sets the Scale

Former Championship Tour Competitor Caio Ibelli Looks For Big Result

This Challenger Series is the second of three competitive tiers for the world’s best surfers.

 The 2022 WSL Challenger Series will feature 96-man and 64-woman fields, drawn from seven WSL Regional Qualifying Series around the world.

CS surfers will compete for a chance to advance to the elite WSL CT in 2023, with surfers counting their best five of eight results on the Challenger Series in hopes of finishing in the Top 10 men’s and Top 5 women’s spots by the end of the season (see Schedule HERE) .

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif./USA (Monday, September 20, 2021) – The US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach presented by Shiseido, a World Surf League (WSL) Challenger Series (CS) event, saw some of the world’s best surfers light up the iconic Huntington Beach Pier lineup on the first day of action. Two-to-three foot, inconsistent swell provided competitors enough opportunity to put on a showcase.

Californians Claim Their Home Turf in Early Goings 

Griffin Colapinto (USA) led the way for local contingent with his aerial antics to boast an excellent 8.50 (out of a possible 20) and 15.23 (out of a possible 20) heat total. The San Clemente, California, surfer finished with a runner-up at the 2018 US Open and finds himself poised for another big showing after putting in the work ahead of this week.

“That’s something I’ve been working on recently is when I get the opportunity to just go for it,” expressed Colapinto. “I had one at Narrabeen and now I’ve gotten one here. Huntington’s like a second home to me and I know the wave really well, and what it’s going to do on that left going into the pier so that helps.”

Pictured: Conner Coffin (USA) continues his competitive tear in 2021 with a US Open debut. Credit: WSL/ Tim Hain

Recent Rip Curl WSL Finals contender Conner Coffin (USA) wasn’t to be left out of this week’s show early after scratching his way from fourth-place to a Round 1 Heat 12 win in the back-half of his debut. The Santa Barbara, California, competitor harnessed his ability to rally and also already has success in the Huntington Beach Pier arena to draw from as a Pro Junior.

“It’s always fun to compete here,” said Coffin. “Everyone’s asked why I’m here and it’s because it’s an event in California (laughs). I’ve been surfing this contest for a really long time and it’s fun to just be here. I didn’t have the best heat but I’m stoked to make it through. I’ve got the junior trophy but I’ve never done well in the main event so it’d be sick to take it out.”

Pictured: An immaculate showing from Nolan Rapoza (USA) took an early heat win away from CT competitor Kolohe Andino (USA). Credit: WSL/ Morris

But, it was Long Beach, California’s, Nolan Rapoza (USA) who claimed the big win over Team USA Olympian Kolohe Andino, also advancing, and other top-seeded surfer Reo Inaba (JPN) with a 7.43 start of his own. Rapoza’s Pro Junior success translated well into the QS, earning a win in Arica, Chile, and a No. 59 finish in 2018.

“That (start) was exactly the way I wrote it up,” exclaimed Rapoza. “Me and Matt Myers were working on it the last few days and was trying to start up quick. That was all I could ask for was to start it off like that. Just being with Myers I feel more confident and more organized the way I got out into my heats.”

International Threats Make A Statement on Opening Day

Pictured: Former ISA Gold Medalist Lucca Mesinas (PER) prepares for brilliant debut of his own. Credit: WSL/ Morris

Lucca Mesinas (PER) comes to Huntington Beach following a massive summer of competition, first at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and then the Corona Open Mexico CT event and took the highest heat total of opening day – a 15.34. Mesinas’ competitive history already includes a Gold Medal in the ISA World Surfing Games and a North America Regional QS title, and he displayed his dominant backhand attack that helped earn him those titles once again.

“I’ve been surfing Huntington for a long time and I come here to train so I know this wave really well,” said Mesinas. “I think having the opportunity to be with the CT and see how it works just gave that motivation to want to be there more. When I went there I was competing with the best, hanging out with the best, and at the end of the day I just know I want to be here one day.”

Pictured: Caio Ibelli (BRA) showed his vigor of wanting to rejoin the world’s best via the Challenger Series. Credit: WSL/ Morris

Former CT competitor Caio Ibelli (BRA) is hunting for his chance to rejoin the world’s best and proved he’s up for the challenge with a brilliant showcase in Round 1 Heat 17. Ibelli’s backhand attack led to finding the reform where he finished with an air-reverse to secure a 7.33 and 14.83 heat total.

“This is a different time for me,” said Ibelli. “I wasn’t sure if I was going to do the Challenger, didn’t really have enough time to digest and had a bunch of mixed emotions. I got in yesterday and I felt great in my heat. I think that was the difference is not stressing on my freesurf and I’m super thankful I made that heat.”

Pictured: (L) Sheldon Simkus (AUS) made his US Open debut in fine form with a Round 1 heat win. (R) Mihimana Braye (PYF) took down a big win with fellow Tahitian Michel Bourez (FRA) advancing. Credit: WSL/ Nichols

Tahitian duo Mihimana Braye (PYF) and Michel Bourez (FRA) put on a showcase in high tide conditions, keeping Corona Open Mexico wildcard standout, 2018 World Junior Champion, Mateus Herdy (BRA) and Marco Giorgi (URG) at bay. Braye hopes to join his fellow Tahitian Bourez on the CT – who recently fell off Tour following the 2020/21’ season conclusion.

“It was so hard when I saw the heat draw after Michel (Bourez) actually told me we’re in the same heat and I’ve been looking up to this guy since day one,” expressed Braye. “He’s such an inspiration for me and against Mateus Herdy who came third in Mexico it’s amazing to make that heat. I don’t feel too much pressure because I feel like I’m ready, I’m here, I know my place among the Challenger Series and I want more.”

Australian Sheldon Simkus put on a show in his US Open debut with a 13.83 heat total during Round 1 Heat 8. Simkus delivered an early upset, helping eliminate former CT competitor Miguel Pupo (BRA), as the 2020 QS No. 42 is looking for his first major result with four QS runner-up finishes.

“I had no expectations coming here and I like to have a lot of fun at these events without putting pressure on myself,” said Simkus. “There’s a lot of stakes but I’m just going to enjoy my heats and try to surf good. I’m glad to get some waves and put a good heat total up.”

Also making big noise on opening day, South Africa’s Adin Masencamp delivered a stunning debut. A pair of South Carolina competitors Cam Richards (USA) and Luke Gordon (USA) took down former CT competitors Connor O’Leary (AUS) and Jesse Mendes (BRA). Former CT competitor Pat Gudauskas (USA) and CT hopeful Jake Marshall (USA) added their name to the California success storyline. And Australians made their presence known with former event runner-up Liam O’Brien and CT competitor Jack Robinson both winning their heats as well.

A 7:30am PDT call will determine a likely 8:05am PDT start for men’s Round 1 Heat 19 with women’s Round 1 on standby.

Global partners for the US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach pres. by Shiseido include Michelob Ultra, Jeep, Hydro Flask, Expedia, Red Bull, Oakley Sunglasses, and BFGoodrich join with event partners Frontier, Flying Ember, US Army, Apple Test, Fu Wax, Super73, Regional, DraftKings, and Waterloo along with local sponsor Visit Huntington Beach representing for Surf City USA.

Watch LIVE
Watch the US Open of Surfing presented by Shiseido LIVE September 20 – 26 on and YouTube, as well as the free WSL app.

COVID-19 Safety Protocol Update
The health and safety of athletes, staff, and the local community are of the utmost importance and the WSL has been working closely with local authorities to put a robust set of procedures in place. This includes testing and advance screening protocols, physical distancing and limited personnel on-site.

US Open of Surfing Huntington Beach pres. by Shiseido Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Jack Robinson (AUS) 12.17 DEF. Barron Mamiya (HAW) 9.93, Kauli Vaast (FRA) 9.40, Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 5.30
Heat 2: Vasco Ribeiro (PRT) 12.93 DEF. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 12.17, Josh Burke (BRB) 10.07, Taro Watanabe (USA) 7.83
Heat 3: Joshua Moniz (HAW) 10.70 DEF. Shun Murakami (JPN) 9.83, Cody Young (HAW) 9.67, Sebastian Zietz (HAW) 5.40
Heat 4: Mihimana Braye (PYF) 11.17 DEF. Michel Bourez (FRA) 10.50, Mateus Herdy (BRA) 10.30, Marco Giorgi (URY) 9.33
Heat 5: Jake Marshall (USA) 11.80 DEF. Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 11.56, Ian Crane (USA) 11.13, Marcos Correa (BRA) 10.67
Heat 6: Dylan Moffat (AUS) 11.67 DEF. Jordy Maree (ZAF) 10.60, Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 8.93, Joan Duru (FRA) 5.60
Heat 7: Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.00 DEF. Callum Robson (AUS) 11.54, Ramzi Boukhiam (MAR) 8.66, Shuji Nishi (JPN) 4.76
Heat 8: Sheldon Simkus (AUS) 13.83 DEF. Carlos Munoz (CRI) 12.90, Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 12.17, Miguel Pupo (BRA) 9.60
Heat 9: Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 11.94 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.04, Eli Hanneman (HAW) 10.46, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 8.47
Heat 10: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 13.50 DEF. Kolohe Andino (USA) 12.40, Charly Martin (FRA) 10.43, Reo Inaba (JPN) 10.30
Heat 11: Adin Masencamp (ZAF) 14.17 DEF. Thiago Camarao (BRA) 10.60, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 9.77, Cooper Chapman (AUS) 8.04
Heat 12: Conner Coffin (USA) 13.77 DEF. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 13.17, Jhony Corzo (MEX) 10.74, Kalani Ball (AUS) 8.73
Heat 13: Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.23 DEF. Billy Stairmand (NZL) 13.37, Luel Felipe (BRA) 11.50, Jackson Baker (AUS) 10.50
Heat 14: Lucca Mesinas (PER) 15.34 DEF. Ruben Vitoria (EUK) 12.57, Jacob Willcox (AUS) 7.90, Oney Anwar (IDN) 7.63
Heat 15: Gaspard Larsonneur (FRA) 14.10 DEF. Rio Waida (IDN) 13.20, Nat Young (USA) 12.50, Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 11.44
Heat 16: Cam Richards (USA) 14.50 DEF. Luke Gordon (USA) 13.07, Jesse Mendes (BRA) 10.67, Connor O’Leary (AUS) 10.34
Heat 17: Caio Ibelli (BRA) 14.83 DEF. Cole Houshmand (USA) 13.10, Miguel Tudela (PER) 10.94, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 10.80
Heat 18: Liam O’Brien (AUS) 13.73 DEF. Lucas Silveira (BRA) 12.63, Keanu Asing (HAW) 10.93, Beyrick De Vries (NLD) 9.37

About the WSL 
Established in 1976, the World Surf League (WSL) is the home of the world’s best surfing.A global sports, media and entertainment company, the WSL oversees international tours and competitions, a studios division creating over 500+ hours of live and on-demand content, and via affiliate WaveCo, the home of the world’s largest high performance, human-made wave. Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, the WSL has regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA.The WSL annually crowns the men’s and women’s surfing World Champions. The global Tours and Competition division oversees and operates more than 180 global contests each year across the Championship Tour, the development tiers, including the Challenger, Qualifying and Junior Series, as well as longboard and big wave properties.Launched in 2019, WSL Studios is an independent producer of unscripted television projects, including documentaries and series, which provide unprecedented access to athletes, events, and locations around the world. WSL events and content are distributed on linear television in over 743M+ homes worldwide and across digital and social media platforms around the world, including

WaveCo includes the Surf Ranch Lemoore facility and the utilizing and licensing of the Kelly Slater Wave System.

The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.

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