Houshmand Earns Back-To-Back Victories With Buzzer-Beater
Cole Houshmand (USA) earned back-to-back victories on the Challenger Series after earning a buzzer-beater to take out the Men’s Final in Ballito over Frederico Morais (POR). An unbelievable result by any standard, Houshmand jumped to the number one spot on the CS rankings ahead of the US Open, an event close to home for the San Clemente surfer.
“I’m speechless right now, that was the scariest heat I’ve had this whole event,” Houshmand admitted. “Luckily that wave came, but congrats to Frederico he was ripping the whole event. It’s been amazing. Shoutout to everyone back home, Kolohe Andino and the 2% boys, Kade Matson who’s been ripping, it’s been a real support crew.”
Patience was the name of the game with minimal set waves rolling through. Houshmand stuck to his strategy of waiting for the best waves, but with long, ten-minute lulls it was Morais who controlled the heat. Houshmand finally found a good wall to work with, unleashing his monster backhand for a 6.33. Not to be outdone, Morais locked in a 7.33 for picking out a cleaner, bigger wave and adding variety to his turns, going vertical into the lip, drawing his rail out for a smooth turn and throwing out his fins for the last maneuver. As the seconds were counting down, Houshmand paddled into a lump requiring a 4.34 and kept his nerves to whack two turns, and stay on his feet to get a 4.67. Morais caught a wave behind him, but it came in after the buzzer and did not count toward his total.
“I’m super stoked, but it’s bittersweet,” Morais responded. “I had the lead until the end, and I thought my last wave would count. I never thought it was going to be three and four score decision heat, but it is what it is. You got to take in the big picture and it’s a big, important step for me to get back on tour so I’m happy.”
Morais moved up seven spots to no. 3 on the CS rankings. Next up will be the Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico from July 29 to August 6.
For highlights from today’s Ballito Pro Presented by O’Neill competition, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.