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Big Upsets Disrupt Championship Tour Qualification Runs at Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pa

The women’s and men’s Round of 32 were completed today at the Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico, Stop No. 4 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Challenger Series. Clean, two-to-four-foot waves provided a platform for the rising talents to show their abilities. The day's action saw several big upsets as a number of Championship Tour (CT) qualification hopefuls were eliminated from competition early. The Huntington Beach Longboard Classic, Stop No. 1 of the 2023 WSL Longboard Tour, was called OFF for the day.

Pictured: Leilani McGonagle (CRC) won her critical Round of 32 heat today at the Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico. Credit: © WSL / Morris

Lindblad Moves Closer to Potential Championship Tour Qualification Southern California’s Sawyer Lindblad (USA) made her debut in great form today. Lindblad’s powerful backhand combinations garnered an impressive 14.27 (out of possible 20) heat total. She currently sits at No. 7 on the Challenger Series rankings and is hoping to earn a solid result here at Huntington Beach to move closer to qualifying for the 2024 CT. Former CT competitor Bronte Macaulay (AUS), advanced in second behind her. “That was a really stacked heat,” said Lindblad. “All those girls in the heat are like my friends, so it was really fun honestly. I was just really excited to surf a stacked heat like that. The heat before was really slow and then our heat kind of turned on. So, I’m really happy that happened. I grew up surfing out here in contests when I was younger, so I definitely am confident with the waves. I’m excited for the next round.”

McGonagle Delivers Major Upset, Eliminates Spencer and Pinkerton

The Round of 32, Heat 7, featured several CT qualification threats including current No. 6 on the Challenger Series Alyssa Spencer (USA), No. 8 Sarah Baum (RSA), event wildcard Kirra Pinkerton (USA), and North America regional standout Leilani McGonagle (CRC). A back-and-forth battle ensued with McGonagle holding the heat lead and Spencer sitting close behind her in second. But, in the dying minutes, Baum found an opportunity to unleash her backhand attack and post a solid 7.70 (out of possible 10) that turned the heat and gave her a ticket to the Round of 16.

“I can say the competition was super good in this heat,” said McGonagle. “It was definitely a stacked heat and I was just talking to some people today about how stacked the Challenger Series has become. It’s nice to get some rhythm in a Challenger event after a rough start to the year. I had some challenges this year, but I put in the work and I’m super proud. That one was for everybody at home.”

Also finding her way to the Round of 16 was Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) who helped eliminate CT competitor Gabriela Bryan (HAW) in the first heat of the day. Estorabe will be joined by Ariane Ochoa (EUK), Daniela Rosas (PER), Ellie Harrison (AUS), and former CT competitor Luana Silva (BRA).Houshmand and Schilling Continue California Surge

Current Challenger Series No. 1 and recently confirmed 2024 CT competitor, Cole Houshmand (USA), found success again today, winning his Round of 32 heat. San Clemente, California's Jett Schilling also advanced to the Round of 16. Schilling took on defending event winner Ezekiel Lau (HAW), former CT competitor Ian Gouveia (BRA), and qualification threat Mateus Herdy (BRA) in the Round of 32, Heat 3. Schilling’s signature flair and combination of critical maneuvers garnered a solid 14.43 heat total.

“Before my heat, Griffin (Colapinto) was like, just sit underneath the middle and create your own wave on one of those lefts," said Schilling. “I’ll just keep sticking to what I’m doing. Being smarter, just wave by wave, enjoying every moment because it’s a good time. “Cibilic Posts Highest Score of the Day

2021 WSL Rip Curl Finals contender Morgan Cibilic (AUS) had a brilliant showing and marched into the Round of 16 alongside local hero Nolan Rapoza (USA). Current Challenger Series No. 9 Cibilic boasted the day’s best single-wave score, an 8.17. Now, Cibilic aims to match his 2023 Challenger Series best result of a Quarterfinal, and increase his chances of requalifying for the CT.

“I feel like everybody in the contest is super good, but once you get to this round you get maybe the cream of the crop,” said Cibilic. “I feel like there’s more good guys that are pretty high in the rankings in one heat. I’m always tripping no matter what round. It’s a stacked competition. I’m just stoked to get through that one I reckon.”

Coffin Announces Retirement from Competitive Surfing

Today, former World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT) competitor and World Title contender, Conner Coffin (USA), announced his retirement after his 4th-place finish in Round of 32, Heat 4, at the Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico. Coffin was honorably chaired up the beach to celebrate his career among family, friends, and some of the world’s best surfers.

“I wish I was surfing my last heat at Pipe or J-Bay or something, but I think in a cool way I feel like it’s pretty full circle for me here at Huntington,” said Coffin. “And to do it here at home and get to have all my friends, my uncle and all these guys, and my fiance is super special.”

For highlights and more information from today's competition, please visit Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico Women's Round of 32 Results:

HEAT 1: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 11.00 DEF. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 10.13, Gabriela Bryan (HAW) 10.00, Zahli Kelly (AUS) 9.80

HEAT 2: Ellie Harrison (AUS) 12.63 DEF. Macy Callaghan (AUS) 10.87, Sara Freyre (USA) 9.67, Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 9.50

HEAT 3: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 14.27 DEF. Bronte Macaulay (AUS) 11.53, Erin Brooks (CAN) 9.07, Bella Kenworthy (USA) 8.93

HEAT 4: Luana Silva (BRA) 12.93 DEF. India Robinson (AUS) 11.53, Sophia Medina (BRA) 9.50, Nanaho Tsuzuki (JPN) 5.13

HEAT 5: Daniella Rosas (PER) 11.93 DEF. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.00, Sol Aguirre (PER) 10.80, Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN) 8.77

HEAT 6: Teresa Bonvalot (POR) 11.93 DEF. Zoe Benedetto (USA) 9.90, Vahine Fierro (FRA) 9.20, Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.40

HEAT 7: Leilani McGonagle (CRC) 13.23 DEF. Sarah Baum (RSA) 12.20, Alyssa Spencer (USA) 11.44, Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 8.93

HEAT 8: Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 10.46 DEF. Isabella Nichols (AUS) 10.37, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) 9.77, Yolanda Hopkins (POR) 9.34

Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico Women's Round of 16 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) vs. Macy Callaghan (AUS)

HEAT 2: Ellie Harrison (AUS) vs. Zoe McDougall (HAW)

HEAT 3: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) vs. India Robinson (AUS)

HEAT 4: Luana Silva (BRA) vs. Bronte Macaulay (AUS)

HEAT 5: Daniella Rosas (PER) vs. Zoe Benedetto (USA)

HEAT 6: Teresa Bonvalot (POR) vs. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)

HEAT 7: Leilani McGonagle (CRC) vs. Isabella Nichols (AUS)

HEAT 8: Ariane Ochoa (EUK) vs. Sarah Baum (RSA)

Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico Men's Round of 32 Results:

HEAT 1: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 14.84 DEF. Nolan Rapoza (USA) 11.94, Joel Vaughan (AUS) 10.20, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 10.10

HEAT 2: Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.40 DEF. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 11.07, Shion Crawford (HAW) 9.30, Jackson Baker (AUS) 4.63

HEAT 3: Jett Schilling (USA) 14.56 DEF. Mateus Herdy (BRA) 12.50, Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 12.20, Ian Gouveia (BRA) 11.50

HEAT 4: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 13.60 DEF. Crosby Colapinto (USA) 10.93, Luke Thompson (RSA) 10.40, Conner Coffin (USA) 9.10

HEAT 5: Alister Reginato (AUS) 11.93 DEF. Eli Hanneman (HAW) 11.63, Kauli Vaast (FRA) 10.83, Sheldon Simkus (AUS) 9.80

HEAT 6: Jacob Willcox (AUS) 12.90 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 12.43, Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 11.24, Joan Duru (FRA) 11.04

HEAT 7: George Pittar (AUS) 12.53 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.37, Carlos Munoz (CRC) 10.50, Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 9.43

HEAT 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 12.43 DEF. Jadson Andre (BRA) 11.93, Nat Young (USA) 11.07, Leo Casal (BRA) 10.10

Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico Men's Round of 16 Matchups:

HEAT 1: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS)

HEAT 2: Cole Houshmand (USA) vs. Nolan Rapoza (USA)

HEAT 3: Jett Schilling (USA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA)

HEAT 4: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA)

HEAT 5: Alister Reginato (AUS) vs. Jake Marshall (USA)

HEAT 6: Jacob Willcox (AUS) vs. Eli Hanneman (HAW)

HEAT 7: George Pittar (AUS) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA)

HEAT 8: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA

Watch LIVE: Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico The Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico and Huntington Beach Longboard Classic hold a competition window through Sunday, August 6, 2023. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app. Check out more ways to watch from the WSL’s broadcast partners. The Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico is proudly supported by Wallex.US, Pacifico, Cup Noodles, Hurley, 805 Beer, Red Bull, Sambazon, Shiseido, Surfshark, YETI, Aloha Collection, Aventon E-Bikes, Board & Brew, Boxed Water, Deville Canned Cocktails, Feelgoodz, Flexfit, Fuji Film, Huntington Surf & Sport, Jack’s Surfboards, Nixon Watches, Pura Vida, Ralphs, Tractor Beverage Company, USAF 330th Special Warfare, Visit Huntington Beach, William Grant & Sons, Professional Teqball, Tractor Soda, Victoria White, and Youtheory.


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