Stab Magazine | Hiroto Ohhara and Johanne Defay win the US Open of Surfing
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Hiroto Ohhara and Johanne Defay win the US Open of Surfing

Story by Morgan Williamson The Vans US Open of Surfing has come to close and the spectacle’s on its way. A mellower year than previous seen in Huntington Beach. The free concerts are no more. A bunch of white kids didn’t riot and people may even have came to actually watch the surfing. Somewhere in […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Story by Morgan Williamson

The Vans US Open of Surfing has come to close and the spectacle’s on its way. A mellower year than previous seen in Huntington Beach. The free concerts are no more. A bunch of white kids didn’t riot and people may even have came to actually watch the surfing. Somewhere in the midst of girls too young, in bathing suits too little, branding free hugs in neon paint across their bare-mid-drifts, between the skateboards and the farmer’s tans, and the excessive amount of shakas; there was a surf contest. And Filipe Toledo didn’t take the cake, as everyone predicted with such conviction. The unsponsored Mr Tanner Hendrickson from Maui ousted Filipe in the semis with strength in his trunks, power hacking his way ahead of the Brazilian aerialist. Kolohe Andino scrapped in meagre waves, putting up meagre scores, and was eliminated by Tanner.

Hiroto Ohhara took down the local boy Kanoa Igarashi in the semis. The waves were fit for a proper grovel. And when the Final rolled around, that’s what Tanner and Hiroto did. With a fresh mix of hacks and hops Hiroto became the first Japanese surfer to make the Vans US Open final. And, subsequently the first to win it. He snagged a 9.17 in the closing minutes of the final, giving him the lead over Tanner. “The final was pretty slow,” Tanner told Stab. “I got the 7 in the beginning and thought that could be a back-up score. Then I got that 5.9 and knew that wouldn’t be enough. There was some point, when there was eight minutes to go, the realisation that I was in the Final of the US Open came into my head. I was like Oh my god, there’s 10,000 points. $100,000. I was tripping out, to be in the final where a lot of my heroes have won in the past. Then that wave came and Hiroto had priority. He went left, I went right and I guess he just ripped it, because he got a 9.1. All and all it’s been great experience and I’m super stoked for Hiroto.”

Both Hiroto and Tanner were in fine form throughout the contest, out-scoring the CT guys that made the trip to HB. “I don’t know how to say it, I’m just so stoked,” Ohhara told the WSL. “It feels like something very special today. Now I think I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year. I’ve learned everything here and I got a good result here.” In a broken interview with Strider at the end of the show, one thing was apparent: the Dark Horse was stoked. Hell, the kid’s $100k richer. And, along with Ian Crane, who won the Hurley Pro Trails, Hiroto’s been awarded a wildcard for the Hurley Pro at Trestles.

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