Huntington Beach, Calif., USA (Monday, July 31, 2023) – Today, the top-seeded men made stunning debuts at the World Surf League (WSL) Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico, Stop No. 4 of the Challenger Series. Championship Tour (CT) qualification hopefuls put on a showcase of power and progression throughout the Round of 64. The day saw several upsets as well as the first confirmation of who will be joining the world’s best in 2024.

Southern California’s Houshmand Becomes First to Qualify for 2024 Championship Tour

San Clemente, California’s own Cole Houshmand (USA) is having a dominant run throughout the 2023 Challenger Series, and today he officially qualified for the 2024 Championship Tour (CT). Houshmand came to this event with back-to-back Challenger Series wins in Sydney and Ballito. Today, his forehand attack paved the way to an important Round of 64 heat win. Now, Houshmand has his eyes on finishing this event and the 2023 season stronger than ever.

“It doesn’t really seem real, I just try to keep my composure and stay in the moment,” said Houshmand. “I’m feeling all the emotions and it feels like the hard work and sacrifices paid off. I had one of the hardest years last year and everything happens for a reason. I’m stoked to do it here with all my friends and family, I wouldn’t have wanted it announced anywhere else.”

Colapinto and Schilling Continue Southern Californian Surge

Another San Clemente phenom, Crosby Colapinto (USA), unleashed an outstanding performance of his own today to post an excellent 8.17 (out of a possible 10) single-wave score, and 15.67 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Colapinto currently sits at No. 13 on the rankings and is looking for a breakthrough performance here at the Wallex US Open of Surfing to boost himself up the rankings. Jett Schilling (USA), another rising star from San Clemente, also earned a debut heat win, keeping himself in the CT qualification conversation.

“I was talking to my brother and we made a game plan that I just stuck with,” said Colapinto. “You’re dealing with the ocean and you never know what it’s going to give you. I just trusted it and believed it was going to come to that spot, and it came so I was able to just let go of the pressure. I think what’s working for me is just being in the moment and not thinking about the expectations.”

Pittar Posts Highest Heat Total of Event So Far

Australian upstart George Pittar (AUS) delivered the event’s highest score so far, an excellent 16.43 heat total. Pittar’s powerful forehand couldn’t be stopped. He kept the pressure on his competitors, former CT standout Nat Young (USA) and former World Junior Champion Lucas Silveira (BRA), the entirety of the heat.

“That one felt pretty nice, to be honest,” said Pittar. “I feel like I’m slowly starting to get it and feel my boards out, and my surfing. We got lucky in that heat. Everyone had their waves, but I was really happy with how I surfed. The Aussie contingent is pretty cool and has been at all the other ones too. It’s just nice knowing everyone’s got your back and they all want you to do well.”

Willcox Inches Closer to Possible CT Qualification 

Current Challenger Series No. 2 Jacob Willcox (AUS) inched closer to solidifying CT qualification with a clutch Round of 64 heat win in his Wallex US Open of Surfing debut. In the final minutes, Willcox found a wave to capitalize on and hammered several large turns on his backhand. He will now come up against Rafael Teixeira (BRA), Joan Duru (FRA), and Jake Marshall (USA) in the Round of 32.

“My strategy was just to look for the lefts and get two backhand snaps on the rights pretty much,” said Willcox. “I feel like it’s been my strategy all year, judges seem to like it. I feel that my consistency has increased a lot this year and it’s working. I’m happy to be back in America, I haven’t had too much luck here in the past so hopefully, this year is going to be fun and I really do love it here.”

CT requalification hopefuls Samuel Pupo (BRA), Jake Marshall (USA), Jackson Baker (AUS), Ian Gouveia (BRA), Jadson Andre (BRA) and Joan Duru (FRA) also made their way into the Round of 32. South Africa’s emerging competitor Luke Thompson (RSA), Tahitian Kauli Vaast (FRA), Maui duo Imaikalani deVault and Eli Hanneman, two-time event victor Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), and Deivid Silva (BRA) will join them in the Round of 32 after notching important heat wins themselves.

Tomorrow’s competition looks likely to run the Huntington Beach Longboard Classic women’s and men’s Elimination Rounds. The competition will start at 8:05 a.m. PDT. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.

Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico Men’s Round of 64 Results:
HEAT 1: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 12.27 DEF. Shion Crawford (HAW) 11.13, Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) 9.57, Gatien Delahaye (FRA) 8.97
HEAT 2: Morgan Cibilic (AUS) 12.67 DEF. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 9.60, Dylan Moffat (AUS) 9.17, Joshe Faulkner (RSA) 7.40
HEAT 3: Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.66 DEF. Nolan Rapoza (USA) 11.60, Te Kehukehu Butler (NZL) 11.26, Lucca Mesinas (PER) 10.57
HEAT 4: Jackson Baker (AUS) 12.77 DEF. Joel Vaughan (AUS) 11.20, Brodi Sale (HAW) 10.64, Kalani Ball (AUS) 10.57
HEAT 5: Ian Gouveia (BRA) 11.44 DEF. Michael Rodrigues (BRA) 10.43, Kade Matson (USA) 8.93, Justin Becret (FRA) 8.77
HEAT 6: Jett Schilling (USA) 12.93 DEF. Conner Coffin (USA) 10.50, Maxime Huscenot (FRA) 10.13, Jabe Swierkocki (USA) 9.74
HEAT 7: Luke Thompson (RSA) 12.60 DEF. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) 11.44, Adin Masencamp (RSA) 11.37, Kolohe Andino (USA) 9.50
HEAT 8: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 15.67 DEF. Mateus Herdy (BRA) 11.23, John Mel (USA) 11.03, Michael Dunphy (USA) 10.40
HEAT 9: Kauli Vaast (FRA) 14.60 DEF. Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 10.73, Timothe Bisso (FRA) 10.17, Leonardo Fioravanti (ITA) 8.23
HEAT 10: Eli Hanneman (HAW) 13.56 DEF. Joan Duru (FRA) 12.60, Frederico Morais (POR) 11.26, Jarvis Earle (AUS) 10.83
HEAT 11: Jacob Willcox (AUS) 12.77 DEF. Alister Reginato (AUS) 11.37, Edgard Groggia (BRA) 10.63, Marlon Harrison (AUS) 8.56
HEAT 12: Jake Marshall (USA) 13.60 DEF. Sheldon Simkus (AUS) 12.07, Keanu Asing (HAW) 11.53, Eithan Osborne (USA) 7.36
HEAT 13: George Pittar (AUS) 16.43 DEF. Nat Young (USA) 13.74, Mikey McDonagh (AUS) 12.36, Lucas Silveira (BRA) 12.30
HEAT 14: Imaikalani deVault (HAW) 13.53 DEF. Leo Casal (BRA) 10.10, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 9.67, Jackson Bunch (HAW) 8.20
HEAT 15: Jadson Andre (BRA) 14.03 DEF. Carlos Munoz (CRC) 12.30, Miguel Tudela (PER) 12.07, Tiago Carrique (FRA) 11.03
HEAT 16: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 11.90 DEF. Deivid Silva (BRA) 11.67, Jordan Lawler (AUS) 10.64, Marco Mignot (FRA) 10.44

Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico Men’s Round of 32 Matchups:
HEAT 1: Samuel Pupo (BRA) vs. Morgan Cibilic (AUS) vs. Nolan Rapoza (USA) vs. Joel Vaughan (AUS)
HEAT 2: Shion Crawford (HAW) vs. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) vs. Cole Houshmand (USA) vs. Jackson Baker (AUS)
HEAT 3: Ian Gouveia (BRA) vs. Jett Schilling (USA) vs. Ezekiel Lau (HAW) vs. Mateus Herdy (BRA)
HEAT 4: Michael Rodrigues (BRA) vs. Conner Coffin (USA) vs. Luke Thompson (RSA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 5: Kauli Vaast (FRA) vs. Eli Hanneman (HAW) vs. Alister Reginato (AUS) vs. Sheldon Simkus (AUS)
HEAT 6: Rafael Teixeira (BRA) vs. Joan Duru (FRA) vs. Jacob Willcox (AUS) vs. Jake Marshall (USA)
HEAT 7: George Pittar (AUS) vs. Imaikalani deVault (HAW) vs. Carlos Munoz (CRC) vs. Deivid Silva (BRA)
HEAT 8: Nat Young (USA) vs. Leo Casal (BRA) vs. Jadson Andre (BRA) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

Watch LIVE: Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico
The Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico holds a competition window Saturday, July 29, through Sunday, August 6, 2023. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, 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. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com.


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