World surf League : Johanne Defay (FRA) won the Vans US Open of Surfing
Wednesday 5 August 2015 –
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Johanne Defay (FRA) claimed her first elite CT victory today, taking out Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in a tense Final at Huntington Beach Pier. The win sees her earn 10,000 points and move up five places to sixth on the Jeep Leaderboard.
The Reunion Island surfer took an early opportunity in the Final and earned a heat-high 7.67 for a series of backhand snaps to take the lead and put the pressure on Fitzgibbons, who was left looking for a 5.52. Fitzgibbons found a comeback wave with five minutes remaining, showcasing a reverse followed by two more turns. She was rewarded with a 7.00 and the lead but Defay answered with two big turns for 5.87 and reclaimed the top spot to take the win.
“I don’t think I can put it into words,” said Defay. “It’s very hard to digest and I don’t know how to say how I feel — it’s so crazy. I’m very happy to have some of my friends here and I’m thinking of the people back home too. I guess it’s all the work I’ve done before and it’s all come together. I’ve just been sticking to same game plan, trying to get a lot of waves. It was tricky at the start but then I got that score which put me in a better position. I feel really good, last year everything was so new and this year I feel way more comfortable.”
Defay previously defeated good friend Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) in the Semifinals in a rematch of the Fiji Pro. Neck-and-neck throughout the heat, Defay won with the narrowest of margins, 0.01, to earn her first ever CT Final appearance.
“It’s pretty amazing, I could never imagine that I could win here or that I could win an event,” continued Defay. “I just took it heat by heat and it’s so crazy. This is definitely my biggest win. Ending up last year at eighth on the rankings I thought maybe I could do top five so we’ll see what happens this year.”
Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) claimed the biggest result of his career today winning the Vans US Open of Surfing Men’s QS 10,000 after defeating Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) in a hard-fought Final. The result propelled Ohhara up 68 places on the QS rankings to 13th place, putting him within reach of qualifying for the Top 34 in 2016.
The pair traded waves throughout the exciting bout with the young surfer from Japan holding the lead through the opening half. A strong backside vertical snap from Hendrickson earned a 7.00 and a back-up 5.90 saw him take the lead. Three big turns on the outside from Ohhara followed by a final maneuver on the inside with just over three minutes remaining earned him an excellent 9.17 and a lead change. Hendrickson was left looking for a 7.51 but his final attempts fell short and Ohhara took the historic win.
“I don’t know how to say it, I’m just so stoked,” said Ohhara. “It feels like something very special today. Now I think I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year. I’ve learnt everything here and I got a good result here.”
Ohhara became the first Japanese surfer to make the Final at the Vans US Open of Surfing after defeating local favorite Kanoa Igarashi (USA) in the opening Semifinal. Taking eight waves to Igarashi’s three, Ohhara edged the win and sent the Huntington Beach local home in third place.
“It feels so amazing right now,” continued Ohhara. “I’m super stoked to win this event. I just want to thank everyone — my sponsors, family and friends. This means that the Japanese are no. 1! I really want to be on the CT now so I’ll just keep focused and concentrate on the next event.”
Women’s CT Final Results:
- 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.54
- 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.83
Men’s QS 10,000 Final Results:
- 1: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 14.50
- 2: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 12.90
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