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Bianca Buitendag Ranked No. 4 in World After 3rd Place at Vans US Open of Surfing

August 4th, 2015
Bianca Buitendag pushing the limits on her way to third place in the Vans US Open of Surfing and No. 4 on the World rankings  Image: WSL / Rowland

Bianca Buitendag pushing the limits on her way to third place in the Vans US Open of Surfing and No. 4 on the World rankings  Image: WSL / Rowland

Beyrick de Vries Places 9th and Jumps to No. 43 on QS Men’s Rankings

Bianca Buitendag and Beyrick de Vries made significant upward moves on their respective World Surf League (WSL) rankings after impressive performances in the women’s and men’s events at the Vans US Open of Surfing, which was completed in glassy but inconsistent waves at Huntington Beach in California on Sunday.

Buitendag rose two places to No.4 on the WSL Women’s Championship Tour (CT) rankings and into contention for the 2015 World title when she placed third overall in the event. The 21-year-old from Victoria Bay missed out on her third consecutive Dream Tour Final when she was outscored by just one hundredth of a point by close friend and eventual event winner Johanne Defay from Reunion Island in their semifinal clash.

Buitendag has been on form for the past two months, reaching the Final in the last two events in Fiji and Rio de Janeiro and finishing second at both events after a slow start to the season in Australia. She caused the biggest upset of the US Open by eliminating two-time World and event champion Carissa Moore (HAW) in the quarterfinals which saw the Hawaiian lose the Jeep rankings lead to Courtney Conlogue (USA).

Buitendag and her boyfriend chaired the champion from the water’s edge to the podium after Defay clinched the title by defeating Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in a nail-biting Final that saw the lead change hands in the dying moments.

“It’s pretty amazing, I could never imagine that I could win here or that I could win an event,” Defay said. “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.”

De Vries, the only South African in the men’s event, posted his best result of the year by advancing through three rounds of the QS10,000 rated men’s event before falling to top seed and current World No.4 Filipe Toledo (BRA) in a man-on-man Round 4 duel. The 22-year-old from Umhlanga stuck to his game plan of waiting for the bigger waves but ultimately could not match Toledo’s high scoring aerial manoeuvres in the small inconsistent waves.

The event was won by Hiroto Ohhara who became the first Japanese surfer to reach the final and win a QS10,000 ranked event when he defeated another surprise finalist in Tanner Hendrickson (HAW).

His ninth place finish earned de Vries 3 700 points, vaulting him from 76th to 43rd on the QS rankings and guaranteeing him entry into the elite 96-man fields for the five remaining QS10,000 events on the 2015 schedule. Along with his base points for finishing 2014 ranked 49th, de Vries will also benefit from a higher seeding in all the QS events for the rest of the year.

The next highest QS ranked South African is Michael February from Kommetjie who was a standout in the first two rounds of the trials for the US Open but lost the chance to grab one of the two spots for trialists in the main event when he was eliminated in the semis. February, now ranked No. 74, also qualifies directly for the remainder of the QS10,000 events as the criteria changes from previous year’s ranking to current year’s ranking after the Huntington Beach event.

Other Saffas to enhance their reputations at the US Open include Dylan Lightfoot (Jeffreys Bay) and Shane Sykes (Salt Rock). Lightfoot recorded several of the highest point’s totals as he made his way into the semifinals of the Pro Junior men, finishing equal seventh overall, while Sykes reached the quarterfinals of the event before being eliminated in equal 13th place.

All the results, images, video footage and more from the Vans US Open of Surfing can be found at www.worldsurfleague.com and http://www.vansusopenofsurfing.com

Vans Open of Surfing – Huntington Beach, CA, USA

Women’s CT Final Results:
1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 13.54
2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.83

Women’s CT Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Johanne Defay (FRA) 12.17 def. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) 12.16
SF 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 11.83 def. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 7.50

Men’s QS 10,000 Final Results:
1: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 14.50
2: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 12.90

Men’s QS 10,000 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN) 13.50 def. Kanoa Igarashi (USA) 13.16
SF 2: Tanner Hendrickson (HAW) 13.24 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 13.07

WSL CT Women’s Rankings (After US Open)
1. Courtney Conlogue (USA) 43,400 points
2. Carissa Moore (HAW) 43,000
3. Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 37,600
4. Bianca Buitendag (ZAF, Victoria Bay) 32,750
5. Lakey Peterson (USA) 32,500

WSL QS Men’s Rankings (After US Open)
1. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 22,350 points
2. Alex Ribeiro (BRA) 18,750
3. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 16,500
4. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16,400
5. Caio Ibelli (BRA) 15,750

43. Beyrick de Vries (ZAF, Umhlanga) 6,660
74. Michael February (ZAF, Kommetjie) 4,137
105. Dale Staples (ZAF, St Francis Bay) 2,745

ENDS

About the World Surf League
The World Surf League (WSL) organizes the annual tour of professional surf competitions and broadcasts each event live at WorldSurfLeague.com where you can experience the athleticism, drama and adventure of competitive surfing — anywhere and anytime it’s on. The WSL sanctions and operates the following tours: the Junior Tour, Longboard Tour, the Qualifying Series (QS), the Big Wave Tour and the crown jewel of the sport, the WSL Championship Tour (CT) which determines the sport’s undisputed world champions. The organization is headquartered in Santa Monica, California with Commercial Offices in New York. The offices are supported by regional centers in Africa, Asia, Australasia, Europe, Hawaii, North America and South America.

Issued on behalf of:

WSL Africa
Contact: Colin Fitch – Operations Manager
Tel: 021 534 5738
Email: cfitch@worldsurfleague.com

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