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San Clemente Teen Surfer and 3 Others Win US Open of Surfing

San Clemente Teen Surfer and 3 Others Win US Open of Surfing

Sawyer Lindblad of the United States after winning the Women’s U.S. Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 6, 2023 (Kenny Morris/World Surf League)

John Fredricks

John Fredricks

8/7/2023

Updated: 8/8/2023

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.—After nine days of intense competition, the U.S. Open of Surfing concluded Aug. 6 with four professional surfers taking home victories.
First place went to Eli Hanneman (Men’s Challenger Series); Sawyer Lindblad (Women’s Challenger Series); Kaniela Stewart (Men’s Longboard Tour); and Kelis Kaleopa'a (Women’s Longboard Tour).
The wins mean cash prizes of up to $20,000 and points to raise the winner’s rankings within the Challenger Series of the World Surf League, which oversees and organizes 180 annual surfing contests across the world.
“Sawyer Lindblad and Eli Hanneman benefited greatly from their respective wins, earning 10,000 points each,” World Surf League officials told The Epoch Times. “They are both in a strong hunt for Championship Tour qualification with two events remaining.”
The competition marked the fourth of six World Surfing League “Challenger Series” contests in 2023.
Eli Hanneman of Hawaii after surfing in the Final of the at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 6, 2023. (Kenny Morris/World Surf League)

Eli Hanneman of Hawaii after surfing in the Final of the at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 6, 2023. (Kenny Morris/World Surf League)

During the series, surfers showcase their wave-riding talent before judges for the chance to qualify for the league’s elite-level Championship Tour the following season.
Only the top 10 men and top five women of the Challenger Series will qualify for the Championship Tour.
For winners Lindblad, 17, of San Clemente, and Hanneman, 20, of Lahaina, Maui, the chances of making it to the Championship Tour are good assuming they maintain their performances, according to the World Surfing League officials.
Lindblad is now ranked third in the Women’s Challenger Series, and Hanneman is now fourth behind San Clemente’s Crosby Colapinto.
The competition, which is free to watch for the public, draws thousands of attendees to Huntington Beach every year.
“We pride ourselves as being ‘Surf City USA,’ which is why we have hosted surf competitions here since 1959,” city of Huntington Beach spokeswoman Jennifer Carey told The Epoch Times. “Surf fans love the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach as visitors can get up close and personal with each competitor.”
Kaniela Stewart of Hawaii and Kelis Kaleopaa of Hawaii after winning the Final at the Huntington Beach Longboard Classic in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 6, 2023. (Tommy Pierucki/World Surf League)

Kaniela Stewart of Hawaii and Kelis Kaleopaa of Hawaii after winning the Final at the Huntington Beach Longboard Classic in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 6, 2023. (Tommy Pierucki/World Surf League)

During the Sunday finals of the “Huntington Beach Longboard Classic,” onlookers cheered on as Hawaiian surfers Stewart of the men’s division and Kaleopa'a of the women’s took home trophies and a $5,000 check each for their stand-out performances.
“[Their] wins put them atop the rankings for the 2023 WSL Longboard Tour,” league officials told The Epoch Times. “There are two events remaining for them to secure a Top 8 finish, which would ensure their place in the Malibu Longboard Championships and give them a chance to win a World Title.”
The next competition of the league’s Longboard Tour will be the Bioglan Bells Beach Longboard Classic  Aug. 30–Sept. 2 in Australia.
Those competing in the Challenger Series will resume their fight for positions for the Championship Tour Oct. 1–8 in Portugal.
Crowds gather for the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Crowds gather for the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, Calif., on Aug. 4, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

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John Fredricks

John Fredricks

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John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.

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