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Eli Hanneman soars into US Open of Surfing Semifinals

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Eli Hanneman of Hawaiʻi surfs in Heat 3 of the Quarterfinals at the US Open of Surfing on August 5, 2023 at Huntington Beach, California. (Photo by Pat Nolan/World Surf League)

Maui surfer, Eli Hanneman, made an outstanding comeback over former Championship Tour competitor Jake Marshall (USA) with an excellent 8.50 at the Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico.

Hanneman’s highly-anticipated breakthrough in 2023 now takes him into the Semifinals for a Finals Day showdown where he will face two-time US Open of Surfing winner Kanoa Igarashi (JPN). 

Eli Hanneman Soars Into US Open of Surfing Semifinals. PC: WSL

 Finals day is set at the Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico, Stop No. 4 on the World Surf League (WSL) 2023 Challenger Series, and the Huntington Beach Longboard Classic, Stop No. 1 of the 2023 WSL Longboard Tour. 

The full day of competition witnessed outstanding performances from up-and-coming Challenger Series competitors, as well as stylish showcases from the world’s best longboarders. After a week of competition, the field has been narrowed, and the winners of the Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico and Huntington Beach Longboard Classic will be crowned tomorrow. 

Sawyer Lindblad of the United States surfs in Heat 2 of the Quarterfinals at the US Open of Surfing on August 5, 2023 at Huntington Beach, California. (Photo by Kenny Morris/World Surf League)

Lindblad Posts Highest Score of the Day, Fitzgibbons Surges Closer to Second US Open of Surfing Title

Sawyer Lindblad
 (USA) continued to be unstoppable today. The San Clemente, California, competitor used her dynamic forehand to post a near-perfect, 9.00 (out of a possible 10). The score was too much for former CT surfer Luana Silva (BRA), and Lindblad secured her second Semifinal appearance of the season. Lindblad currently sits at No. 7 on the Challenger Series and is hoping for a big win here to boost her up the rankings. 


“I knew that I really needed to make that heat in terms of points,” said Lindblad. “Between Quarters and the Semis, there’s a big points difference. Luana (Silva) is so good. I was even nervous at the end because I knew she could still get that 9.66. Me, my dad, and my coach were all looking at the waves before the heat and we saw all these lefts coming in. I just wanted to try it up there for a couple minutes. I was actually about to paddle back toward the pier because I didn’t want to leave her alone that long and then that wave came so I got really lucky.”

Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) kept her run toward a second US Open of SurfingTitle going with a Quarterfinal victory. Fitzgibbons and Lindblad will be joined by Leilani McGonagle (CRC) and Ellie Harrison (AUS) in the Semifinals. 

Colapinto, Rapoza, and Igarashi Lead Southern California Charge into Finals Day

In a shocking start to the men’s Quarterfinals, Reef Heazlewood (AUS) caused a non-priority interference on Long Beach, California’s, Nolan Rapoza. Rapoza was able to utilize Heazlewood’s mistake and earned his place in the US Openof Surfing Semifinals for the first time since 2021.

Fellow Southern Californian Crosby Colapinto put on a showcase while under pressure from fellow CT qualification threat Mateus Herdy (BRA). After a slow start, Colapinto went to work on his forehand and took the lead with a 6.50. He then backed it up with a 6.70 to earn a ticket to the Semifinals. Colapinto now looks to join his brother, Griffin Colapinto (USA), as a US Open of Surfingwinner. 


“In the beginning, my plan was to start with a 6.00, and Mateus (Herdy) started quick and applied a little pressure,” said Colapinto. “I felt like I needed to start going and got that 4.13 and thought that’s not the best way to start the heat. But I knew I was still in it. There was 15 minutes left, and I was just trusting and believing in myself. To feel that way is a great feeling.” 

Rapoza and Colapinto will be joined by Eli Hanneman (HAW) and Huntington Beach’s local hero and two-time US Open of Surfing winner, Kanoa Igarashi (JPN), in the Semifinals. 

Kaleopa’a and Jensen Move Closer to Back-to-Back Wins

The world’s best longboarders then took the stage and put on a showcase of style and flow for the weekend crowd.

Defending event victor Kelis Kaleopa’a (HAW) and former WSL Longboard Champion Rachael Tilly (USA) kicked off the Huntington Beach Longboard Classic Quarterfinal action in a dramatic fashion. Tilly built on her early lead throughout the heat and held firm heading into the final minutes. But, Kaleopa’a delivered a 6.63 and overtook the lead at the five-minute mark. Kaleopa’a is now within reach of defending her event Title. 


“I was a bit nervous not getting a wave right away,” said Kaleopa’a’. “The conditions went kind of slow and I sat in not the same spot as always. Mentally, you just had to stay in that heat.”

Reigning WSL Longboard Champion Soleil Errico (USA) overcame World Title threat Alice Lemoigne (FRA) in Heat 3 of the Quarterfinals. Errico will join Sophia Culhane (HAW) and three-time WSL Longboard Champion Honolua Blomfield (HAW) in the Semifinals. 

The men’s longboard Quarterfinals action witnessed more masterful performances, beginning with three-time WSL Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen (USA) eliminating fellow Longboard Tour veteran Edouard Delpero(FRA). Jensen’s wave selection and ability to capitalize on critical sections garnered an impressive 14.70 (out of possible 20) in the textured, afternoon conditions. Jensen’s historic fourth World Title run is now off to a good start with a Finals Day appearance. 

“To be in the US Open Finals Day is huge and going back-to-back is the goal,” said Jensen. “There’s fun waves, I’ve been sitting here watching for most of the day and I was just amped to go surf. I saw a couple lefts down the beach and figured that was a good plan with the high tide. Watching the shortboard heats that were super close, it just gets you excited to put on the jersey and go battle.” 

Philippine’s star Rogelio Jr Esquievel advanced out of his Quarterfinal matchup in style as he was cheered on by a crowd of dedicated fans. Longboard Tour veteran Tony Silvagni (USA), and last year’s event runner-up Kaniela Stewart (HAW) also made their way into the first Finals Day of the 2023 WSL Longboard Tour season. ʻ

Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico Women’s Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Ellie Harrison (AUS) 10.00 DEF. Nadia Erostarbe (EUK) 9.57
HEAT 2: Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 15.83 DEF. Luana Silva (BRA) 11.67
HEAT 3: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) 14.50 DEF. Daniella Rosas (PER) 11.43
HEAT 4: Leilani McGonagle (CRC) 13.00 DEF. Ariane Ochoa (EUK) 10.13

Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico Men’s Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 12.50 DEF. Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 8.66
HEAT 2: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 13.20 DEF. Mateus Herdy (BRA) 12.37
HEAT 3: Eli Hanneman (HAW) 14.00 DEF. Jake Marshall (USA) 13.84
HEAT 4: Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) 11.70 DEF. George Pittar (AUS) 11.30

Huntington Beach Longboard Classic Women’s Quarterfinal Results: 
HEAT 1: Kelis Kaleopaa (HAW) 13.56 DEF. Rachael Tilly (USA) 13.50
HEAT 2: Sophia Culhane (HAW) 11.96 DEF. Lindsay Steinriede (USA) 11.33
HEAT 3: Soleil Errico (USA) 13.90 DEF. Alice Lemoigne (FRA) 13.10
HEAT 4: Honolua Blomfield (HAW) 12.47 DEF. Chloe Calmon (BRA) 11.40

Huntington Beach Longboard Classic Men’s Quarterfinal Results: 
HEAT 1: Taylor Jensen (USA) 14.70 DEF. Edouard Delpero (FRA) 11.17
HEAT 2: Tony Silvagni (USA) 13.86 DEF. Kai Ellice-Flint (AUS) 13.44
HEAT 3: Kaniela Stewart (HAW) 13.23 DEF. Taka Inoue (JPN) 10.77
HEAT 4: Rogelio Jr Esquievel (PHL) 14.13 DEF. Richie Cravey (USA) 7.40

Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico Women’s Semifinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Ellie Harrison (AUS) vs. Sawyer Lindblad (USA)
HEAT 2: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) vs. Leilani McGonagle (CRC)

Wallex US Open of Surfing Presented by Pacifico Men’s Semifinal Matchups:
HEAT 1: Nolan Rapoza (USA) vs. Crosby Colapinto (USA)
HEAT 2: Eli Hanneman (HAW) vs. Kanoa Igarashi (JPN)

Huntington Beach Longboard Classic Women’s Semifinal Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Kelis Kaleopaa (HAW) vs. Sophia Culhane (HAW)
HEAT 2: Soleil Errico (USA) vs. Honolua Blomfield (HAW)

Huntington Beach Longboard Classic Men’s Semifinal Matchups: 
HEAT 1: Taylor Jensen (USA) vs. Tony Silvagni (USA)
HEAT 2: Kaniela Stewart (HAW) vs. Rogelio Jr Esquievel (PHL)

Watch LIVE: Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico and Huntington Beach Longboard Classic

The Wallex US Open of Surfing presented by Pacifico and Huntington Beach Longboard Classic hold a competition window through Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023. The competition will be broadcast LIVE on, the WSL’s YouTube channel, and the free WSL app


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