After three days of competition, the PacSun USA Surf Team is neck and neck with the best nations in the surfing world. The waves in Costa da Caparica, Portugal have been pumping since Saturday’s Opening Ceremonies and the level of surfing has matched (if not exceeded) the quality of the surf.
Sunday’s opening heats saw 2008 U.S. Open Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen cruise through two rounds in style with lengthy tip rides and a progressive repertoire of maneuvers. Also excelling on Day One for the Stars and Stripes was Maui’s Jacob Romero in Mens Bodyboard. Romero’s backflips and el rollos sent an early message to the rest of the 29 team field.
But perhaps the greatest highlight for the PacSun USA Surf Team thus far was when all four Open Mens surfers won with authority on Day Two. 2001 ASP World Champion C.J. Hobgood blew through two rounds with ease, showing up fresh off his win at the 2008 Billabong Pro Mundaka. Fellow ASP World Tour surfer Ben Bourgeois made his presence felt in the four-foot clean peaks by posting a 9.5 single wave score in both of his heats. Benny B. backed up his near-perfect waves with 8-point plus ride both times to combo all of his opponents.
CJ Hobgood ripping for the red, white and blue.
Two junior surfers in Open Mens also breezed through to round three of the qualifying draw. Malibu’s Dillon Perillo and Santa Cruz’s Nat Young showed why they deserve a spot on the roster alongside the WCTers by pulling out fins-free maneuvers in the clean, rippable surf.
Day Three was highly successful for the American squad as well. The PacSun USA Surf Team went five for six in the qualifying bracket. Womens surfers Lauren Sweeney and Demi Boelsterli plugged through two heats and now sit within striking distance of the medal rounds.
But as with any ISA competition, there are still plenty of heats left to go before Sunday’s finals. However, if Team USA continues the way they started, there will be a plane full of Olympic Committee-recognized medals headed back to LAX on Monday