Saturday at the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing is typically the biggest day of them all. While surf finals usually go down on Sundays, and the men’s and women’s both will tomorrow, Saturday hosts the biggest crowds and some of the top action. Especially since the Vans Park Series went down today.
On Friday, 13-year-old reigning Women’s Pro Tour Vans Park Series champion Brighton Zeuner took out the Women’s Pro Tour event. Calling someone who is just freshly a teenager a world champion is wild. Zeuner’s teenaged performance on Friday set the tone for the Men’s Pro Tour on Saturday.
Of the 8 skaters who put themselves in the finals on Saturday afternoon with high-octane performances in the semis, 7 were teenagers. It was 16-year-old Jagger Eaton dropping a legitimate score of 88 in the semifinals, qualifying in first place for the finals. But he was eventually to be outdone in the finals by 17-year-old Tom Schaar.
It certainly did help that elder statesmen in the Vans Park Series like Curren Caples and Pedro Barros were unable to skate — Caples dealing with an ankle injury and Barros not being able to get into the United States from Brazil.
But those two absences creaked the door open for the teenagers, who are the future, wanting the future to be now. And they all took advantage.
Tom Schaar’s domination this year in the Vans Park Series has seen him take the first event in Sydney and now this last event before the World Championships in Shanghai this September. Schaar will certainly be a favorite then, as he said after his victory today, "I’m just really happy, glad I got my run down. I’m really stoked.”
Another teenaged standout at this weekend’s event who might also be heading to Shanghai was CJ Collins, who also had the fortune to turn 14 today and finish third. His big gift was possibly obtaining that invite to the World Championships in Shanghai by finishing in sixth in the challengers rankings; oh and $10,000.
The top 7 challengers for the World Championships who may get the invites to face off with the Park Series skaters are Tom Schaar, Karl Burgling, Murilo Peres, Willy Lara, Tristan Rennie, CJ Collins and Roman Pabich. The top 5 will definitely be invited, and possibly all 7 depending on injuries.
It was quite the changing of the guard in Huntington Beach in the skate bowl this week and weekend. And while Pedro Barros and reigning world champ Alex Sorgente will both be major threats at the World Championships, it’s clear the future has arrived and they’re going to have to battle some younger competitors who are hungry.
If you missed the action, or want to rewatch it, head over to Red Bull TV
VANS PARK SERIES MEN’S PRO TOUR RESULTS
1. Tom Schaar 91.69
2. Ben Hatchell 86.98
3. CJ Collins 85.31
4. Keegan Palmer 81.78
5. Tristan Rennie 80.99
6. Karl Berglind 78.94
7. Cory Juneau 62.96
8. Jagger Eaton 61.07
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