The spotlight’s on Mitch Coleborn at the U.S. Open

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Four years ago Australian Mitch Coleborn, 26, was one of the stars of Kai Neville’s groundbreaking “Modern Collective” film and was squarely focused on his burgeoning freesurfing career. Now he finds himself at the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California, sitting at No. 20 in the men’s world rankings with a great chance of making it onto the vaunted World Championship Tour next year (at year’s end, the top 32 ranked surfers from the ASP’s World Rankings qualify to compete on the elite ASP World Tour where the world championship is decided). He recently told Transworld Surf that he got more excited about competing after seeing Kolohe Andino and John John Florence qualify for the Tour at young ages.

When I was 18 it was like, "I'll just cruise and shoot a couple movies with Kai, and then before you know it, Brother [Kolohe Andino] and all those kids are 18, working with Kai, and qualifying,” he told the website.

If Coleborn does make it to the big show don’t look for him to draw an undue amount of attention. “The Tour is where it is at right now,” he said. “I want to qualify and not have the hype around me like John John did, even though he has completely lived up to it so far. He finished top five first year. I'd like to fly under the radar and get used to the Tour and the system.”

On his first day of competition at the U.S. Open on Monday, Coleborn surfed a smart heat. Check out highlights of his performance here. He tagged the lip of the crumbly Huntington Beach waves on his frontside and weaved his way through the pier en route to an easy win. If he makes a couple more heats he’ll have a keeper result and will be closer to where he wants to be in terms of qualifying.