Many of the young talented surfers that aspire to make the World Surf League Champions Tour will ascend on Huntington Beach next week as the 4th stop on the Challenger Series hits southern California.
Marking the half-way point of the 2022 season, the Vans US Open Of Surfing will begin Saturday, July 30th and run through August 7th.
At the conclusion of the eight events this year, the top 10 men and top 5 women in the standings will make the Championship tour in 2023.
Two of the local standouts in the event, Jett Schilling and Cole Houshmand were at Huntington Beach Monday, getting ready for what they hope will be a memorable event.
"Last year I finished 9th right here (Huntington Beach) in the US Open and that was my best Challenger series result so far, " the 21-year-old Houshmand said. " Last year was a small event because of covid, but this year it's back like the good old days. It's a huge set up, kind of feels like you're performing in a stadium, so we really look forward to this event, it's right by our home pretty much."
Houshmand and Schilling both grew up just 20 miles away in nearby San Clemente and both were standouts in the junior ranks.
Houshmand, a former NSSA and USA National champion has yet to put up a top performance in the first three events of the season, but is hoping the familiarity with the area helps his cause next week.
"I feel like I'm pretty good on these conditions," he said. "I just have to go in with some confidence. I'll be going for it in my heats, try to show case my surfing and have fun hanging out with the fans. It will definitely feel like a home advantage compared to some of these guys"
Schilling is currently ranked 16th on the Challenger rankings. He finished in 3rd place in the Sydney Surf Pro, losing in the semi-finals to eventual champion Rio Waida.
He is hoping a good performance at a place he knows very well, can inch him closer to that top ten threshold.
"I want to win this thing, " Schilling said. "I just need to surf honestly and get some waves. We grew up surfing here, all the little NSSA's and stuff, it's like bread and butter for us. We are stoked that it's here."
Schilling comes into the event as the North American # 10 seed. He for one, is hoping to use the local crowd to help him put on a show.
"It's insane, I'm stoked to have to fans back, " Schilling said. " They make everything bigger and better for the US Open."