Tatiana Weston-Webb has only been on the elite Championship Tour for a little over a year and a half. She made a big statement this time last year at the 2016 US Open when she scored her first ever CT event win. With that win she was suddenly no longer a stealth threat, but a real contender among the top tier of professional surfing. And it was that kind of tenacity that she unleashed again today at the 2017 Vans US Open of Surfing when she wrestled the lead back from Johanne Defay in the waning moments of their Quarterfinal heat. It was a veritable battle of the almost-titans: Defay won here in 2015 as a Tour sophomore, and like Weston-Webb, has been a solid Top 10 surfer since she landed on Tour.
Today, though, belonged to Weston-Webb. With her mother, Tanira, anxiously watching from the sand, Tati pressed ahead for a sweet payoff after a season that, so far, has been less-than-stellar by her own high standards. After finishing last season ranked No. 4 overall, Tati arrived in Huntington Beach ranked at an unfamiliar No. 10, the precarious cutoff line for re-qualification. When the contest gets going again, she'll face fellow Hawaii native Coco Ho.