The second day of competition at the 2014 Vans US Open of Surfing saw 32 trialists battle for four spots in the prestigious Prime-rated men's event in Huntington Beach.
The third of eight Prime-rated events on the 2014 ASP Qualification Series schedule, the Vans US Open of Surfing offers crucial points towards qualification for the Dream Tour.
Kai Barger (HAW), 24, a former ASP World Junior champion, strung together an impressive run during the trials, claiming a last-second win in Round 3 to secure a spot in the main event. Barger was trailing in his final heat, but a strong two-turn backhand combination saw the Hawaiian leap into the lead just before the buzzer.
"I wasn't expecting to even get in and to surf three heats in a row like that, it took me back to my amateur days," Barger said. "I had a really bad start and only had a 4. It really came down to everyone's best waves and it was a buzzer beater for me.â€
Santiago Muniz (ARG), 21, brother of defending event champion Alejo Muniz (BRA), continued the trend of last second victories. The South American standout earned the day's high heat total of 16.30 out of 20, advancing to the men's main event for the first time in his career.
"The guys in that last heat were all really good and I knew I'd have to surf my best," Muniz said. "I feel great. My brother won last year and to compete with him and these guys feels really good."
Also advancing to the main event are past ASP North America Pro Junior Series champion Cory Arrambide (USA), 25, and Bino Lopes (BRA), 26, who finished second in their respective Round 3 heats to make the cutoff.