California girl Courtney Conlogue came home and knocked off the world’s top-ranked women’s surfer Sunday.
Conlogue, of Santa Ana, and whose home beach is Huntington Beach, defeated Australian Stephanie Gilmore in the women’s final in the Vans US Open of Surfing at Huntington Beach, the seventh of 10 stops on the Women’s Championship Tour.
She won the final by a score of 13.83 to Gilmore’s 11.86.
When the horn sounded to end the competition, Conlogue hugged Gilmore as they sat on their boards in the water. As Conlogue emerged from the waves, spectators dashed into the water to greet her.
In her final run, Conlogue actually shot the Huntington Beach pier, ending the run in the midst of the pilings.
“Honestly, wow!” said Conlogue, who was coming back from a foot injury. “This has been quite a journey this year. It hasn’t been an easy one.”
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Conlogue, who entered the weekend ranked 16th in the world, won the Huntington Beach event for the first time since 2009. On the way to the final, she also defeated second-ranked Lakey Peterson of the U.S. in the quarterfinals. Conlogue is a two-time world championship runner-up and last won a Championship Tour event in June 2017 in Fiji.
The competition was just the third World Surf League event of the year for Conlogue because she injured her foot in training in Australia. She now has a win and two 13th-place finishes in three events this year.
Three of the four semifinalists were Americans. Conlogue defeated 16-year-old rising star Carolina Marks 15.57 to 11.26, and Carissa Moore of Hawaii lost in the final minute of her semifinal against Gilmore 11.77 to 11.36.
The next Women’s Championship Tour event is the inaugural Surf Ranch Pro in Lemoore, California, Sept. 6-9.
Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is sports editor of the Cape Cod Times and a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.