Competition Slides Through Opening Day at Rincon 50 Surf Fest @wsl

Courtesy of World Surf League (WSL) North America

– Men and Women’s round 1 action in the books at Domes
– Tony Silvagni and Maria Fernanda Reyes drop the hammer
– Surprise performances from newcomers highlight opening day



Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) put on an astonishing opening day performance to earn a 14.75 (out of a possible 20) heat total at Domes. Credit: © WSL / Darren Muschett


DOMES, Rincon, Puerto Rico (Thursday, November 15, 2018) – The World Surf League (WSL) Rincon 50 Surf Fest Men and Women’s Longboard Qualifying Series (LQS) event slid through opening day with two-to-three foot, clean surfing streaming into Domes’ lineup before afternoon winds took over and put competition off for the day. Men and women’s Round 1 were completed in their entirety as Quarterfinal match ups now await the women while a hefty Round 2 draw is on deck for the men. Competitors showcased their style and flow, along with some powerful finishing maneuvers on opening day and set the scale for what’s expected.

Caption: Dakota Faircloth (USA) took advantage of an inside lefthander that pushed him into the lead for a Round 1 win.
Credit: WSL/ Darren Muschett

Huntington Beach, California’s, Dakota Faircloth (USA) started off the day with a big win over 2x World Champion Piccolo Clemente (PER) in Round 1 Heat 1. It was a slow start to competition, but Faircloth was able to find waves that gave him opportunities for showing quick walks to the nose before having to walk back and save the rides. The Californian hasn’t competed in a WSL Longboard event and now looks to break through.

“Getting the first round out of the way was a big weight off the shoulders after traveling all the way here,” Faircloth said. “I haven’t done this caliber of contest in a long time and surfing with world-class guys like Piccolo was great to know I could get a heat win over him. It’s a big confidence boost. The hospitality from the local crew is amazing and the surfing they’ve doing in the freesurfs is great to see. It’s also a lot of my friends here at the event so I feel comfortable and right at home.”

It also began a chain-reaction for the Puerto Rican’s that witnessed all their countrymen eliminated — except for 14-year-old Zahid Marrero. The local competitor was ecstatic finding out he won the heat over Peruvian Jorge Vilchhez, also advancing, alongside Jeremy Guilmette (USA) and fellow Puerto Rican Luiz Guzman. But, it’s all fun for the young talent as he embraces the moment at hand.

“That was awesome and I honestly just went in there to have fun with no real strategy which helped keep the nerves down,” Marrero said. “I was a little nervous knowing how good they are, but the waves are really fun right now and it’s great to see this event happening. I was able to get into this event last minute and I love the opportunity to compete around home. Everyone was just saying you have to do it and maybe I’ll make a heat, but then I came out hearing ‘you got first-place’ and I couldn’t believe it.”

Tony Silvagni (USA) laid down the men’s highest heat total of 14.25 (out of a possible 20), matching the top single-wave score of a 7.50 (out of a possible 10), but a surprise performance from Japanese competitor Kai Hamase nearly surpassed Silvagni with a 14.05 of his own. The Kanagawa, Japan, native came here with one goal in mind outside of his region and start building momentum toward 2019.

“It’s a nice wave here and I just wanted to get a few good ones for a chance at scores, but it was tricky to find the right one,” Hamase said. “It’s my first time here and I just want to win this event. I’ve done a few events, but haven’t gotten a really good result so to get a win here would mean a lot. There’s a lot of good surfers and this place is great so I’m happy to keep going, hopefully do even better in the next round.”

Round 1 victors also included Austin Hollingshead (USA), Julian Schweizer (URG), Cole Quinn (USA), and Steven McLean (USA).

The women took on tough, higher tide conditions as the increased south winds made reading the wave more difficult, but still provided moments of brilliance to determine Quarterfinalists.

Current World Longboard Championship competitor Kaitlin Mikkelsen (USA) is looking to back herself up here in Puerto Rico before moving into Taiwan and did just that with a clutch Round 1 win. But, she will have the likes of 15-year-old talents Brooke Carlson (USA) and Avalon Gall (USA) to deal with — both of who whom earned Round 1 victories.

It marks both young competitor’s first trip to Puerto Rico and maiden WSL event as they move into Round 2 and Gall started off with a solid 7.10 in her score line. The San Clemente, California, native has grown up surfing among the town’s World Champions and now hopes to join the elite soon.

“It’s really good to get through that heat even though the waves got tough, but I still had fun with a few of my friends out there,” Gall said. “At the beginning I wanted to stay busy and get a few, then wait for the sets even though you end up just figuring it out when you’re in the water. I see Rachael (Tilly ) and Tory (Gilkerson) out there a lot, and they’re always happy so I just try to bring that kind of positivity into my heats.”

But, Peruvian Maria Fernanda Reyes came out looking like the surfer to beat and garnered a brilliant 14.75, posting the event’s highest heat total and single-wave score, a 7.75 (out of a possible 10), in her debut. The former World Longboard Championship competitor is on hand to prepare for a big 2019.

“I was a late entry for this one with our crew coming up last-minute so I’m glad to get into it and keep the jersey on,” Reyes said. “It feels great to compete against this level of competition and get ready for next year. We’re preparing for the ISA Pan American Games and I really want to get to back to the World Longboard Championships so this is a great stepping stone toward that.”

An 8:00 a.m. AST call will determine a possible 8:30 a.m. AST start for men’s Round 2 or women’s Quarterfinal action.

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The Rincon 50 Surf Fest will run from November 15 – 18 at Domes, Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Men’s Rincon 50 Surf Fest Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Dakota Faircloth (USA) 11.00, Piccolo Clemente (PER) 9.00, Marcelo Alvarez (CRI) 6.25, Gabriel Gutierrez (PRI) 3.50
Heat 2: Austin Hollingshead (USA) 11.25, Tim Reda (USA) 7.95, Maximillian Torres (PRI) 7.75, Fernando Guzman (PRI) 3.50
Heat 3: Julian Schweizer (URG) 13.40, Kenji Gonnokami (JPN) 11.25, Robert Ferrer (PRI) 9.90, Marcell Gough (DOM) 6.05
Heat 4: Cole Quinn (USA) 11.25, Kevin Skvarna (USA) 9.20, Melvin Soto (PRI) 8.00, Franko Perez (PRI) 7.10
Heat 5: Tony Silvagni (USA) 14.25, Dorian Torres (CRI) 9.75, Anthony Luciano (PRI) 6.55, Jonathan Reyes (PRI) 3.85
Heat 6: Zahid Marrero (PRI) 9.65, Jorge Vilchhez (PER) 8.90, Jeremy Guilmette (USA) 7.20, Luis Guzman (PRI) 6.75
Heat 7: Steven McLean (USA) 13.65, Anthonny Flores (CRI) 9.80, Josue Nadal (PRI) 7.20, David Gotay (PRI) 6.50
Heat 8: Kai Hamase (JPN) 14.05, Lucas Garrido Lecca (PER) 12.20, Kaimana Takayama (USA) 8.50, Kevin Dewald (USA) 6.60

Men’s Rincon 50 Surf Fest Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Dakota Faircloth (USA), Kenji Gonnokami (JPN), Austin Hollingshead (USA), Kevin Skvarna (USA)
Heat 2: Julian Schweizer (URG), Piccolo Clemente (PER), Cole Quinn (USA), Tim Reda (USA)
Heat 3: Tony Silvagni (USA), Anthonny Flores (CRI), Zahid Marrero (PRI), Lucas Garrido Lecca (PER)
Heat 4: Steve McLean (USA), Dorian Torres (CRI), Kai Hamase (JPN), Jorge Vilchhez (PER)

Women’s Rincon 50 Surf Fest Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Kaitlin Mikkelsen (USA) 10.85, Amy Reda (USA) 7.20, Carolina Thun (PER) 5.15, Iana Ramirez (PRI) 5.05
Heat 2: Brooke Carlson (USA) 8.40, Emily Flannagan (USA) 8.30, Jessica Taft (USA) 7.50, Mary Schmader (USA) 6.10
Heat 3: Avalon Gall (USA) 13.10, Mason Schremmer (USA) 10.25, Maria Amador (PRI) 6.40, Aine Dwyer (USA) 4.55
Heat 4: Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER) 14.75, Leigh Powell (USA) 4.35, Mairin Torr (USA) 3.80

Women’s Rincon 50 Surf Fest Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Kaitlin Mikkelsen (USA) vs. Emily Flannagan (USA)
QF 2: Amy Reda (USA) vs. Brooke Carlson (USA)
QF 3: Avalon Gall (USA) vs. Leigh Powell (USA)
QF 4: Mason Schremmer (USA) vs. Maria Fernanda Reyes (PER)


About WSL
The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world’s best surfing on the world’s best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.The WSL has been championing the world’s best surfing since 1976, annually running more than 180 global events across the Men’s and Women’s Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.

Showcasing the world’s best surfing on its digital platform at, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.

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