Courtesy of WSL – World Surf League
– Finals day draw set with impressive performances from international field
– Jose Lopez stuns the crowd; Costa Rica’s top performers into quarterfinals
– Wesley Leite plays ultimate spoiler before women unleash phenomenal surfing
– more information available AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM
|JACO, COSTA RICA (Saturday, October 6, 2017) – Finals day is set at the World Surf League (WSL) Men and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 after a decisive day of competition determined Quarterfinalists. Three-to-five foot, clean morning conditions began men’s Round 3 as the onshore winds crept in throughout their Round 4 affairs before action shifted to the remaining women’s Round 2 heats and Round 3 match ups. Only eight competitors remain in both the men and women’s events, and it took their best showings to get there.
Jose Lopez (VEN) put on a showcase of innovative and power surfing in both his Round 3 and Round 4 heat wins. The 19-year-old’s arsenal was on full display with a massive air-reverse to earn an excellent 8.67 (out of a possible 10) and 15.77 (out of a possible 20) heat total in Round 3, only to garner a 14.94 heat total in Round 4 over fellow Quarterfinalist Chauncey Robinson (USA). Lopez continues to impress when he’s able to make his way to events and keeps his ambitions high.
“I feel so comfortable to be here with all my friends and just sending a big hug to my parents who couldn’t make it, this is for all of Venezuela,” Lopez said. “Earlier today I got a few good airs and the waves are so good. Seeing Leon’s (Glatzer) 10 yesterday got me so pumped and I just wanted to do the same thing. Now I’ll try to keep it going and make more heats, but it’s great to say I’m in the Quarterfinals after I’ve been looking for a good result with the limited opportunities I have.”
Costa Ricans will have plenty to cheer for after Jairo Perez’s (CRI) incredible Round 4 performance notched a win over fellow Tico Noe Mar McGonagle, who also advanced, as his dynamic backhand forehand and backhand attack were in form. Perez earned an excellent 8.23 and backed it up with a 6.77 to regain the lead over McGonagle, though eliminating countryman Anthony Fillingim. But, the 28-year-old, Jaco native knows a big day is in store for his hometown with finals day tomorrow alongside the likes of QS veteran Carlos Munoz (CRI) also representing for Costa Rica.
“It’s unbelievable to be in the Quarterfinals and I just thank God, I was praying the whole time to get waves and they came so I just had to perform on them,” Perez said. “Noe (Mar McGonagle) and Anthony (Fillingim) are such good competitors, they do this all year, but I’m not that consistent with events so to be here competing at home is amazing. I can feel the support from all the way out there and it’s really encouraging to know people are supporting surfing at the WSL level here.”
Wesley Leite (BRA) played ultimate spoiler in the North America Regional Title race as both No. 1 Kevin Schulz (USA) and No. 2 Lucca Mesinas (PER) were pitted against each other in Round 4. Leite’s explosive forehand was relentless once more, earning a 13.67 heat total, and, with Mesinas’ last-minute attempt, helped eliminate Schulz. The Brasilian’s focus kept him sharp amid a stacked field including fellow countryman Pedro Neves and poses a serious threat to the event heading into finals day — earning the day’s highest heat singe-wave score of an 8.83.
“I’m feeling really good and my board is great right now, and I just wanted to find those lefts,” Leite said. “It’s so good out there and I just tried to surf my best. Thanks to God for the good waves, my good friends around me, and just all the good vibes. Lucca (Mesinas) and Kevin (Schulz) are such good surfers, but I just tried to focus on myself because I already know what they’re capable of. I’m already bettering my best result so now I just want to keep going and I’ll stay focused on each heat.”
QS veteran and fellow Brasilian Luel Felipe also put on a showcase of powerful surfing in Round 3 and 4, posting the day’s highest heat total of 16.27 in Round 4 and joins the stacked list of Quarterfinalists.
The women picked up right where the men left off with another impeccable display from Californian Meah Collins (USA) as she laid down the women’s best performance so far — a 17.54 heat total. Collins earned a near-perfect 9.17 on her powerful backhand that complimented her forehand attack beautifully and moved into her first Quarterfinal appearance since the Vissla Great Lakes Pro in Australia at the start of this year.
“That was pretty awesome after I caught two rights and wasn’t really feeling them so I just wanted to get a left,” Collins said. “I was just in position for it and it felt really good. I changed boards today and that was a huge factor, and I hadn’t rode this board yet so I’m glad it worked out like that. I’m just having a great time down here. There’s opportunity with some really good waves coming in and it’s just a matter of finding the rights waves, and luckily I found a couple.”
Tessa Thyssen’s (FRA) phenomenal forehand followed Collins’ in the next heat and unleashed an 8.17 of her own. The French representative hasn’t had the best season by her standards, only accruing one finals day performance at the Anfaplace Pro Casablanca, but has her mindset in the right direction moving forward with plenty of momentum here in Costa Rica.
“That was actually kind of tough and I’m pretty tired from the recent European leg that had a lot events in a short amount of time, but I’m so happy to surf here for the last event of my year,” Thyssen said. “I want to better my ranking since it’s pretty bad right now. Losing my major sponsor really screwed up my mindset and I lost a lot of confidence so I’m trying to gain it back. It’s hard with the travels and expenses, but I’m finding that rhythm again here.”
San Clemente, Caifornia, native Tia Blanco (PRI) notched a second big heat win of the day to end Round 3, after winning her Round 2 debut, with a near-perfect 9.23 to surpass Collins’ 9.17 on her forehand and joins Valentina Resano (NIC), along with her sister Candelaria, Costa Rica’s last woman competitor Rubiana Brownell, and Leticia Canales Bilbao (ESP) in the Quarterfinals. The 21-year-old has found a new approach and it’s showing great returns for the young Californian.
“I was a little nervous at the start because it was unpredictable out there, but once I got a couple I just started having fun,” Blanco said. “I’m in a good mindset right now and that perfect wave came through so I was stoked. It wasn’t the same at the beginning of the year, but since that last event in Spain I’ve just learned to have fun and realize we’re blessed to be surfers. Everybody wants a good result, but at the end of the day you have to take in the waves, the environment, the people, and just have fun.”
A 8:00am MDT call will determine an 8:30am MDT start for the women’s Quarterfinals to begin finals day action.
For more information, please visit www.WorldSurfLeague.com.
The Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 will run October 4 – 7 at Playa Jaco.
Men’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 Round 3 Results:
Men’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 Round 4 Results:
Men’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 Quarterfinal Matchups:
Women’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 Round 2 (H7-8) Results:
Women’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 Round 3 Results:
Women’s Essential Costa Rica Surf Pro QS 1,500 Quarterfinal Matchups:
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|About the 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.
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For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com