Vans Pro and Pro Junior Power Through Opening Day @wsl

Courtesy of WSL North America

– Electrifying performance from Miyu Furukama raises the bar in tough conditions
– Taro Watanabe and Jairo Perez debut in strong form
– Pro juniors finish off massive opening day battles

– more information available AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM



Japanese competitor Miyu Furukawa (JPN) raised the bar to new heights on opening day with near-perfection in Round 1 Heat 16 of the Vans Pro QS 3,000.
Credit: © WSL / Ferguson


Virginia Beach, Virginia/USA (Tuesday, August 21, 2018) – The World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Juniors began their Vans Pro QS 3,000 and Vans Pro Junior campaigns on opening day at Virginia Beach, Virginia’s, 1st Street Jetty. Competition raced through both the Men’s QS and Pro Juniors’ Round 1 affairs in one-to-two foot, clean surf before high tide conditions began to deteriorate as lightning forced an evacuation from beach authority. But, plenty of impressive performances were witnessed before the day’s final horn sounded and provided some excellent surfing amid testy conditions.

Santa Cruz, California, native Taro Watanabe (USA) set the tone at 1st Street Jetty with a blistering Round 1 Heat 1 performance. The 16-year-old picked apart the lineup, laying into a righthander with his quick and powerful forehand, to earn a 7.50 (out of a possible 10) and 14.33 (out of a possible 20) heat total. This marks Watanabe’s third appearance in Virginia Beach, but only his second at the QS level and he’s looking to capitalize on that knowledge.

“I just wanted to try my best and find any wave I could since it was slow so I’m stoked it worked out,” Watanabe said. “I haven’t found the secret just yet, but I’m trying to learn more each time I come here. It’s really good to have that experience and know what to expect. I just try to figure out what boards work in smaller waves and train in those types of waves. This is one of the only 3,000s I do during the year so I’m excited to be back and it’s good to have a shot at some bigger points.”

Jairo Perez (CRI) is one of Costa Rica’s own in attendance here once more as he continues to scratch for points away from home. Perez has a unique connection with Virginia Beach after building relationships over the years here and gave them something to cheer about after earning a Round 1 win, eliminating Brasilian threat Wesley Santos (BRA). The 28-year-old first came to Virginia Beach in 2010 after being denied a visa multiple times by the Costa Rican government, but once here he made an ever-lasting impression on the local community after winning the ECSC Junior event (before becoming the WSL Pro Junior) and Semifinals in the Men’s Pro (before becoming a WSL QS).

“It was so important to hold priority in that heat so you could be on the best waves, but you really had to get into anything you could so it was tough,” Perez said. “The waves don’t really get this small back home so it’s different, but it’s part of it and you have to be prepared for anything. It’s so good to be back here, I have a lot of friends in this area and it’s always great to see them. I have my wife and child here as well which is amazing to share this experience with.”

But, it was Miyu Furukawa (JPN) who stole the show and earned a near-perfect 9.60 in the final heat of Round 1 amid tough conditions. The Japanese competitor took to his forehand attack for a critical opening turn before belting multiple maneuvers and finished off on the shoreline to raise the bar of what’s expected. Furukawa was able to enter the event as an alternate and could wreak havoc to some of the QS elite here for his first time to Virginia Beach.

“I had a lot of fun in that heat even though it was tough out there and to get that score gives me a lot of confidence,” Furukawa said. “This is my first time ever here and the waves are smaller than back home, but it’s similar being a fun beachbreak. I’m excited to get into this event since I entered late and get a shot at some points.”

Following Furukawa’s incredible 16.37 heat total, the Vans Pro Junior got their Round 1 affairs underway with a few notable performances of their own.

South Carolina native Micha Cantor (USA) represented well for the East Coast in his Round 1 debut after a tough start to the year. Cantor, 17, still has one full Pro Junior season left ahead of him next year, but isn’t planning on remaining stagnant after a slow start in 2018. And, not competing in the QS 3,000, Cantor has his full focus on the Pro Junior which could help prove to be difference maker with his new mindset.

“It feels good to actually win a heat again and I think I’ve been losing a lot because I overthink my heats,” Cantor said. “I’m definitely relieved more when I just go out and surf which is what I did today. Before this event I did the Sweetwater Pro/Am to try and get some heats out of the way so I guess it’s working. It’s so important to find those waves and take advantage of it. Making the Top 4 this year will be hard with a bad start, but it’ll be good to work on my seed for next year.”

Eduardo Motta (BRA) led the international front in Pro Junior action with a stunning 8.17 to claim a win over North America competitors Taj Lindbald (USA), Levi Slawson (USA), and Laird Myers (USA). The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native comes to Virginia Beach for the first time, but has a lot of support around to urge him forward. Motta waits as an alternate in the QS 3,000, but until then he plans on doing as much damage as he can in the Vans Pro Junior.

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Event organizers will meet at 6:30 a.m. EDT to determine a possible 7:00 a.m. EDT start for either the Vans Pro QS 3,000 or Pro Junior Round 2 competition.

Vans Pro QS 3,000 Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Taro Watanabe (USA) 14.33, Takuta Ohito (JPN) 11.43, Robert Grilho (HAW) 8.40, Liam Murray (USA) 7.90
Heat 2: Guillermo Satt (CHL) 10.83, Pedro Todaro (BRA) 4.13, Blair Barton (USA) 6.00, Giorgio Gomez (COL) 5.57
Heat 3: Tyler Gunter (USA) 10.83, Crosby Colapinto (USA) 6.63, Gabriel Morvil (USA) 5.73, Alexander Brooks (USA) 2.43
Heat 4: Jairo Perez (CRI) 11.20, Naru Awada (JPN) 9.96, Wesley Santos (BRA) 9.80, Ben Wingate (USA) 4.00
Heat 5: Fernando Junior (BRA) 10.14, Ryland Rubens (USA) 8.87, Sam Coffey (USA) 7.33, Noah Hill (USA) 7.26
Heat 6: Chauncey Robinson (USA) 10.66, Jake Kelley (USA) 10.23, Kai Awada (JPN) 9.80, Riley Morgan (USA) 7.56
Heat 7: Jacob Burke (BRB) 9.23, David Economos (USA) 7.60, Joshua Chester (USA) 4.23, Shane Sykes (AUS) 1.87
Heat 8: Luke Gordon (USA) 10.90, Daniel Glenn (USA) 10.63, Noah Beschen (HAW) 8.22, Sebastian Mendes (USA) 4.60
Heat 9: Momoto Tsuzuki (JPN) 9.80, Jeremy Carter (USA) 8.83, Nick Marshall (USA) 7.77, Italo Mesinas (USA) 7.14
Heat 10: Eithan Osborne (USA) 10.90, Derek Gomes (VEN) 10.16, Rob Kelly (USA) 9.97, Laird Myers (USA) 3.73
Heat 11: Ocean Macedo (HAW) 13.34, Nicolas Vargas (CHL) 9.23, Dane Mackie (BRB) 7.90, Max Beach (USA) 4.77
Heat 12: Cole Alves (HAW) 9.70, Tommy Coleman (USA) 8.44, Elijah Fox (HAW) 8.24, Brandon Todd (USA) 0.80
Heat 13: Noah Schweizer (USA) 12.00, Colt Ward (USA) 10.24, Bo Raynor (USA) 8.90, Alan Donato (BRA) 8.50
Heat 14: Chase Modelski (USA) 10.84, Renan Peres (BRA) 7.77, Parker Swoish (USA) 5.00, Ulualoha Napeahi (HAW) 3.62
Heat 15: Quentin Turko (USA) 11.53, Jackson Butler (USA) 10.40, Blake Spier (USA) 10.00, Dylan Hord (USA) 7.67
Heat 16: Miyu Furukawa (JPN) 16.37, Riki Horikoshi (JPN) 11.90, Makana Pang (HAW) 8.04, Logan Kamen (USA) 6.74

Vans Pro QS 3,000 Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Leandro Usuna (ARG), Che Allan (BRB), Taro Watanabe (USA), Pedro Todaro (BRA)
Heat 2: Shun Murakami (JPN), Jhony Corzo (MEX), Guillermo Satt (CHL), Takuto Ohta (JPN)
Heat 3: Reef Heazlewood (AUS), Sandon Whitaker (AUS), Tyler Gunter (USA), Naru Awada (JPN)
Heat 4: Nathan Yeomans (USA), Daiki Tanaka (JPN), Jairo Perez (CRI), Crosby Colapinto (USA)
Heat 5: Robson Santos (BRA), Billy Stairmand (NZL), Fernando Junior (BRA), Jake Kelley (USA)
Heat 6: Ian Crane (USA), Kairi Noro (JPN), Chauncey Robinson (USA), Ryland Rubens (USA)
Heat 7: Reo Inaba (JPN), Yuji Nishi (JPN), Jacob Burke (BRB), Daniel Glenn (USA)
Heat 8: Takumi Nakamura (JPN), Kade Matson (USA), Luke Gordon (USA), David Economos (USA)
Heat 9: Joh Azuchi (JPN), Gabriel Farias (BRA), Momoto Tsuzuki (JPN), Derek Gomes (VEN)
Heat 10: Josh Burke (BRB), Nolan Rapoza (USA), Eithan Osborne (USA), Jeremy Carter (USA)
Heat 11: Lucca Mesinas (PER), Kaiki Yamanaka (JPN), Ocean Macedo (HAW), Tommy Coleman (USA)
Heat 12: Vitor Mendes (BRA), Keijiro Nishi (JPN), Cole Alves (HAW), Nicolas Vargas (CHL)
Heat 13: Torrey Meister (HAW), Liam Mortensen (AUS), Noah Schweizer (USA), Renan Peres (BRA)
Heat 14: Jack Freestone (AUS), Jett Schilling (USA), Chase Modelski (USA), Colt Ward (USA)
Heat 15: Manuel Selman (CHL), Taylor Clark (USA), Quentin Turko (USA), Riki Horikoshi (JPN)
Heat 16: Sebastian Williams (MEX), Cole Houshmand (USA), Miyu Furukawa (JPN), Jackson Butler (USA)

Vans Pro Junior Round 1 Results:
Heat 1: Joh Azuchi (JPN) 10.94, Jake Vandenburg (USA) 5.70, Aaron Ramirez (CRI) 5.50, Max Egerton (USA) 3.50
Heat 2: Nick Marshall (USA) 9.13, Blake Spier (USA) 6.77, Sam Reidy (CRI) 5.63, Drew Caracciolo (USA) 4.33
Heat 3: Micha Cantor (USA) 12.30, Jett Schilling (USA) 11.27, Ryan Huckabee (USA) 8.73, Isauro Elizondo (PAN) 7.74
Heat 4: Eduardo Motta (BRA) 12.84, Taj Lindblad (USA) 8.70, Levi Slawson (USA) 7.50, Laird Myers (USA) 5.74
Heat 5: Cole Alves (HAW) 11.90, Ocean Macedo (HAW) 11.43, Ben Wingate (USA) 4.40, Will Grossarth (USA) 4.03
Heat 6: Robbie McCormick (USA) 9.66, Logan Kamen (USA) 6.56, Caleb Rapson (BRB) 6.53, Kyle Caracciolo (USA) 4.00
Heat 7: Sebastian Williams (MEX) 10.30, Max Beach (USA) 9.44, Mick Davey (USA) 7.54, Stride Snead (USA) 3.80
Heat 8: Robert Grilho (HAW) 10.13, Bo Raynor (USA) 6.97, Riley Morgan (USA) 5.56, Shane Frontino (USA) 5.53

Vans Pro Junior Round 2 Matchups:
Heat 1: Crosby Colapinto (USA), Dylan Hord (USA), Joh Azuchi (JPN), Blake Spier (USA)
Heat 2: Liam Murray (USA), Jackson Butler (USA), Nick Marshal (USA), Jake Vanderburg (USA)
Heat 3: Taro Watanabe (USA), Wyatt McHale (HAW), Micha Cantor (USA), Taj Lindblad (USA)
Heat 4: Tyler Gunter (USA), Kyle Tester (USA), Eduardo Motta (BRA), Jett Schilling (USA)
Heat 5: Eithan Osborne (USA), Sebastian Mendes (USA), Cole Alves (HAW), Logan Kamen (USA)
Heat 6: Alan Cleland (MEX), Tommy Coleman (USA), Robbie McCormick (USA), Ocean Macedo (HAW)
Heat 7: Cole Houshmand (USA), Chase Modelski (USA), Sebastian Williams (MEX), Bo Raynor (USA)
Heat 8: Kade Matson (USA), Jacob Burke (BRB), Robert Grilho (HAW), Max Beach (USA)


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 League, 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 in excess of 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 world champions in Men’s, Women’s across all divisions within the tour.

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

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