Vans Pro Junior Quarterfinalists Determined; Men’s QS Grinds Through Round 2

Courtesy of WSL North America

– North America’s top-tier pro juniors Come out firing
– Jake Kelley and Nolan Rapoza display their dominance in men’s qs 

– Jett Schilling earns progression in both events, eliminates Jack Freestone in qs 

– more information available AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM



Liam Murray (USA) turned in the Vans Pro QS 3,000 and Vans Pro Junior top performance thus far, earning an astounding 17.76 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Credit: © WSL / Ferguson


Virginia Beach, Virginia/USA (Wednesday, August 22, 2018) – The World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) and Pro Junior competitors went back to work for the Vans Pro QS 3,000 and Vans Pro Junior at 1st Street Jetty in one-to-two foot, clean surf. Both events grinded through their Round 2 bouts entirely with a few of the region’s top Pro Juniors, 18-and-under, alongside upcoming QS threats posting immaculate performances once again.

A key Round 2, debut win for current North America Pro Junior No. 1 Crosby Colapinto (USA) got competition underway as Blake Speir’s (USA) last-minute heroics eliminated Japanese contender Joh Azuchi (JPN). But, it was Colapinto who took control of the affair over Azuchi midway through the heat and didn’t relinquish that top spot. The San Clemente, California, native comes into Virginia Beach with two throwaway results and has to get the job done here for a shot at retaining that position.

“I just wanted to stay busy because any wave could turn into something good out there, but it’s more peaky so it was easier to build speed,” Colapinto said. “Everyone’s surfing the same thing so it doesn’t matter when you look at it like that. It’s good doing both events because you get a lot of time in the water and can learn more about the wave. I’m really just trying to do better than a Quarterfinal and it’s crazy because everyone is wanting to make Worlds or win the (North America) series.”

But, it was fireworks in the following heat as San Clemente surfer Liam Murray (USA) dropped the event’s highest heat total so far, an insatiable 17.76 (out of a possible 20). Murray’s formidable backhand attack looked razor-sharp in the clean conditions, earning an 8.83 (out of a possible 10) and ending the heat with another excellent 8.93. The 17-year-old had unfinished business after his early exit in the Vans Pro QS 3,000 and going back to last year in the Pro Junior, but looked in tune with a decimating performance today.

“It feels good after I lost early yesterday and it fired me up, triggered me almost, to do really well today,” Murray said. “I was thinking I want to go home after yesterday, but then thought no, I’m here and I’m going to do my best. Knowing I can get scores like that gives me a lot of confidence moving forward. I got a result in Florida and then kind of shut down after that so I’m looking to get another result here, hopefully stay in that Top 10 for a shot at Worlds next year.”

Current No. 2 Eithan Osborne (USA) and No. 4 Tyler Gunter (USA) also advanced to stay on pace with the Top 4 race, but Jacob Burke (BRB) played ultimate spoiler on his final wave in Round 2 Heat 7. The Barbadian eliminated No. 3 Kade Matson (USA) by going straight from third-place to first and taking a big win, marking his first Quarterfinal appearance since this event last year.

“It’s pretty great to get some heats going even though I lost in the QS after my junior heat today,” Burke said. “I’ve had a tough start to the year and I’m just looking to hit the reset button. I’m learning to stay relaxed, stay confident, and just surf how I do in freesurfs. It’s a good feeling to come out of a heat like that and it’s great for my confidence, but it only gets harder so you just have to keep doing better.”

Chase Modelski (USA) rounded out the Pro Juniors’ competition with another upset as event threat Alan Cleland (MEX) came into Virginia Beach with a lot of momentum from his Vans US Open Final appearance.

An imposing day of early eliminations continued with the Men’s QS getting their Round 2 affairs taken care of and a handful of dominant showcases ensued.

Jake Kelley (USA) continues to stay relevant in the jersey despite taking hiatuses for his recent filming project and he came back firing on all cylinders with a near-perfect 9.33. Kelley went against the grain for his wave selection to start the heat and was rewarded greatly for it before joining the pack to finish off the heat win. The 23-year-old is always a threat when he enters the lineup and looks to keep up with competition for a chance at his breakthrough.

“I’ve just been surfing a bunch at home and working on filming and it’s been really fun,” Kelley said. “I went to Fiji and I’m stoked to put a part together soon, but I’m psyched to be back here competing. Watching it from the room I noticed there’s some pretty good waves over there and just wanted to start away from everyone. My goals are to get some points and that’s a big motivation coming to these East Coast events is to keep my seed so I can get into those competitions at the start of the year like the Volcom Pipe Pro.”

Fellow Californian and former North America Pro Junior Champion Nolan Rapoza (USA) followed suit, despite not watching heats prior, and posted a 14.90 heat total en route to his debut win. Rapoza had to overcome the likes of in-form competitors Josh Burke (BRB), Jeremy Carter (USA), and Eithan Osborne (USA), but his backhand looked to be unstoppable. It’s been a lackluster year aside from a Semifinal performance at the Jack’s Surfboards Pro, but Rapoza still finds himself ranked No. 134 with a chance to propel up the rankings if he earns a result here.

“All I could think of was to start fast because that was such a slow heat and I wanted to be the first one to catch a wave,” Rapoza said. “It would help put pressure on them as quick as possible. After I got lucky on that inside wave I wanted to back it up, but thought to sit and wait for something worthy. Then the wave of the heat came through and luckily I had priority, but that’s what got me through. I felt like I did my job today so I’m stoked.”

One of the youngest competitors in the draw made the biggest dent so far as Jett Schilling (USA), 15, took down former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Jack Freestone (AUS) in his QS debut. Schilling already earned a spot into the Quarterfinals earlier in the morning and carried that confidence into another huge win. This is only Schilling’s second showing at the Vans Pro QS 3,000 as the young San Clemente, California, surfer finds his way through the process.

“I feel really good to get this momentum going and even though the waves are small, they can be pretty fun,” Schilling said. “I used my backhand a lot more because it’s easier to whip it around for a bigger turn and can do it quick so I don’t lose any speed. It was great to compete a guy like Freestone because they’re so good and gives me some motivation. I’m just psyched to keep going and want to stay happy, hopefully get a good result, but just enjoy it.”

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An 8:30 a.m. EDT call will determine a possible 9:00 a.m. start to either the Men’s QS Round 3 or Pro Junior Quarterfinals.

Vans Pro QS 3,000 Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Leandro Usuna (ARG) 11.17, Taro Watanabe (USA) 10.70, Che Allan (BRB) 9.63, Pedro Todaro (BRA) 7.53
Heat 2: Takuto Ohta (JPN) 12.07, Jhony Corzo (MEX) 11.40, Guillermo Satt (CHL) 11.10, Shun Murakami (JPN) 9.03
Heat 3: Tyler Gunter (USA) 12.17, Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 11.00, Sandon Whittaker (AUS) 6.17, Naru Awada (JPN) 3.93
Heat 4: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 11.10, Daiki Tanaka (JPN) 9.77, Jairo Perez (CRI) 7.67, Jackson Richards (AUS) 4.87
Heat 5: Jake Kelley (USA) 14.33, Robson Santos (BRA) 11.63, Billy Stairmand (NZL) 11.23, Fernando Junior (BRA) 10.26
Heat 6: Ian Crane (USA) 12.33, Chauncey Robinson (USA) 9.70, Ryland Rubens (USA) 9.33, Kairi Noro (JPN) 7.97
Heat 7: Daniel Glenn (USA) 13.26, Reo Inaba (JPN) 11.26, Jacob Burke (BRB) 9.94, Yuji Nishi (JPN) 5.07
Heat 8: Takumi Nakamura (JPN) 11.97, Luke Gordon (USA) 10.80, Kade Matson (USA) 10.03, David Economos (USA) 7.73
Heat 9: Joh Azuchi (JPN) 13.50, Momoto Tsuzuki (JPN) 9.93, Derek Gomes (VEN) 10.50, Gabriel Farias (BRA) 9.00
Heat 10: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 14.90, Jeremy Carter (USA) 14.10, Eithan Osborne (USA) 11.33, Josh Burke (BRB) 5.50
Heat 11: Lucca Mesinas (PER) 13.90, Tommy Coleman (USA) 13.83, Kaiki Yamanaka (JPN) 13.30, Ocean Macedo (HAW) 12.57
Heat 12: Keijiro Nishi (JPN) 13.67, Cole Alves (HAW) 13.50, Vitor Mendes (BRA) 13.00, Nicolas Vargas (CHL) 11.07
Heat 13: Renan Peres (BRA) 13.00, Liam Mortensen (AUS) 12.37, Torrey Meister (HAW) 11.40, Noah Schweizer (USA) 10.33
Heat 14: Jett Schilling (USA) 11.43, Colt Ward (USA) 11.33, Chase Modelski (USA) 10.73, Jack Freestone (AUS) 5.67
Heat 15: Riki Horikoshi (JPN) 13.06, Manuel Selman (CHL) 12.70, Quentin Turko (USA) 11.40, Taylor Clark (USA) 10.50
Heat 16: Miyu Furukawa (JPN) 12.06, Cole Houshmand (USA) 11.16, Sebastian Williams (MEX) 10.50, Jackson Butler (USA) 10.20

Vans Pro QS 3,000 Round 3 Matchups:
Heat 1: Nat Young (USA), David do Carmo (BRA), Leandro Usuna (ARG), Jhony Corzo (MEX)
Heat 2: Barron Mamiya (HAW), Tomas Tudela (PER), Takuto Ohta (JPN), Taro Watanabe (USA)
Heat 3: Carlos Munoz (CRI), Luel Felipe (BRA), Tyler Gunter (USA), Daiki Tanaka (JPN)
Heat 4: Evan Geiselman (USA), Tomas King (CRI), Crosby Colapinto (USA), Reef Heazlewood (AUS)
Heat 5: Joshua Moniz (HAW), Michael Dunphy (USA), Jake Kelley (USA), Chauncey Robinson (USA)
Heat 6: Bino Lopes (BRA), Samuel Pupo (BRA), Ian Crane (USA), Robson Santos (BRA)
Heat 7: Cam Richards (USA), Mitch Coleborn (AUS), Daniel Glenn (USA), Luke Gordon (USA)
Heat 8: Jadson Andre (BRA), Kyuss King (AUS), Takumi Nakamura (JPN), Reo Inaba (JPN)
Heat 9: Alejo Muniz (BRA), Wyatt McHale (HAW), Joh Azuchi (JPN), Jeremy Carter (USA)
Heat 10: Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI), Tanner Gudauskas (USA), Nolan Rapoza (USA), Derek Gomes (VEN)
Heat 11: Alex Ribeiro (BRA), Raoni Monteiro (BRA), Lucca Mesinas (PER), Cole Alves (HAW)
Heat 12: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Kei Kobayashi (USA), Keijiro Nishi (JPN), Tommy Coleman (USA)
Heat 13: Nathan Yeomans (USA), Wiggolly Dantas (BRA), Santiago Muniz (ARG), Renan Peres (BRA)
Heat 14: Flavio Nakagima (BRA), Hiroto Arai (JPN), Jett Schilling (USA), Liam Mortensen (AUS)
Heat 15: Victor Bernardo (BRA), Oney Anwar (IDN), Riki Horikoshi (JPN), Cole Houshmand (USA)
Heat 16: Deivid Silva (BRA), Kevin Schulz (USA), Miyu Furukawa (JPN), Manuel Selman (CHL)

Vans Pro Junior Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 11.57, Blake Spier (USA) 11.00, Joh Azuchi (JPN) 10.47, Dylan Hord (USA) 8.90
Heat 2: Liam Murray (USA) 17.76, Nick Marshall (USA) 12.60, Jackson Butler (USA) 7.76, Jake Vandenburg (USA) 6.06
Heat 3: Wyatt McHale (HAW) 11.50, Taro Watanabe (USA) 10.97, Micha Cantor (USA) 10.03, Taj Lindblad (USA) 7.40
Heat 4: Jett Schilling (USA) 12.84, Tyler Gunter (USA) 10.06, Eduardo Motta (BRA) 9.53, Kyle Tester (USA) 6.90
Heat 5: Eithan Osborne (USA) 14.90, Cole Alves (HAW) 11.40, Logan Kamen (USA) 10.87, Sebastian Mendes (USA) 8.16
Heat 6: Ocean Macedo (HAW) 14.10, Tommy Coleman (USA) 12.90, Robbie McCormick (USA) 12.83, Alan Cleland (MEX) 9.23
Heat 7: Chase Modelski (USA) 12.00, Bo Raynor (USA) 10.83, Cole Houshmand (USA) 9.70, Sebastian Williams (MEX) 8.07
Heat 8: Jacob Burke (BRB) 12.17, Robert Grilho (HAW) 11.00, Kade Matson (USA) 10.70, Max Beach (USA) 8.17

Vans Pro Junior Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Crosby Colapinto (USA), Taro Watanabe (USA), Liam Murray (USA), Tyler Gunter (USA)
QF 2: Wyatt McHale (HAW), Blake Speir (USA), Jett Schilling (USA), Nick Marshall (USA)
QF 3: Eithan Osborne (USA), Bo Raynor (USA), Ocean Macedo (HAW), Robert Grilho (HAW)
QF 4: Chase Modelski (USA), Cole Alves (HAW), Jacob Burke (BRB), Tommy Coleman (USA)


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