Courtesy of WSL North America
Vans Pro QS3,000 and Pro Junior
Rip into Opening Day Action at Virginia Beach
– Pro Juniors power through three rounds to determine quarterfinalists
– Men’s QS3,000 action gets underway with heavy-hitters debuting early
– Numerous excellent scores posted throughout the day in tough conditions
– more information available AT WORLDSURFLEAGUE.COM
|VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia/ USA (Tuesday, August 22, 2017) – The World Surf League (WSL) Vans Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 and Pro Junior kicked off opening day with three rounds of Pro Junior action before moving into Round 1 of the QS bouts. Virginia Beach’s tricky, one-to-two foot, occasional plus, conditions were well sorted by the Pro Juniors with numerous excellent scores being posted throughout the day. Men’s QS3,000 Round 1 started with a bang as some heavy-hitters made their debuts early in the event.
Championship Tour (CT) competitor Miguel Pupo (BRA) began his Vans Pro campaign brilliantly and showed his veteran experience in the small conditions on offer. The Sao Paulo, Brazil native took to his forehand right away and blasted an 8.77 (out of a possible 10) to earn the day’s highest single-wave score — and heat total of 16.77 (out of a possible 20). Pupo is in need of a momentum swing on both the CT and QS, and hopes to turn his season around here in Virginia Beach.
“I was at Trestles preparing for that event and just wanted to get in a jersey so I signed up a bit late which put me into the early round, but I think it works in my favor,” Pupo said. “It’s good to have the experience against some fresh faces, especially with priority, and not have to hassle like we did back when I was a grom competing. I was paying attention and not letting them go on the good waves knowing they could get the score. It’s been a tough year for me with some ups and downs — getting a good result in South Africa, but then getting sick before J-Bay was rough. The US Open was a hard one so I came here looking for, if not a win, just a really good result.”
Brian Toth (PRI) returned to the 1st Street Jetty in winning fashion and a new place in life. The seasoned QS veteran is taking his competitive affairs much less formal in 2017 after finding a job outside the jersey, but still has his eyes set on a few key places within the tour. Toth is joined by fellow Puerto Rican Dylan Graves (PRI) into Round 3, but plays mentor to the next generation of Caribbean surfers from his native island.
“I always love coming back here with all the boys and it’s great to see some waves even if it’s a little slow,” Toth said. “There’s still something out there and heard it’s going to be a lot better so I’m stoked. I’ve become a full surfer rep since April, working with Dakine after it fell into my lap while transitioning out of that ‘QS Warrior’ type — it was just meant to be. It’s been great spending more time at home and having fun waves there, but it’s great to put on a jersey. My main goal is to just end up in the Top 120’s to get back into the Volcom Pipe Pro, that’s one event I’ll never want to retire from. I’ve got two events I haven’t done yet and can only move up which is nice.”
Before the men’s QS elite took to the water, some of the next up-and-coming talent in competitive surfing contested Rounds 1, 2, and 3 of the Vans Pro Junior. A big day of competition determined crucial Quarterfinal draws with a shakeup in the North America Top 4 already unfolding early on.
One of the day’s best Pro Junior performances came from Eithan Osborne (USA) in Round Three Heat 6 with a 15.17 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Osborne’s strong surfing overpowered the wave’s softer sections and set himself up for critical finishes on the shoreline. At age 17, Osborne still has this and next year on the Pro Junior circuit before taking to QS full-time – something he’s using to his advantage by already pulling double-duty as well.
“It was fun out there, the waves are actually pretty good right now and always seems to pick up just in time for the contest,” Osborne said. “I’m feeling good [coming into this event] and need two good results for a shot at making World Junior Championships. I’ve just been training around the beachbreaks at home that resemble this one and get my boards dialed in — I tried an Epoxy for the first time and didn’t like it so I stuck with the same board I had at the US Open. My mindset stays about the same all year long, just comes with some added pressure here and there, but I’ve learned to shrug that off knowing it’s just a contest.”
Mateus Herdy (BRA) is in his first full year of pulling double-duty between the QS and Pro Junior, and brings a lot of momentum into Virginia Beach. The 16-year-old Brazilian has been climbing the ranks on the QS this year with his dynamic aerial attack and a growing power game on rail. Herdy put that potential to good use and earned Round Three’s highest single-wave score of an 8.50 (out of a possible 10). His recent victory at the Volkswagen SA Open of Surfing Pro Junior earlier this summer in South Africa solidified him as a threat to be reckoned with — after already earning a Quarterfinal appearance at the World Junior Championships to start 2017.
“This year has been great, especially after Durban was my best result so far of my career and just want to keep performing like that,” Herdy said. “I’m more focused on the QS here since I can’t get points or anything in the juniors, but this contest is still really important and I’m going to give it my best. It really helps to get all the heats I can and continue learning this wave. After my first heat I knew I could surf the smaller waves, but if a set came I could really get into some good turns so it felt great to get on a good wave. I really want to perform like Samuel [Pupo] did last year making both Finals, but want to do even better. He’s such a good surfer and I’ve competed against him almost my whole life so it’s been cool to learn from him, and I’m doing the same type of path he did last year getting on the QS early.”
Current North America Pro Junior No. 1 Ryland Rubens (USA) narrowly escaped an early elimination with a last-minute, near-excellent 7.57. Rubens and Tommy Coleman (USA) split a peak in the dying seconds, each earning the scores they needed to advance and knock Liam Murray (USA) out of the first-place position with no time to respond. The 17-year-old’s 2017 season on the Pro Junior has been a prolific one with two Final appearances in regional events, but will drop his result from the Vans US Open of Surfing by year’s end.
“I just want to do my best here after having a shocker at the US Open, but that’s in the past now and I’m looking forward to this one,” Rubens said. “I’m a big fan of Virginia Beach and the East Coast in general. This contest and the one in Florida are very similar — it’s grindy, but whenever you can win a Pro Junior it’s great. It’s cool to still be No. 1, but I don’t even look at the rankings honestly, With a few more events left, a lot can happen so I just go into every event wanting to win and enjoy traveling with my family. It can be stressful at times, but I just try to enjoy it all because when it gets too serious it’s not fun anymore.”
The last heat of the day witnessed a blow to the Top 4 as Stevie Pittman (USA) and Taro Watanabe (USA) eliminated current No. 4 competitors Crosby Colapinto (USA) and Cole Houshmand (USA).
Current North America Pro Junior No. 2 Che Allan (BRB) also made his way into the Quarterfinals alongside Chase Modelski (USA), Luke Gordon (USA), Nick Marshall (USA), Tyler Gunter (USA), John Mel (USA), Jacob Burke (BRB), Jett Schilling (USA) and the Japanese duo of Yuji Mori (JPN) and Joh Azuchi (JPN).
Event organizers will reconvene in the morning to make a 7:00 a.m. EDT call for a possible 7:30 a.m. EDT start.
The Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 and Pro Junior will run August 22 through 27 in coordination with the historical East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC) — the world’s second-longest running contest, now in its 55th year, behind Bells’ Beach.
Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 Round 1 Results:
Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 Upcoming Round 2 Match-Ups:
Vans Pro Junior Round 1 Results:
Vans Pro Junior Round 2 Results:
Vans Pro Junior Round 3 Results:
Vans Pro Junior Upcoming Quarterfinal Match-Ups:
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The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), 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 truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
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