Top Seeds Smash Their Debuts at Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro, Junior Pro Gets Underway

Courtesy of WSL North America

International Talent Spoils Regional Competitors Hopes Early On Noah Schweizer Sets The Bar With Impeccable Start

Ryland Rubens and Taro Watanabe Debut Brilliantly In Round 2 Blayr Barton Leads The Charge In Junior’s Round 1

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CAPTION: Robbie McCormick (USA) soared through both Round 1 and Round 2 at the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500.
CREDIT: © WSL /  John Ferguson 

COCOA BEACH, Florida/ USA (Thursday, March 14, 2019) – The World Surf League (WSL) men’s Qualifying Series (QS) kicked into high gear on opening day of the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500, powering through Rounds 1 and 2 before the Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro got Round 1 affairs completed. One-to-three foot windswell pushed through to provide plenty of opportunity with special moments that witnessed surfers putting on a showcase in their debuts. The women’s Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro was called off for the day.

Caption: Matheus Navarro (BRA) is back for a full go at the QS this year after a brief hiatus from traveling.
Credit: WSL/ Ferguson 

Internationals played ultimate spoilers throughout opening day and Brazil’s Matheus Navarro led the charge in Round 1 with an impeccable 14.10 (out of a possible 20) heat total. The Balneario Camboriu, Santa Catarina, native showed incredible power and flow in the choppy conditions to earn an excellent, meaning an 8.00 (out of a possible 10) or higher, 8.50 and carried that momentum into Round 2. The 23-year-old battled with Jake Kelley (Ventura, California) for the lead and is looking to rebuild his career this season.

“This contest is very important to me after having to stay in Brazil the last two years to compete without a sponsor,” Navarro said. “Now I’m back and I’m so happy to be here. This wave is similar to back home so it’s fun and I’ll try to build here for the next event in Huntington Beach as well. I watched a lot of the guys yesterday who are doing both events and almost wave I’m wondering ‘Who’s this? Who’s that?’ (laughs) Everyone was ripping. But, this is a new start for my career.”

Some other internationals to keep an eye on that remain include No. 1 seeded competitor Ruben Vitoria (ESP), Hiroya Miwa (JPN), Keanu Kaimiyama (JPN), 2019 Sunset Junior Pro winner Roi Kanazawa (JPN), Phillippe Chagas (BRA), Dylan Groen (DEU), and Tomas Lopez Moreno (ARG).

Caption: Former Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro winner Ryland Rubens returns in great form.
Credit: WSL/ Ferguson

Success is hard to come by in the QS even if you’ve claimed a Pro Junior Regional Title such as Ryland Rubens (Ocean Beach, Calif.). The now 19-year-old had a tough, first full-time year among the ranks in 2018 and is already working toward a full season for this year — smashing his Round 2 debut today. The former Junior Pro event winner garnered an impeccable 15.00 heat total and looks to start a foundation here at a place he claimed his first WSL win. 

“Coming back here is always fun and I’ve done pretty well here the last few years so that makes it more enjoyable,” Rubens said. “For how small it is, it’s actually really fun. I’d like to get a good result here since it’s been tough so far and it’d be nice to get something going to move forward. I’ve been on the other side of the world a couple of times already and everywhere is different. It’s really cool to see the cultures, Israel was incredible, as well as the different waves you’re competing in. Adaptability is the hardest part but it’s a good challenge.”

Caption: Noah Schweizer came into this event a danger man and proved that with an explosive start.
Credit: WSL/ Ferguson

Wildcard and Florida Pro QS 1,500 winner Noah Schweizer (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) dominated the proceedings with an explosive debut and accruing a 16.25 heat total, the day’s best, in Round 2 Heat 10. The Floridian is able to come up each day from home and leave everything in the water — something he’s planning on doing each heat. 

“You never know what someone else can or is going to do so you have to surf every heat the best you can,” Schweizer said. “If you have an opportunity on a wave you definitely have to give it your all. That’s the only way you progress at the sport. I’m 23 years old now so it’s kind of make it or break it not having a spnsor and that’s why every heat I’m giving it everything I have to push myself.”

Not to be outdone by his fellow Floridian, Robbie McCormick (Flagler Beach) threw caution to the wind and blasted a high-risk, full rotation on his backhand to earn a near-perfect 9.00. One of the day’s more anticipated heats included upcoming standouts Stevie Pittman (Kitty Hawk, N.C.)Micha Cantor (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), and Yuri Ogasawara (JPN) but it was McCormick who took over with a 16.25 heat total. The 18-year-old had a great showing at this event last year and is showing he’s capable once again. 

“That felt really good and I’m just trying to freesurf through my heats while not really thinking about anything,” McCormick said. “It’s something I did last year here and it worked well for me so I’m kind of sticking to the same plan. I surf this every day and I love it, I love throwing everything into the turns. I just want to get as many points as I can by the halfway cutoff for rankings.” 

Caption: Blayr Barton started off strong and is through both the QS and Junior Pro early rounds.
Credit: WSL/ Ferguson
Following the men’s QS action, the Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro got in the water and the early goings showcased the threats to top seeds that await in Round 2. 

Virginia Beach, Virginia’s, Blayr Barton continues his transition from the Eastern Surf Association (ESA) level to a pro career and displayed once more that he’s one to keep an eye on at just age 14. But, it’s all fun for the young teenager as he seizes a full weekend of competition after advancing in both the Qs and Junior events. 

“This is East Coast, just fun waves like back home in Virginia Beach and I just saw where it was peaking,” Barton said. “I was watching the other surfers, seeing what they’re doing, and seeing where the waves were coming from to really get my board on rail. It’s an amazing opportunity surfing against older guys that are trying to get to the Tour and also surf against friends that I know — it’s a great experience to come up with them.” 

Also winning their Round 1 heats, internationals kept pace from the QS event as Kanazawa, Brazilian Luan Hanada, and Markel Bizkarguenga (EUK)

Round 2 of the Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro will start at 8:00 a.m. EDT, March 15.


The Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500, Junior Pro and Roxy Junior Pro will run March 14 – 17. 
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. 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, Steven Sawyer, Soleil Errico, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport. For more information, please visit

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