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To be chaired-up the beach is surfing’s greatest, competitive honor whether it’s a Junior Tour victory, Qualifying Series (QS) win, or the marquee Championship Tour (CT). Sunday witnessed three surfers earn coveted wins at the Ron Jon / Quiksilver Junior Pro QS 1000, Junior Pro, and Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro in what is coming to be known as the best Cocoa Beach event — ever.
The third consecutive QS 1,000 added another new name to the trophy as Josh Burke finally emerged victorious at the QS level. A long-awaited Finals appearance was accomplished by the Barbadian and finished on top. It was a special day for the 21-year-old, who found his rhythm early on against 2017 Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro winner Ryland Rubens in the Semifinals.
Nothing could make a surfer more happy then coming over the dunes and seeing these waves especially for a contest in Cocoa Beach. Bombing waves and barrels courtesy of winter storm Riley. Photo:Dugan
But, Burke saved his best for last and earned an 8.33 (out of a possible 10) to begin the Final against an in-form Colt Ward and didn’t stop pressing until the final horn sounded.
“I’m just so psyched to make the Finals and actually win, I don’t know this feeling because I’ve never had it before,” Burke said. “I’ve won a Pro Junior in the past, but this has been a goal of mine for a long time now to take out a QS. This definitely gives me some confidence and just hoping to keep this momentum going. I’ve got a third and first now so I just want to get keep getting these kind of results.”
Traveling all the way from Barbados Josh Burke surfed with a purpose, to win and win he did taking first in the Mens main event. Photo:Dugan
“I’m just so excited to be standing here right now with a win and I’d like to dedicate this win to Zander [Venezia],” Burke continued. “I saw a Z in the clouds and knew he was there.”
Burke will now gear up for a big Caribbean leg that ends on his home shores at the Barbados Surf Pro QS 3,000 with this momentum pushing him forward.
Josh Burke and his Barbadian surfing legend dad, Alan who has more than a few pro event scalps on his belt himself proving the coconut doesn’t fall far from the mighty palm tree. Photo: Courtesy WSL
“I’ll get home for a few days before going to Martinique for the QS 3,000 there and then back home for another 3,000,” Burke added. “These QS 1,000s are pretty hard with some of the surfers that come to do them like Evan [Geiselman] being here, who almost made the World Tour a couple of years. But, the 3,000s are another big step with a lot of great surfers so I’ll just focus on doing my best there.”
The Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro runner-up’s, Ward, Semifinal bout highlighted finals day as he eliminated defending event winner and East Coast’s most prominent QS force, Evan Geiselman. The 20-year-old sat in second for nearly the entire heat until the three-minute mark delivered a forehand gem he was able to take full advantage of — earning an excellent 8.50 to take the win.
After winning it all at last year event, Evan Geiselman surfed his way to a solid third place finish with moves like this. Photo:Dugan
Unfortunately for the San Clemente, California, surfer, the ocean didn’t deliver the same last-minute opportunity and he finished just behind Burke in the Final.
“It’s great to finally get into a Final after really looking forward to that Semifinal with Evan [Geiselman] since I’ve never had a man-on-man heat with him,” Ward said. “He’s an amazing surfer and I was just super stoked to get that last opportunity, and couldn’t contain my excitement when I let out that claim just hearing some cheers on the beach. This is a great result moving forward and hopefully it’s the one that gets the ball rolling. I definitely feel like I worked on my heat strategies in this one and picked only the best waves, and I was just having fun all week without putting too much pressure on myself.”
Ron Jons Quiksilver pro 2018 judges tower. Photo: Mez
Ward’s win over Geiselman marked the Floridian’s first defeat in a Semifinal spanning back to 2015 — earning three consecutive East Coast Final appearances since the Van Pro in 2016.
Ryland Ruben returned to Cocoa Beach a full-time QS competitor after winning the 2017 Ron Jons Vans Junior Pro— his first-ever WSL win. The Ocean Beach, San Diego, surfer can hold his head high after a brilliant run at this year’s affairs ended with a Semifinal appearance and falling to eventual winner, Burke.
The next North America QS event will be the Jack’s Surfboards Pro QS 1,500 at Huntington Beach, California, March 23 – 25.
Cocoa Beach Florida was established in 1925 and is a small town with only 12,000 residents but has a surfing heritage of over 70 years. All surfers are welcome. Photo:Mez
Eithan Osborne, first place Junior Mens. Clean moves and smith surfing was the call on day one. Photo:Dugan
Bringing it right to the beach for maximum points. Alyssa Spencer. Photo:Dugan
Three very happy surfers and a bit richer too. Photo:Dugan
The event started day one with all time Cocoa Beach. The wave where perfectly groomed from sun up to sun down with straight offshores and pulsing sets thru high and low tide. The waves continued all three days but Friday was about as good as it gets in North Brevard County. Photo:Dugan
Friday afternoon with sets still stacked out the back. Photo:Mez
Welcome to Downtown Cocoa Beach ….Just a reminder of who is King. Bronzed surf god Kelly Slater greets all who visit. Photo:Dugan
ESA All Star from New Jersey, Logan Kamen headed south to try his luck at the Beach N’ Board Fest and was not disappointed. Warm weather and great surf is always enough to satisfy. Photo:Dugan
Last years event winner turned this years poster boy Evan Geiselman looking good on event signage everywhere. Photo:Dugan
Jacob Burke following his own lines at the Ron Jon Quicksilver Junior Pro. Photo:Dugan
The youngest competitor in the event all the way down from New Jersey Seamus “Moose” Carey was turning some heads with moves like this . Backside tail slide. Photo: “New Jersey” Mike Vuocolo
Taking it to the air with huge moves like this is what got North Carolinian Bo Rainor to an impressive finals berth and a whole lot more notoriety in the world of surfing. Photo:Dugan
Top notch California ripper Kevin Schulz was on a roll but came up a bit short in the wave department with the higher tide starving the surfers in the later heats. A bit of some shore break rock and roll to go along with his third quarter final appearance in as many consecutive east coast pro events. Photo:Dugan
South Florida, Rhode Island, Nova Scotia, California, Barbados, Central Florida. All spots all over the U.S. coastline were well represented anytime you glanced at the spectators bleachers . Photo:Dugan
One of the best surfers to come out of the Carolinas, quarter finalist Stevie Pittman on a great wave, day one of the Beach N’ Board Fest. Photo:Dugan
Josh Burke, all the way to the beach for the win. This was a huge win for both Josh and Barbados. His win showed the competitor that Island nations are stepping up and have what it takes for the win. Photo:Dugan
Always make sure to where your anklets for the best traction when practicing your surfing. Photo:Mike Vuocolo
Robbie McCormick busting out a nice air to advance to the semis in the main event . Keep an eye on this guy in the future as he’s just starting to make his move. Photo:Mike Vuocolo
Local Ron Jon team rider Tommy Coleman is always a threat in any competition he enters. These are the moves that have helped him take home trophies for years now. Photo:Dugan
Tommy’s cheering squad of one. Photo:Dugan
Cocoa Beach is a place that has a bit of everything beach wear-wise and some of it not necessarily what you imagined when visiting a place where bikini life rules. Photo:Dugan
This photo was taken at 11:03 AM his board is at 11:03, Micha Cantor. Photo: Mike Vuocolo
Quarter finalist Tommy Coleman’s stylish and precise surfing easily showcasing he ain’t just another “air guy”. Photo:Dugan
Day one saw the best conditions yet for the Beach N’ Board Fest. The rare, all day offshore winds kept the waves picture perfect. Photo:Dugan
Young Californian Dimitri Poulos straight up twelve o’clock on day one. Photo:Dugan
Mike Rogers of Cocoa Beach’s Grind For Life looks on as Jacksonville Florida’s Wild Bill takes advantage of the Vans skate ramp set up in the parking lot. There where venders and activities set up along with food trucks to take care of the crowds all weekend. The favorite was the belly flop contest into the wake boarding pool . Classic stuff. Photo:Mike Voucolo
South Florida Grorgio Gomez showing how it’s done . Straight up backhand. Photo:Dugan
As local as you can get, William Hedleston lives just blocks away from the shifting sandbars of Alan Shepard Park so he’s the most savvy to it’s moods and changes. Here he takes it right to the beach minimizing his scoring potential 100%. Photo:Dugan
We figured parting shot of equal 13’th finisher, Tyler Gunter would be a “one picture is worth a thousand words” visual statement to illustrate just how damn good the waves got for the Ron Jons / Quiksilver WSL QS 1000 Junior Pro courtesy of winter storm Riley. Photo:Dugan