The World Surf League (WSL) Vans Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 witnessed some of the best conditions in the contest’s recent memory with three-to-four, long period swell from Tropical Storm Fiona coming through the 1st Street Jetty — and competitors did not let the opportunity go to waste. Completing Round 2 in its entirety before Round 3, Heats 1 – 8 were wrapped up, numerous excellent scores were posted including history-making perfection.
Miguel Tudela (PER) found the wave of Vans Pro history with a perfect 10 in his debut heat of Round 3. The Punta Hermosa, Peru native saw a gem forming and had priority, ensuring him it was his wave. Putting together a string of powerful turns in the critical sections all the way to the end, Tudela finished it off in sheer exuberance. But, the Peruvian wasn’t satisfied with perfection and backed it up with an 8.50 to solidify his spot into Round 4.
“I was watching the event all morning and I’ve never seen Virginia Beach this fun all the years I’ve been coming here,” Tudela said. “I fell on my first few attempts and then that wave came — it was the best wave I’ve seen here and right when I got up I knew it was going to be amazing. I got about six turns in and rode it all the way to the sand, I couldn’t believe it. That heat just gave me so much confidence moving forward and I really need a big result here so I’ll be giving it my all every heat.”
“I’ll just try to keep this rhythm with the ocean and try to better my best result here which is Round 4,” Tudela added. “I’ve been training a lot getting ready for this event and competing on the QS year round keeps me really focused to do well. I’d really like to finish in the Top 100 this year and set myself up for the QS10,000’s next year to make a run at qualifying.”
Making history of his own, Flavio Nakagima (BRA) earned the highest heat total in Vans Pro records with a near-perfect 18.93 (out of a possible 20). Posting a 9.93 and 9.00, the Brazilian left the other competitors in a battle for second with over ten minutes remaining in the heat. Raised in Sao Paulo and born to a Japanese mother, Nakagima has been on the QS grind this year from Australia to Japan and it’s led him to one of the best performances of his career.
“That was the best heat of my life getting those two massive scores and it felt absolutely incredible,” Nakagima said. “I was training in Huntington Beach getting ready for this event and I need a really good result here to start earning points toward the big events. I want to keep my head in each heat as it comes and really make a run at this event — I’m just having so much fun here in Virginia Beach. It’s my first time here and with the people, the food, and even some waves coming through today fortunately, it’s just incredible.”
Colin Moran (USA) wasn’t to be left out of the near-perfect scoring in his home region and posted a 9.00 in Round 2 to begin his Vans Pro campaign — going from fourth-place to first. The Newport, Calif., surfer hasn’t been on the QS grind too hard with filming projects but is making this trip to Virginia Beach worth it — advancing into Round 4 with a runner-up spot in Round 3 following his last-minute heroics. The 3,000 points on offer are vital for Moran’s seeding and he’ll look for more big performances heading forward.
“I thought I lost that heat but a double-up started coming and just thought I’d try to do as many backside hits as I possibly could,” Moran said. “I needed a six and it started getting slow at the end so I thought it was over. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time with some wave standing up and others just mushing over. Having this event pretty close to home is great in terms of being in the same country, I’m not at the point where I can travel to all of the events so I try to make the most out of ones I compete in.”
The signature smile of Carlos Munoz (CRI) has been spotted many times leading up to his Round 2 debut, and was extra bright after also narrowly escaping elimination. Needing a 5.53, Munoz left no doubt in the judges minds that he was going to get the score and posted an excellent 8.60. Getting the wildcard into this event, the Costa Rican came straight from representing his country at the ISA World Games to the shores of Virginia Beach and into a heat win.
“I was just praying for a wave to come with the seconds just ticking by and when I saw that wave I knew it was the score,” Munoz said. “I wanted to get a really big hit on the first turn and then finish the wave strong all the way to sand — I’m still smiling just knowing how difficult this wave is and whether or not it will give you a chance. Doing these WSL events are completely different from the ISA World Games in every way which is what I like about them. The games are so cool to represent Costra Rica and then come here to try and get my qualification points going, it’s a great experience.”
Tomorrow’s 7:30 a.m. EST Call will determine an 8:00 a.m. EST Start for either the completion of Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 Round 3 or the Quarterfinals of the Vans Pro Junior. For more information, go to www.worldsurfleague.com, or download the WSL App for all event updates on your mobile device.
Upcoming Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 Round 4 Matchups:
Heat 9: Patrick Gudauskas (USA), Aaron Cormican (USA), Luan Wood (BRA), Jake Marshall (USA)
Heat 10: Griffin Colapinto (USA), Hiroto Arai (JPN), Cam Richards (USA), Kilian Garland (USA)
Heat 11: Mitch Crews (AUS), Brian Toth (PRI), Flavio Nakagima (BRA), Monty Tait (AUS)
Heat 12: Michael Dunphy (USA), Oney Anwar (IDN), Dale Lovelock (AUS), Gabriel Andre (BRA)
Heat 13: Hiroto Ohhara (JPN), Taylor Clark (USA), Nathaniel Curran (USA), Tomas Tudela (PER)
Heat 14: Ian Gouveia (BRA), Parker Coffin (USA), Carlos Munoz (CRI), Kevin Sullivan (USA)
Heat 15: Brett Simpson (USA), Noah Schweizer (USA), Alonso Correa (PER), Kei Kobayashi (USA)
Heat 16: Bino Lopes (BRA), Matt Passaquindici (USA), Elijah Gates (HAW), Travis Beckmann (HAW)
Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 Round 3 Results:
Heat 1: Kaito Ohashi (JPN) 15.27, Yuji Mori (JPN) 11.86, Nathan Yeomans (USA) 11.73, Luke Gordon (USA) 9.80
Heat 2: Luel Felipe (BRA) 13.97, Kaito Kino (JPN) 11.77, Jacob Wilcox (AUS) 11.14, Yuji Nishi (JPN) 10.60
Heat 3: Miguel Tudela (PER) 18.50, Kalani Ball (AUS) 14.57, Arashi Kato (JPN) 12.37, Takumi Nakamura (JPN) 10.93
Heat 4: Tomas Hermes (BRA) 12.93, Brad Ettinger (USA) 12.06, Nolan Rapoza (USA) 10.27
Heat 5: Rafael Pereira (VEN) 13.16, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 12.40, Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) 11.24, Derek Peters (USA) 10.50
Heat 6: Kristian Kymerson (BRA) 16.26, Colin Moran (USA) 13.87, Pedro Neves (BRA) 12.90, Cory Arrambide (USA) 12.23
Heat 7: Rafael Teixeira (BRA) 14.36, Ian Crane (USA) 13.87, Mateus Herdy (BRA) 11.33, Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 6.97
Heat 8: Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 12.34, Evan Geiselman (USA) 10.94, Reo Inaba (JPN) 9.33, Philip Goold (USA) 9.27
Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Luke Gordon (USA) 11.67, Yuji Nishi (JPN) 11.00, Lucca Mesinas (PER) 10.00, Nick Marshall (USA) 8.24
Heat 2: Jacob Wilcox (AUS) 14.33, Yuji Mori (JPN) 12.90, Colt Ward (USA) 9.13, Joshua Burke (BRB) 8.26
Heat 3: Kalani Ball (AUS) 14.33, Brad Ettinger (USA) 12.80, Eithan Osborne (USA) 11.27, Victor Mendes (BRA) 8.33
Heat 4: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 12.94, Arashi Kato (JPN) 12.67, Noah Hill (USA) 11.00, Braden Jones (USA) 6.74
Heat 5: Rafael Pereira (VEN) 13.83, Pedro Neves (BRA) 12.03, Dylan Goodale (HAW) 11.76, Kevin Schulz (USA) 9.33
Heat 6: Colin Moran (USA) 14.33, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 13.60, Jake Kelley (USA) 12.57, Jordan Lawler (USA) 11.70
Heat 7: Mateus Herdy (BRA) 13.40, Reo Inaba (JPN) 11.73, Dane Mackie (BRB) 9.83, Tomas King (CRI) 7.17
Heat 8: Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 12.84, Kekoa Cazimero (HAW) 12.50, Gabriel Farias (BRA) 11.10, Chris Foster (HAW) 9.07
Heat 9: Luan Wood (BRA) 15.87, Kilian Garland (USA) 14.60, Harrison Martin (AUS) 13.00, Tyler Gunter (USA) 11.17
Heat 10: Cam Richards (USA) 13.63, Jake Marshall (USA) 13.30, Knox Harris (USA) 12.93, Alan Donato (BRA) 11.73
Heat 11: Flavio Nakagima (BRA) 18.93, Gabriel Andre (BRA) 15.76, Reef Heazlewood (AUS) 14.37, Kaishu Tanaka (JPN) 9.83
Heat 12: Dale Lovelock (AUS ) 12.90, Monty Tait (AUS) 10.87, Micha Cantor (USA) 9.26, Rory Reep (AUS) 7.97
Heat 13: Nathaniel Curran (USA) 14.24, Kevin Sullivan (HAW) 13.17, Tales Rodrigues (BRA) 10.54, Kairi Toro (JPN) 10.54
Heat 14: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 13.97, Tomas Tudela (PER) 13.63, Bo Raynor (USA) 10.90, Juninho Urcia (BRA) 10.10
Heat 15: Alonso Correa (PER) 13.10, Travis Beckmann (HAW) 9.74, Slade Prestwich (ZAF) 7.17, Jack Boyes (USA) 6.94
Heat 16: Elijah Gates (HAW) 11.83, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 10.77, Renan Peres (BRA) 8.93, Matheus Navarro (BRA) 6.07