PLAYA REVOLCADERO, Acapulco/ MEX (Saturday, July 15, 2017) – The World Surf League (WSL) Powerade Surf Open Acapulco Men’s Qualfying Series (QS) 1,000 determined its Quarterfinal draws in continued three-to-five foot conditions at Playa Revolcadero. The beachbreak was relentless once more as barrels, soaring airs, and power-surfing took center stage. The final day of competition is set for tomorrow after powering through Rounds Three and Four, and a talented field of surfers are ready to go head-to-head in the two-man matchups.
Nolan Rapoza (USA) began his day with the heaviest barrel ride thus far at Playa Revolcadero and narrowly escaped the curtain as it came down on him. That buzzer-beating ride earned him an 8.93 (out of a possible 10) and passage into Round Four where another nail-biting performance awaited. The Long Beach, California native found yet another cover up before laying his rail to solidify a place into the Quarterfinals with only minutes remaining.
“Every heat I’ve had a tough start, but in that Round Four heat I was able to pull some turns down and get some scores,” Rapoza said. “There’s so much going on with a lot of closeouts, the heat, and fighting the current that you can lost track of your heat strategy so if you see a corner your instinct is to just go. Luckily that one panned out and the same thing happened this morning with that barrel, I was just a little overwhelmed then just had to go. It feels great to make heats and I’m feeling confident, a big result here would be huge for me — I’m gunning for the Final.”
But, it was Puerto Escondido, Mexico native Jafet Ramos (MEX) who earned runner-up behind Rapoza over the favored, International Surfing Association (ISA) Gold Medalist Jhonny Corzo (MEX) with an excellent 8.33 and 14.66 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Ramos stands as the lone Mexican left in the event and has the entire beach behind him heading into tomorrow’s final day.
“I’m super happy and really motivated so I’m just going to give it everything I have tomorrow morning,” Ramos said. “Coming into this event my expectations were to just throw everything at it and aim for first in every heat. I got a couple of good boards before I left home and came here a few days early to get as much practice as I could. Now that I’m in the Quarters, I feel like I can actually win this thing.”
A handful of young guns staked their claim in the Quarterfinals, including an in-form Micky Clarke (USA) who earned two heat wins in today’s action. This marks Clarke’s best performance at the QS level and now heads into his first WSL two-man heat tomorrow morning after laying into the Playa Revolcadero walls that stacked up for him.
“It’s way better than your typical QS event here with a lot of waves, but there are a lot of closeouts so you have to find the right ones and there’s a lot of scoring potential on them,” Clarke said. “I’ve actually been riding a smaller wave, Epoxy board and it’s been working for me so I’m stoked to keep using it — it helps get over those flat sections after the initial push which is great. This is the first event where I’ve gone in thinking I can actually make a few heats and I’ve never made the Quarterfinals before so I’ll have to get my game plan set for tomorrow.”
John Mel (USA) went head-to-head with yesterday’s standout performer Carlos Munoz (CRI) alongside Rey Hernandez (MEX) and Gabriel Farias (BRA). Mel showcased impressive surfing with gauging rail turns to open his Round Four account by posting a 7.17. Though never dropping below runner-up, Munoz put the Santa Cruz native to the test and in the end Mel posted a 7.07 to secure the win.
“I was stoked to finally get a bunch of waves because every other heat I’ve made it in the last minute or so, so it felt nice to get waves right at the start,” Mel said. “Before this event I’ve just been enjoying some surfing and now I’m looking to get more points here which I need to get into those QS6,000s before the cut off. I’d love to be there and this is my last chance at it. But, I’m not looking too much into it right at the moment and just want to stay calm, and do my best surfing.”
San Clemente native Cole Houshmand (USA) capped off the blazing performances from the up-and-coming talent pool with a big Round Four win. Houshmand finds himself in the same spot as his fellow competitors on the hunt for points to start a push toward making the QS elite. Mel and Houshmand still have their Pro Junior years ahead of them, but have made it a point to start building their future now.
“I’m looking for a big result here to boost my rankings a bit before that mid-season cut off and I’m just focusing on my surfing, and just relaxing which is working out,” Houshmand said. “These QS1,000s are super important for me and if I can get into that Top 200 it’ll be great. With a lot of the North America guys already at that high level, this is a great opportunity for the guys like us to gain some points back and if you can finish at the top of the rankings there it could be huge for you.”
Also in the Quarterfinal draw, Carlos Munoz (CRI), Bruce Mackie (BRB), and Derek Gomes (VEN) will vie for this year’s title.
Event organizers will reconvene for tomorrow’s 7:30 a.m. CDT call to determine a possible 8:00 a.m. CDT start.
Upcoming Powerade Surf Open Acapulco QS1,000 Quarterfinal Matchups:
QF 1: Micky Clarke (USA) vs. Derek Gomes (VEN)
QF 2: Bruce Mackie (USA) vs. Cole Houshmand (USA)
QF 3: Nolan Rapoza (USA) vs. Carlos Munoz (CRI)
QF 4: Jafet Ramos (MEX) vs. John Mel (USA)
Powerade Surf Open Acapulco Men’s QS1,000 Round Four Results:
Heat 1: Micky Clarke (USA) 12.57, Bruce Mackie (BRB) 10.54, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 10.34, Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 10.23
Heat 2: Cole Houshmand (USA) 9.93, Derek Gomes (VEN) 9.27, Che Allan (BRB) 8.80, Dwight Pastrana (MEX) 7.60
Heat 3: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 14.73, Jafet Ramos (MEX) 14.66, Jhonny Corzo (MEX) 13.60, Shaun Burns (USA) 8.93
Heat 4: John Mel (USA) 14.24, Carlos Munoz (CRI) 13.97, Rey Hernandez (MEX) 11.04, Gabriel Farias (BRA) 10.36
Powerade Surf Open Acapulco Men’s QS1,000 Round Three Results:
Heat 1: Bruce Mackie (BRB) 13.60, Che Allan (BRB) 9.57, Austin Neumann (USA) 8.97, Mitchell Salazar (MEX) 7.06
Heat 2: Micky Clarke (USA) 10.63, Cole Houshmand (USA) 7.27, Nahum Corzo (MEX) 5.40, Travis Southworth (MEX) 4.26
Heat 3: Dwight Pastrana (MEX) 14.33, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 14.30, Martin Olea (MEX) 10.47, Noah Beschen (HAW) 8.34
Heat 4: Derek Gomes (VEN) 11.93, Francisco Bellorin (VEN) 11.60, Adrian Rodriguez (MEX) 10.53, Kevin Schulz (USA) 7.73
Heat 5: Jhonny Corzo (MEX) 14.74, John Mel (USA) 10.73, Stevie Pittman (USA) 10.43, Christopher Kervin (USA) 5.04
Heat 6: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 12.80, Gabriel Farias (BRA) 9.47, Chauncey Robinson (USA) 7.13, Tad McCardell (USA) 0.00
Heat 7: Carlos Munoz (CRI) 14.33, Jafet Ramos (MEX) 12.00, Matt Passaquindici (USA) 10.46, Alan Cleland (MEX) 6.00
Heat 8: Rey Hernandez (MEX) 10.07, Shaun Burns (USA) 9.53, Rafael Pereira (VEN) 8.77, Rory Reep (USA) 8.54