The World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 and Pro Junior Men scorched into the weekend’s action. Round Two of the Pro Junior Men and Round Three of the Men’s QS1,000 were completed in their entirety with a big finals day draw set for tomorrow. The waves began to show slight improvement throughout the day as the northeast winds continued to grow and offered surfers one-to-three foot conditions.
Killian Garland (USA) established his dominance at the Alan Shepard Park lineup with a near-perfect 9.27 (out of a possible 10) and backed it up with another impressive 7.83 — earning the event’s highest heat total of 17.10 (out of a possible 20). The Santa Barbara, Calif. surfer was a standout on opening day and showed he’s prepared for whatever the conditions are on hand for finals day tomorrow.
“I was originally going to sit a little to the north, but right before my heat I noticed a lot of guys getting waves in front of the tower so I went there,” Garland said. “I’m really enjoying Cocoa Beach, the La Quinta hotel has made me feel right at home and traveling with Jacob Szekely is great so everything’s come together nicely. I wasn’t sure this wave would suit my surfing at first, but it reminds me of a few beachbreaks at home and I’m slowly building confidence in this event.”
Japanese competitor Joh Azuchi (JPN) followed Garland’s lead and produced a solid 14.60 total of his own. Azuchi earned an equal 13th at the World Junior Championships, but now has a chance to translate that performance to the QS level.
Fresh off the Australian leg of competition, Tyler Gunter (USA) returned to his home region for some much needed points and earned runner-up behind the in-form Azuchi with a 13.67 heat total. Though his Pro Junior attempts yielded no success, the Newport, Calif. competitor still has some momentum to build on and make a run at the QS Final tomorrow.
“The junior event didn’t go my way yesterday so I was definitely bummed, but I’m really excited to keep going in the QS,” Gunter said. “I didn’t get the results I wanted going to Australia for a few of those contests so I really want to get the year going here. It was still really cool over there traveling with friends and to see that the contests are really hard — everyone really wants it. I’m excited to be here and competing back in the US, even though I’m not really chasing the regional title this year, I’d still like to get some results and build up that seed.”
Before the Ron Jon Van Pro Men’s QS1,000 got their event started, Round Two of the Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Men got underway and made the best of conditions on hand.
Luke Gordon (USA) opened his 2017 North America Junior Tour season in terrific fashion with an impressive 14.44 heat total — the highest of the men’s junior event. The South Carolina-native found the two highest single-wave scores of the day, a 7.17 and 7.27, en route to a win and wants to continue that momentum.
“It feels good to make it through that heat after my bad result last year, but also with this being my last shot at it I’m going to give it everything I have,” Gordon said. “I’ve aged out of a lot of the amateur events so now I can really just focus on the Junior Tour and QS. I graduated early as well so my mindset is all on surfing and actually just started working out for the first time to get ready for this year. I’ve been really sick with the flu last week so I was totally drained, but now I feel great and I’m stoked on just being able to be in the water again.”
At the other end of the spectrum, Tommy Coleman’s (USA) Junior Tour career is just getting started and has plenty of time to put in performances such as today’s. The Vero Beach, Fla. surfer is considered one of the local favorites, hailing just 45-minutes down the road from Cocoa Beach, and wants to impress. Coleman’s performance in the QS event also saw him through to a Quarterfinals appearance and will have a big day of competition tomorrow.
“I’m stoked to be here and make a couple rounds already, it’d be great if I can keep this momentum going throughout tomorrow,” Coleman said. “It would be awesome [to win one of these for the hometown] and I’ll be doing some other events this year as well with that same goal. I’m trying to do the US Open, maybe Barbados, but I’ll definitely do the ECSC — it’s exciting that I’ve still got a lot of time to compete. I’m stoked to win a heat, I remember two years ago I couldn’t even get out of the first round so now I’d really like to make the Final.”
Event organizers will meet tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. EST to determine an 8:00 a.m. EST start for the Men’s Pro Junior, followed by the Men’s QS1,000 before the Pro Junior Women’s. Go to www.worldsurfleague.com, or download the WSL App, for live scoring and daily updates from the Ron Jon Vans Pro and Pro Junior.
Upcoming Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s QS1,000 Round Four Matchups:
Heat 1: Noah Schweizer (USA), Chase Modelski (USA), Evan Geiselman (USA), Jackson Butler (USA)
Heat 2: Kilian Garland (USA), Kei Kobayashi (USA), Josh Burke (BRB), Tommy Coleman (USA)
Heat 3: Jon Azuchi (JPN), Cam Richards (USA), Chauncey Robinson (USA), Jordy Collins (USA)
Heat 4: Christopher Kervin (USA), Tyler Gunter (USA), Michel Flores (BRA), Mason Ho (HAW)
Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Men’s Quarterfinal Matchups:
Heat 1: David Economos (USA), Taro Watanabe (USA), Micha Cantor (USA), Hagan Johnson (USA)
Heat 2: John Mel (USA), William Hedleston (USA), Ryland Rubens (USA), Bo Raynor (USA)
Heat 3: Cole Houshmand (USA), Zander Venezia (BRB), Tommy Coleman (USA), Elijah Fox (HAW)
Heat 4: Nick Marshall (USA), Crosby Colapinto (USA), Sean Woods (USA), Luke Gordon (USA)
Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s QS1,000 Round Three Results:
Heat 1: Noah Schweizer (USA) 10.83, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 8.97, Kairi Noro (JPN) 7.43, John Mel (USA) 6.53
Heat 2: Evan Geiselman (USA) 10.34, Tommy Coleman (USA) 10.10, Kevin Schulz (USA) 9.53, Ryland Rubens (USA) 7.33
Heat 3: Kilian Garland (USA) 17.10, Chase Modelski (USA) 11.67, Tomas King (CRI) 8.80, Braden Jones (USA) 6.20
Heat 4: Josh Burke (BRB) 12.34, Jackson Butler (USA) 9.30, Daniel Glenn (USA) 8.20, Sebastian Mendes (USA) 7.26
Heat 5: Jon Azuchi (JPN) 14.60, Tyler Gunter (USA) 13.67, Che Allan (BRB) 11.43, Cole Houshmand (USA) 7.67
Heat 6: Chauncey Robinson (USA) 8.97, Mason Ho (HAW) 8.60, Yuji Nishi (JPN) 8.37, Nolan Rapoza (USA) 7.45
Heat 7: Christopher Kervin (USA) 9.84, Cam Richards (USA) 9.70, Gabriel Farias (BRA) 7.87
Heat 8: Michel Flores (BRA) 11.10, Jordy Collins (USA) 10.77, Luke Gordon (USA) 9.83, Jacob Burke (BRB) 8.94
Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Men’s Round Two Results:
Heat 1: David Economos (USA) 7.06, William Hedleston (USA) 6.50, Sean Foerster (USA) 6.20, Che Allan (BRB) 6.18
Heat 2: Micha Cantor (USA) 11.04, Bo Raynor (USA) 9.53, Stevie Pittman (USA) 7.34, Ryan Huckabee (USA) 5.10
Heat 3: John Mel (USA) 9.57, Taro Watanabe (USA) 6.94, Jackson Butler (USA) 6.53, Ethan Mudge (USA) 4.60
Heat 4: Ryland Rubens (USA) 9.67, Hagan Johnson (USA) 7.80, Parker Cohn (USA) 6.80, Malakai Martinez (CRI) 4.97
Heat 5: Cole Houshmand (USA) 11.93, Crosby Colapinto (USA) 7.66, Sebastian Mendes (USA) 6.10, Adam Auffay (MTQ) 3.00
Heat 6: Tommy Coleman (USA) 11.27, Sean Woods (USA) 9.60, Chase Modelski (USA) 7.87, Liam Murray (USA) 7.64
Heat 7: Nick Marshall (USA) 10.46, Zander Venezia (BRB) 8.43, Liam Gloyd (USA) 5.73, Evan Brownell (USA) 4.13
Heat 8: Luke Gordon (USA) 14.44, Elijah Fox (HAW) 8.94, Jacob Burke (BRB) 7.93, Braden Jones (USA) 5.77