The World Surf League (WSL) Vans Pro Day Two continued their action on the shores of Virginia Beach, Va. and completed the remaining heats of Round 1 before jumping into Round 2. With minimal scoring opportunities on offer in the one-to-two foot conditions, the Juniors had to be at the top of their game to maximize any wave that gave them a chance — and they did just that. Competitors were able to capitalize on the double-ups and sectioned beachbreak at the 1st Street Jetty that saw numbers go into the excellent range, meaning an 8.00 or above, on multiple occasions.
Though Samuel Pupo (BRA) is competing out of region in the Vans Pro Junior, he’s looking to be a serious threat to the North America Tour competitors. The Brazilian posted the event’s highest heat total thus far with a 15.90 (out of a possible 20) as he makes his debut at Virginia Beach, Va. this year. With some help from his father and fellow compatriots, the young talent seemed well prepared for the conditions on hand.
“It’s hard out there but being busy in the water is probably the best idea right now,” Pupo said. “There’s not too much opportunity so when the waves come you just had to take advantage and I tried to do my best on each wave — trying for a big air to get those extra points at the end of each ride.”
“I wasn’t too nervous out there, just looking to have a lot of fun so I’m excited to be here,” Pupo added. “My dad and I have been trying to get boards dialed in to get my surfing even better in these kind of conditions. It seems to be really working and I’ve been training back home in really bad waves to get prepared for this one.”
Pupo posted two of the nine excellent scores dealt out today alongside fellow Brazilian Victor Mendes (BRA), who posted a 9.23 (out of a possible 10).
But, it was Ryland Rubens (USA) who continued to impress with a showcase of small wave knowledge and blasted the event’s highest single-wave score of the event thus far, a near-perfect 9.50. Earning one of the Vans Pro Junior’s highest heat totals alongside heat runner-up Griffin Colapinto (USA), with a 15.00, Rubens took the win with a higher single-wave score. But, the Pacific Beach, Ca. surfer isn’t getting ahead of himself and will zero in on his Round 3 bout.
“I think that was the only decent wave of the whole heat so I was super fortunate to be in the spot and just get a chance to surf my best on it,” Rubens said. “After losing in the QS I’m definitely a little fired up to make it far in this one but I don’t want to get ahead of myself and just keep having fun — it’s what it’s all about. I’m here with my mom which is great to cruise around check out some other spots and keep it low key. When I get stressed I just don’t perform well so I just want to stay relaxed and do what I know I can do.”
Micha Cantor (USA) electrified the beach with another great performance, this time in the Vans Pro Junior and earning two heat wins. Posting a 9.17 in Round 1 and another excellent score of an 8.00 in Round 2, the South Carolina native looked strong in the challenging waves on offer. Cantor is just beginning to delve into his WSL career in both the QS and Juniors this year with a lot of energy, and it’s beginning to show.
“It was fun in that last heat, thought I might get scored a little higher on that first wave but that just motivated me to go bigger and got rewarded with an 8.00,” Cantor said. “Finishing off these waves is super important, it’s the difference between that 6 and maybe getting a 7. Everyone is tripping on my board, it’s working so well and going fast through places it shouldn’t so I couldn’t ask for too much more. I just want to keep winning some heats and have some fun out here — it’s been a great experience so far and maybe we’ll get some better waves going into the next few days.”
A fellow East Coaster and fellow South Carolina surfer Luke Gordon (USA) posted two big heat wins today and is into the Quarterfinals looking for a big result. Not collecting any finishes worth keeping thus far, the Vans Junior Pro could be a turning point for Gordon as he heads into the second half of the 2016 season.
“This contest is huge for me,” Gordon said. “If I get a great result here then I’ll be able to tell if I have a shot at making it into the top four. There’s the bigger picture, but I’m focused on the heat in front me knowing there’s a lot of work to be done.”
“Even though it’s pretty challenging out there, the waves are pretty good for being here and at least giving us some opportunity,” Gordon added. “I like this contest a lot because it’s not like some other contests and a lot of fun to be with all the East Coast guys in one place. Seth Brody always lets me stay at his house and there’s a bunch of us under one roof so it’s a great time.”
Tomorrow’s 7:00 a.m. Call will determine for a possible 7:30 a.m. Start as the Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 will look to return to the water. For more information go to www.worldsurfleague.com, or download the WSL app to get updates on your mobile device.
Upcoming Vans Pro Junior Quaterfinal Match Ups:
QF 1: Ryland Rubens (USA), Taro Watanabe (USA), Yuji Nishi (JPN), Kairi Noro (JPN)
QF 2: Victor Mendes (BRA), Griffin Colapinto (USA), Jake Marshall (USA), Kei Kobayashi (USA)
QF 3: Alonso Correa (PER), Nolan Rapoza (USA), Luke Gordon (USA), Eithan Osborne (USA)
QF 4: Samuel Pupo (BRA), Che Allan (BRB), Micha Cantor (USA), Tommy Coleman (USA)
Vans Pro Junior Round 2 Results:
Heat 1: Ryland Rubens (USA) 15.00, Griffin Colapinto (USA) 15.00, Simon Hetrick (USA) 9.30, Crosby Colapinto (USA) 5.33
Heat 2: Yuji Mori (JPN) 12.93, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 8.03, David Economos (USA) 7.27, Zander Venezia (BRB) 4.84
Heat 3: Victor Mendes (BRA) 12.93, Taro Watanabe (USA) 12.00, Wil Reid (USA) 11.27, Sean Woods (USA) 11.23
Heat 4: Jake Marshall (USA) 12.67, Kairi Noro (JPN) 12.00, Kade Matson (USA) 11.24, Nick Marshall (USA) 8.43
Heat 5: Alonso Correa (PER) 13.17, Che Allan (BRB) 11.03, Aldo Chirinos (CRI) 9.40, Italo Mesinas (PER) 4.47
Heat 6: Luke Gordon (USA) 14.00, Tommy Coleman (USA) 10.76, Cole Houshmand (USA) 9.43, Elijah Fox (HAW) 8.30
Heat 7: Samuel Pupo (BRA) 15.90, Nolan Rapoza (USA) 13.34, Tyler Gunter (USA) 8.60, Gabriel Morvil (USA) 7.33
Heat 8: Micha Cantor (USA) 14.43, Eithan Osborne (USA) 13.40, Yuji Mori (JPN) 12.93, Malaka Martinez (CRI) 4.84
Remaining Vans Pro Junior Round 1 Results:
Heat 9: Alonso Correa (PER) 12.43, Tommy Coleman (USA) 8.50, Jackson Butler (USA) 5.96
Heat 10: Che Allan (BRB) 12.00, Elijah Fox (HAW) 10.00, Jhony Corzo (MEX) 6.37, Laird Myers (USA) 4.27
Heat 11: Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.83, Italo Mesinas (USA) 7.26, Luke Marks (USA) 0.00
Heat 12: Luke Gordon (USA) 13.50, Aldo Chirinos (CRI) 11.33, Chauncey Robinson (USA) 10.56, Blake Speir (USA) 6.73
Heat 13: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 12.60, Eithan Osborne (USA) 11.50, Shane Borland (USA) 8.80, Alan Cleland (MEX) 3.23
Heat 14: Tyler Gunter (USA) 12.57, Yuji Mori (JPN) 11.50, Jacob Burke (BRB) 10.60
Heat 15: Micha Cantor (USA) 15.84, Samuel Pupo (BRA) 12.67, Bo Raynor (USA) 9.64, Chase Modelski (USA) 5.90
Heat 16: Malaki Martinez (CRI) 13.30, Gabriel Morvil (USA) 9.86, Micky Clarke (USA) 9.60, John Mel (USA) 9.24