Written by Andrew Nichols/WSL — The World Surf League (WSL) crowned Evan Geiselman (USA), Ryland Rubens (USA) and Alyssa Spencer (USA) its Ron Jon Vans Pro and Pro Junior champions after a brilliant final day of competition. The conditions were a drastic improvement from yesterday and two-to-three foot, clean waves provided competitors with an abundance of scoring opportunity. All three champions took full control of their Finals and showcased incredible surfing to assert their dominance.

Evan Geiselman won the Ron Jon Vans Pro, held as part of the Beach N Boards Fest in Cocoa Beach, FL, this past weekend. Photo: Dugan

When the final horn of the day sounded on the Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 event, it was Geiselman who emerged victorious for the first time at this event over talented up-and-comer Jordy Collins (USA). The New Smyrna Beach-native blasted the highest single-wave score of the event, a 9.33 (out of a possible 10), in the Final on his forehand and had Collins in a combination situation. “I came here looking for some momentum and to really get some heats under my belt so I couldn’t be happier,” Geiselman said. “Being able to post some excellent scores like that makes you feel good about your surfing and know you’re doing something right. While it isn’t a big win in terms of points, it’s great to get this win just down the road from my own backyard and have everyone’s support. The goal is still there to be in that qualifying picture at the end of the year so I’ll be getting on it again and hope to find some great results.”

The scene at this year’s Beach N Boards Fest. Photo: Dugan

A goofy showdown between Geiselman and an on-fire Tommy Coleman (USA) heated up in the first Semifinal with Coleman looking to upset the seasoned QS competitor. But, it was Geiselman who shut the door on his fellow Floridian with an 8.83 to take the lead in the dying minutes. “That Semifinal was probably the biggest test of the day after yesterday’s smaller conditions,” Geiselman added. “This is a great confidence booster toward those higher-rated events in Barbados before heading to Japan, and then on to Ballito — so this year is already taking shape. Last year I really wanted it and I enjoyed it, but I also learned a lot and that’s what you have to keep doing.”

Ron Jon Vans Pro runner-up Jordy Collins. Photo: Dugan

Runner-up Collins had a brilliant run  at this event that led him to a big Semifinal draw of his own and outperformed one of the standouts Joh Azuchi (JPN) in defining fashion. Collins earned a 7.33 on his third wave to put Azuchi in need of an excellent 8.19 that the Japanese contingent was unable to attain. But, in the end, the 1,000 points were not meant to be for the 18-year-old emerging QS competitor. “I didn’t come into this event with a lot of expectations since I’ve never been a super [QS] grinder kind of surfer, but once I got here and got on my board it was just magic so I knew it’d be a good event,” Collins said. “After that I was just amped to be getting good scores and I was super stoked with how today went. This will be my first full year on the QS so I’ll do the Jack’s Pro in a few weeks and then head down to Barbados. I’m not really even thinking too far down the road and just want to keep pushing along, and do my best at every event I can.”

Jordy Collins and Evan Geiselman. Photo: Dugan

Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior winner Ryland Rubens. Photo: Dugan

After blowing up in the Semifinals with two excellent scores of an 8.60 and 8.10, Ryland Rubens (USA) continued his explosive surfing into the Final for his first-ever WSL win. Rubens earned an 8.50 right out of the gate and backed it up with another impressive 7.60 to control the heat. Though he had an entire heat to fend off his fellow competitors, Rubens kept his composure and topped Coleman, John Mel (USA), and Luke Gordon (USA) until the final buzzer went off. “That’s the best part of competitions is to come in from a win like that and see all the people who support you, win or lose, just psyched on you so I was really stoked to have some good people here,” Rubens said. “I got a lot of Semifinals last year and it was just eating away at me to not punch through to a Final. But, this was just such a fun event and the waves were on my side today — just felt like I was in a really good rhythm. The waves picked up for us and after that Semifinal I didn’t want to jinx it, but luckily it translated to another big heat. It’s all about having fun for me even though I’m definitely wanting to go for it all this year, it’s important to me to just enjoy it all. I’m stoked to give it a crack and getting this win really helps that goal.”

South Carolina’s Luke Gordon. Photo: Dugan

Santa Cruz, CA’s, John Mel. Photo: Dugan

Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior finalists Tommy Coleman, John Mel, Ryland Rubens, and Luke Gordon. Photo: Dugan

The presence of Coleman was continually felt throughout the day with a big Semifinal performance and looked unstoppable until matching up with Rubens. Alongside Coleman in his Semifinal, it was Gordon who stole the heat from Zander Venezia (BRB) on his last scoring ride in that heat to earn a place in the Final with Coleman, Mel, and Rubens. Mel also turned in a 7.07 on his final scoring wave to solidify himself into his second consecutive Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Final. “I couldn’t believe the day I had making it to the QS Semifinal and then the Junior Final,” Runner-up Coleman said. “Starting with that Quarterfinal, I’ve looked up to Noah [Schweizer] for so long and then getting to surf with Evan [Geiselman] was incredible. I’m really looking forward to doing a few more events this year and just so stoked to have everyone on the beach cheering me on. I’m still young as well so to make it this far in these events means a lot to me for experience and can’t wait to have some more fun the next few years.”

On the scene in Cocoa Beach. Photo: Dugan

Alyssa Spencer (USA) successfully defended her Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Women’s Title with a phenomenal display of power surfing in the Final. The Carlsbad, Calif. surfer smashed an 8.17 to take the lead from Leilani McGonagle (CRI) and never looked backed — tacking on a near-perfect 9.17 to put her competitors into a combination situation. The 13-year-old will celebrate her birthday tomorrow and, once again, with a big victory to start the North America Junior Tour season.

Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior girls finalists. Photo: Dugan

“I’m over the moon right now, it’s so amazing to get another win here,” Spencer said. “Leilani [McGonagle] got off to a good start, but I knew I could do the same thing if the waves came so I’m stoked a few more sets showed up in that heat. That 9.17 really fired me up after getting my other good score just before it so I wanted to finish strong because all of those girls rip if they get the chance. My goal is definitely to make Worlds again, but it won’t be easy with these girls pushing their surfing and it’s going to be an exciting year. I’m glad I won this one since I know it will be really hard to find another win.”

McGonagle and Samantha Sibley (USA) went neck-and-neck for the 1-2 finish in their Semifinal to set up a big Final matchup alongside Spencer and Kirra Pinkerton (USA). It was Pinkerton’s explosive turn in the dying seconds earned her a 7.40 and runner-up behind her Californian compatriot. Sibley and Pinkerton found their dying-minute gems to put themselves ahead of the Costa Rican, however, and solidify their spots ahead of McGonagle. But, it was Sibley who came out as runner-up and an all-important 750 points.

Between-heat strategy on the sand in Cocoa Beach. Photo: Dugan

The next North America Men’s QS event will be the Jack’s Pro QS1,500 in Huntington Beach, Calif. March 31 – April 2.  The North America Junior Tour will be back in action this summer with the fifth anniversary of the Los Cabos Open of Surf June 6 – 11. For more information, go to www.worldsurfleague.com or download the WSL App for updates on your mobile device.

Havanna Cabrero stays in the shade in between her heats at the Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior. Photo: Dugan

Tristan Thompson boosting during the Tow-At demonstration. Photo: Dugan

The waves may have been small for the Tow-At, but Eric Geiselman still got lifted. Photo: Dugan

Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s QS1,000 Finals Results:
1– Evan Geiselman (USA) 17.00    1,000 points  $2,500
2– Jordy Collins (USA) 11.00          750 points     $1,500

Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Men’s Finals Results:
1– Ryland Rubens (USA) 16.10       1,000 points  $2,500
2– Tommy Coleman (USA) 13.30   750 points     $1,500
3– Luke Gordon (USA) 12.23          560 points     $1,100
4– John Mel (USA) 5.53                   525 points     $900

Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Women’s Finals Results:
1– Alyssa Spencer (USA) 17.34      1,000 points  $2,000
2– Samantha Sibley (USA) 12.74   750 points     $900
3– Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 12.70      560 points    $600
4– Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 11.94  525 points    $500

Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s QS1,000 Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) 15.50 def. Tommy Coleman (USA) 14.93
Heat 2: Jordy Collins (USA) 14.26 def. Joh Azuchi (JPN) 12.10

Japan’s Joh Azuchi. Photo: Dugan

Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Men’s Semifinal Results:

Heat 1: Ryland Rubens (USA) 16.70, John Mel (USA) 13.00, Taro Watanabe (USA) 10.37, Micha Cantor (USA) 9.67
Heat 2: Tommy Coleman (USA) 13.10, Luke Gordon (USA) 12.67, Zander Venezia (BRB) 10.73, Nick Marshall (USA) 10.67

Ron Jon Vans Pro Junior Women’s Semifinal Results:
Heat 1: Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 12.27, Samantha Sibley (USA) 12.26, Madeline Zeuli (USA) 7.00, Nicole Fulford (USA) 6.57
Heat 2: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 14.67, Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 14.50, Tiare Thompson (USA) 13.34, Eva Woodland (USA) 9.20

Central Florida’s Eva Woodland. Photo: Dugan

Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s QS1,000 Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Tommy Coleman (USA) 13.10 def. Noah Schweizer (USA) 10.10
Heat 2: Evan Geiselman (USA) 12.57 def. Kei Kobayashi (USA) 10.30
Heat 3: Jordy Collins (USA) 13.10 def. Michel Flores (BRA) 11.60
Heat 4: Joh Azuchi (JPN) 13.67 def. Tyler Gunter (USA) 12.60

New Smyrna Beach, FL’s, Noah Schweizer. Photo: Dugan

Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s Junior Quarterfinal Results:
Heat 1: Micha Cantor (USA) 12.17, Taro Watanabe (USA) 8.87, David Economos (USA) 8.83, Hagan Johnson (USA) 5.33
Heat 2: John Mel (USA) 10.74, Ryland Rubens (USA) 10.73, Bo Raynor (USA) 8.50, William Hedleston (USA) 7.24
Heat 3: Tommy Coleman (USA) 12.64, Zander Venezia (BRB) 11.73, Elijah Fox (HAW) 10.00, Cole Houshmand (USA) 9.00
Heat 4: Luke Gordon (USA) 12.57, Nick Marshall (USA) 9.83, Sean Woods (USA) 9.03, Crosby Colapinto (USA) 7.10

Ron Jon Vans Pro Men’s QS1,000 Round Four Results:
Heat 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.07, Noah Schweizer (USA) 11.94, Chase Modelski (USA) 8.27, Jackson Butler (USA) 7.20
Heat 2: Tommy Coleman (USA) 12.63, Kei Kobayashi (USA) 11.90, Josh Burke (BRB) 10.34, Killian Garland (USA) 9.34
Heat 3: Jordy Collins (USA) 12.90, Joh Azuchi (JPN) 9.67, Cam Richards (USA) 8.91, Chauncey Robinson (USA) 7.57
Heat 4: Tyler Gunter (USA) 13.20, Michel Flores (BRA) 11.27, Mason Ho (HAW) 11.10, Christopher Kervin (USA) 4.33

South Florida’s Chase Modelski. Photo: Dugan

Barbados’ Jacob Burke. Photo: Dugan

South Carolina’s Cam Richards. Photo: Dugan

Volcom hosted their annual Cig Butt Challenge, adding a rad environmental spin to the Beach N Boards Fest proceedings. Photo: Dugan

Kala Coscino. Photo: Dugan

Wakeboarding on the beach at Beach N Boards Fest. Photo: Dugan

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