WSL PRESS RELEASE
HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Tuesday, January 24, 2017) – The World Surf League (WSL) Carve Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 victor Cam Richards (USA) claimed his maiden QS win in Maroubra, NSW, Australia over the weekend. This marks Richards’ first-ever Finals appearance on the QS level as the 21-year-old looks to continue his Australian campaign.
Richards took down an in-form Kalani Ball (AUS) in an exciting Final that witnessed Richards opening with an 8.50 (out of a possible 10) and backing it up with a 7.25. Ball was in a combination situation, needing two new scores to total Richards, with only minutes left and fell 0.21 short on his final wave in the final seconds.
“This is all pretty unexpected to be honest,” Richards told WSL after his win. “I haven’t really competed too much and thought I’d see how I went on this Australian leg of events. I guess this is a pretty good start. It was a really fun event. Kalani is such a good surfer and when I saw him take off on that last wave I was pretty nervous. Luckily he just missed the score. I’m really happy to win and I can’t wait for the next event.”
The South Carolina-native has humble roots that take him to the city of Garden City, though he now resides as a California transplant. Richards’ first WSL win came on the Junior Tour in 2015, claiming the Sprite Soup Bowl Pro Junior, but had a tough 2016 as a full-time QS competitor — finishing No. 274 on the rankings. Though, his focus wasn’t completely on competition.
“To come from a place like Garden City to winning a QS on the other side of the world is pretty weird,” Richards said. “But, it was really awesome to see all the support I had from my home town. I come from such an amazing town and everyone is so caring it always feels good to win because at times it’s almost like they are more stoked than I am. So it’s super amazing. I have a place in Orange County but I’m on the road so much it’s hard to call anywhere home. But, South Carolina is and will always be my true home.”
“When I was younger it definitely was something I dreamed of,” Richards continued. “But, recently I was really focused on filming and things like that so me winning a QS was definitely a pleasant surprise. I was happy to get back into the contest mindset. Last year on the QS was a weird one, I couldn’t really make up my mind on what I wanted to like free surf or contest so I was in a weird mind trip. Now, at least for the first half of the year, I’m going to give it a pretty good shot.”
After an Equal 7th at the Shoe City Pro QS1,000 to begin the year, Richards now sits with 1,395 points to start the season as he preps for the continuing string of Australian events — beginning next with the Telstra Stores Tweed Coast Pro QS1,000 in Cabarita, NSW, Australia February 1 – 5.