HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/ USA (Monday, August 21, 2017) – The World Surf League (WSL) begins its East Coast takeover tomorrow, beginning with the Vans Pro Men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 and Pro Junior that will run August 22 through 27. Some of the top QS contenders are in Virginia Beach, Virginia with 3,000 vital points on offer for those looking to make a leap toward Championship Tour (CT) qualification. This marks the seventh-straight year the 1st Street Jetty will host some of the Men’s QS elite which has crowned past winners such as Kolohe Andino (USA), Patrick Gudauskas (USA), and Kanoa Igarashi (USA).
Alongside the QS contingent, the Vans Pro Junior hosts some of North America’s next up-and-coming surfers as they compete against international talent for a chance at earning crucial points toward World Junior Championships qualification.
Evan Geiselman (USA) joined the exquisite list of QS winners after his victory last year — over hometown hero and former victor Michael Dunphy (USA). The New Smyrna Beach, Florida native continued a dream run year with a win here in 2016, after earning 6,000 points in Chiba, Japan earlier in the summer. Geiselman’s 2017 hasn’t quite yielded the results he’d like, aside from a win in Cocoa Beach. But, after claiming a Hurley Pro Trestles Trials win, he found more rhythm with a Round Five appearance at the Vans US Open of Surfing QS10,000 which moved him 18 spots to No. 44 on the QS.
“I’m really looking forward to Virginia Beach, especially being from the East Coast since it’s the biggest event on the coast and it’s always fun to compete here,” Geiselman said. “It was cool to win the trials for a spot into Lowers and make some heats at the US Open. I had a pretty slow start to this year, but feel like I’m starting to find some confidence for this back half of the season. So the plans like always — keep it light, fun and enjoy it and try to make as many heats as I can.”
Dunphy’s runner-up performance last year was his best since his victory in 2014 — a year that witnessed him contest for a CT qualification position heading into Hawaii. Born and raised in Virginia Beach, Dunphy now spends most of his time traveling or in New Smyrna Beach with family. But, the 27-year-old never forgets his roots and returns home for a shot at reclaiming his Vans Pro glory.
“Last year was a good run for me here and anytime you make a Final in an event I think you can walk away happy,” Dunphy said. “I felt my surfing was good and I was basically just one wave away from winning the event again. For me, Virginia Beach is just a special place even though I don’t spend much time here these days. It’s where I first learned to surf so all my early memories of surfing and competing come from 1st Street Jetty. When I won in 2014, with all my friends rushing me as I came in, that’s a day I will never forget. That event was the one that kickstarted my run of being close to qualifying. Hopefully I can find some momentum that same way this year, as I know I have only improved as a surfer since then.”
Stop No. 4 of the North America Pro Junior Tour has its own list of noteworthy winners such as 2016 North America Regional Champion Nolan Rapoza (USA) — who ended the Hawaiian reign. Both Seth and Josh Moniz (HAW), Kaito Kino (HAW), and Keanu Asing (HAW) all won in consecutive years beginning in 2012 after Nat Young (USA) earned a win at the inaugural Vans Pro Junior in 2011. It will be up to the likes of San Clemente, California’s newest upstart, Crosby Colapinto (USA), to secure another win away from the international field in appearance.
Colapinto’s second year on the Pro Junior Tour has yielded much more success than his debut year in 2016 with help of his older brother and current QS No. 5 Griffin Colapinto (USA). Now, he currently sits in a qualification spot toward the World Junior Championships with a chance to help solidify that position in Virginia Beach.
“I am very excited to see what is coming,” Colapinto said. “Being in a qualifying spot for Worlds is awesome because I think it will give me some confidence and momentum going into the last few contest. But, to keep this momentum up it will take a lot of hard work and training. I will also be running some fun heats with my brother [Griffin] and learn more heat strategies. A big change that I saw in my surfing on the competitive side is that I am more patient in the water and also I tend to not stress as much in heats. My brother and I like to go down to our local break ,T-Street and run heats to work on our strategy. Some goals that I would like to achieve would be to win a Pro Junior and make Worlds, and then be in a QS6,000 in about 2 years.”
The Vans Pro Men’s QS3,000 and Pro Junior will run August 22 through 27 in coordination with the historical East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC) — the world’s second-longest running contest, now in its 55th year, behind Bells’ Beach.
For more information, please visit www.worldsurfleague.com or download the WSL App to receive updates on your mobile device.