The World Surf League (WSL) Men's Qualification Series (QS) Pacifico Belmar Pro QS1000 kicked off in greatly improved conditions with some help from Tropical Storm Henri making its way toward Canada. It was a day that truly tested the stamina of these competitors, completing the first three rounds of the Men's QS1000 following the final four heats in the Fins Pro Junior Round 3. With plenty of swell on offer, the top seeds made their debuts in fun two-to-three foot plus surf, and put on a showcase of high performance surfing.
Throwing caution to the wind in the final minute of his Round 3 heat, Daniel Glenn (USA) launched to the air for the contest's highest single-wave score of the event with a 9.33 -- as well as totaling the highest heat total of 16.00. Sitting in third place, Glenn looked to be on his way back to New Smyrna Beach, FL needing a 7-point ride -- but threw everything he had into the final wave of the heat and now knows what he's capable of.
"I was super nervous sitting in such a bad position and paddled so hard to get to that wave," Glenn said. "I knew I wasn't sitting pretty knowing I needed a 7 and had to bust it to get around Benji [Brand] to get in. I took off over a rock and just threw a hail mary into the flats -- I was so stoked to spin out of it and get that score. I'm just going to remember that air moving forward and know that I can land something like that."
Despite losing his Fins Pro Junior Round 3 heat earlier in the morning, Glenn bounced back with a renewed spark that pushed him to a Men's QS1000 Round 2 win earlier in the day. With that momentum, and pocketing an NKF Pro win in his home state before coming here, Glenn is looking forward to the remainder of this competition.
"It was such a good feeling going into that heat with some solid confidence from winning my first one," Glenn said. "I'm coming off a small pro win in Florida last weekend so I'm feeling pretty good right now and just stoked to keep going. Unfortunately I didn't do a maneuver like that in my Pro Junior heat so I had to do something out there."
Coming out flying in his Pacifico Belmar Pro Men's QS1000 opening heat, Imaikalani Devault (HAW) posted a massive 15.73 in Round 2 -- giving the young Hawaiian plenty of confidence going into Round 3. Advancing behind fellow Hawaiian, Kalani David (HAW), Devault is into Round 4 but knows there is still plenty of work to be done.
"My first heat was actually a really good one so it felt great to surf well," Devault said. "I didn't surf that great just now, coming in second in my last heat, so hopefully I can find that rhythm from earlier again. I'm stoked to make it through and just taking it heat by heat now so I don't want to overthink it. I really want to try and make the finals here so I'm taking it slow."
Beginning his campaign in Round 1, Dylan Goodale (HAW) won each of his three heats today as he bashed one of the highest heat totals in Round 2 with a 15.33. Enjoying the fun conditions on hand, the Hawaiian matched his Round 2 performance in Round 3 with a 15.30 - topping defending champion, Gabe Kling (USA).
"It felt really good to get things going -- especially in Round 1 since I signed up late not knowing if I was going to stay on the East Coast," Goodale said. "I wasn't sure there were going to be waves so I'm stoked there's a few good ones coming through. I struggled in my first heat so coming into the last heat I pretty much just went for airs the whole time -- everyone had low scores and I was able to get that high 7, then just had some fun out there looking for wedges to boost out of."
Goodale had mixed thoughts on his boards but he was able to find the scores he needed in his final heat of the day to earn a big win against an in-form Parker Coffin (USA).
"My first two heats I got some good waves on my board that I know works well," Goodale said. "But going into my last heat I tried my other board that I know works really great when you get those steep sections -- I was kind of just all over the place. The waves were breaking right off the jetty and giving you a ramp almost every time. My first wave I was really deep on the jetty and Parker was wide so I just went for a big air and got my 7.83 on it."
Adding to the list of winning Hawaiians, Kalani David (HAW) dropped a huge 8.50 on an alley-oop in his Fins Pro Junior Round 3 heat, only motivating him more toward the Men's QS1000 event. Winning his opening heat with more aerial attacks in Round 3 as the improved swell continued to deliver, David is embracing the moment and keeping his focus on the task at hand.
"This morning I felt like I really found my rhythm after a string of bad results in Virginia and Outer Banks," David said. "I found a good wave and it just kept running so I was able to throw that alley-oop in the Juniors heat. Everyone's been surfing so great during this East Coast leg and I'm just happy to find my groove - and also my love for surfing again. My dad showed up for this event and he's been helping me keep my head straight. I feel like I'm coming back."
David has plenty of momentum moving forward as he continues in both events and has a positive outlook once more -- something he's been able to recover and project into his surfing. Still carrying a board from earlier in the year, he has made a change onto fresh equipment and feels the improvement after his opening heat in the Pacifico Belmar Pro Men's QS1000 heat.
"Making it to the Juniors Quarterfinals was a huge confidence booster because it's been such a hard year for me," David said. "I was still on this board from Cabo and it started feeling a bit soggy so I made a switch. Getting through that first QS heat with a solid win and getting two solid waves while feeling good on my board in those turns was great. I'm just going to not get too excited, stay conservative and just do my best here."
A 7:30 a.m. call will determine an 8am Start for the Pacifico Belmar Pro Men's QS1000 Round 4. The live webcast will begin tomorrow at www.belmarpro.com as the WSL is joined by additional Pro and Amateur divisions.