The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Shoe City Pro QS1000 opened Day 2 with the start of the Women's competition in beautiful four-to-six-foot, clean swell. Winter conditions delivered for a second day in a row on the Southside of the Huntington Beach Pier. Immediately following Women's Round 1, the Men's competition resumed with numerous excellent scores posted. Round 2 was completed as well as Round 3 to end the day -- setting up the Quarterfinal draws for the Women and Round 4 for the Men.
In the most electrifying heat of the day coming at the end of Round 2, Pat Gudauskas (USA) and Colt Ward (USA) went wave for wave until the final minute with Gudauskas coming out on top. Finding an 8.93 to regain the lead with a 17.76, out of a possible 20, Gudauskas overcame Ward's heat total of 17.10, who earned an 8.77 and 8.33.
"It was so fun and heats like that are what I did this event for," Gudauskas said. "Colt was ripping and those types of battles are great to get you back into the competitive mindset -- especially with it being the first contest of the year. As long as the waves are fun it's going to be a great day and love putting up great heats like that. I want to come away with this one, that's my main goal."
Continuing to find success later in the day, Gudauskas had the field in a combination situation, meaning each surfer had to earn two new scores to overcome the difference, during the last heat of Round 3. Enjoying his first event back in a jersey, Gudauskas had to surf in both ideal morning conditions and signature afternoon Huntington Beach winds.
"It was such a good day, it's always fun when you get to surf double heats even though it challenging with it being pretty low tide for the end of the day," Gudauskas added. "Felt like I rode two waves for 500 yards and then had to paddle all the way back out after the run around which is always fun. Just looking at the heat draws I thought each of my heats today were going to be really tough. But, those waves I got in the last heat were really fun even with the change in conditions, I would've been out surfing it if there wasn't a contest so it was just a great day to be in the water."
Making it past Round 3 for the first time in his QS career, Lucca Mesinas (PER) was overjoyed when he came out of the water and found himself into Round 4. But, it was his Round 2 performance, earning a 16.10 heat total with an excellent 8.67 single-wave score, that set the stage for advancing on.
"It's pretty great to have a good performance for the first competition of the year," Mesinas said. "The conditions were amazing in the morning for my first heat but it got more difficult late in the day. There were some good waves still out there but you really had to find them and capitalize on it by giving the turns a lot of power and find that inside connection. I was happy to find a few waves that allowed me to do that."
"This is my first QS that I've made more than two heats so that's amazing to me," Mesinas added. "I would always make the first one and lose the second but I've been training a lot to prepare for this event and it feels great to make it through to tomorrow."
After winning his Round 2 heat in yesterday's more turbulent conditions, Derek Peters (USA) returned to the water this afternoon with plenty of talent around him, including the in-form Colt Ward (USA), and won his second heat of the event - eliminating Ward. Earning his place into Round 4, the Huntington Beach local is ready for what tomorrow has in store to finish the competition strong.
"Both of my heats between today and yesterday just started deteriorating either the heat prior or during the heat but I surf windy conditions all the time here at home so I feel a little less confused on where to be in the lineup than maybe some of the guys from out of town," Peters said. "It's hard to hear with the wind and you have to kind of judge it yourself, but I knew it was a good score and stoked to get two really good waves out there. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow morning and getting some of the glassy conditions that have been coming through. I'm also psyched to be at home and sleep in my own bed and really get set for tomorrow."
With another exciting day of high-performance surfing completed, the Shoe City Pro will crown its respective champions tomorrow. Look for live scoring at www.worldsurfleague.com and see who will win the inaugural Women's title, and replace Kolohe Andino (USA) as men's champion.