The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Ron Jon Vans Pro QS1000 kicked off in three-to-four foot windswell that allowed for excellent scoring potential throughout the day as Rounds 1 and 2 were completed in their entirety. The patrons of Cocoa Beach, Fla., were treated to high-performance surfing as some surprise performances in Round 1 and Top Seeds in Round 2 put forth their best efforts.
Stealing the show in Round 1, Marcos Amaro (BRA) put together beautiful combination surfing for a 17.27 heat total - the highest of Rounds 1 and 2. Finding the proper waves to unleash powerful turns during his heat, the Brazilian looked in-form and ready for what Cocoa Beach had to offer on both his backhand and forehand.
"I was stoked to get that 8.93 because it reflects the amount of work I've been putting in every day," Amaro said. "A good looking wave came and I was able to really hit it hard on my backhand to open up. It kept forming up and I was able to keep hitting it multiple times. I just felt really strong on that wave which gave me confidence going forward."
Amaro took that confidence and earned a second heat victory in Round 2 to keep his momentum going strong. He is making the most out of his trip and leaving nothing in the water as he poses a serious threat to his fellow competitors.
"I'm very happy with my experience here in Florida so far and super excited to make my two heats today," Amaro said. "I've been training a lot and making sure I'm in bed early to be ready for this event and it's been a great competition already. Just very thankful to have won my heats and I'm going to try even harder tomorrow."
Unleashing the highest single-scoring wave of Day 1, Josh Burke (BRB) earned a 9.10 on his forehand by taking to the air in combination with a strong rail performance. Finding his spot in the lineup, the Bajan was able to get a number of waves from his fellow competitors.
"Everyone was sitting pretty deep and I caught one long right, and as I was paddling back I was just hunting for waves," Burke said. "I found a good peak and was all by myself throughout the heat where a lot of fun rights were coming through. That one came through and had a good section that I just went for and threw the air reverse - I almost fell coming down backwards but saved it and finished off the wave."
Burke has his eyes set on a big result here with the proper equipment to capitalize on the opportunity.
"It was tricky out there but it was definitely fun and I had a good board for it from my shaper Rich Price who's based out of Florida so he knows this style of wave pretty well," Burke said. "This year I want to do really well and that means getting a lot of points so I would love to win here. I've made the Semifinals here before but now I want to better that and make the Final then just take it out. I'm trying to stay focused on my surfing and do my best."
Daniel Glenn (USA) is putting all of his focus into the QS this year and started his campaign off with a bang, winning his opening Round 2 heat. Posting an excellent 8.77 to earn a 15.70 heat total, the New Smyrna Beach, Fla., native is ready to keep his momentum going into tomorrow's action. Having local knowledge seemed to be a big factor in his win, coming into Cocoa on many occasions to compete.
"I got a bit lucky and found an open face in the choppy windswell out there that let me tag it on the end section," Glenn said. "It just felt good, I love being in the water and competing so anytime I'm out there it's fun. It's only 45 minutes from my house so I just come down to Cocoa in the morning and it gets me fired up."
"I definitely work on boards a lot just being here in Florida and having to find something that works in the mushy conditions," Glenn added. "I would say that's an advantage knowing what boards work instead of some guys that come here with a bunch of different small wave equipment - you just have to be on it."
Making his Ron Jon Vans Pro debut in Round 2, Matt Passaquindici (USA) lit up the waves on hand for a 15.67 heat total. Posting an excellent score of 8.50 on his last scoring wave, Passaquindici increased his lead in the final minutes and secured a spot into Round 3.
"That last wave had a perfect line to it which just fed me two really good sections and I got to capitalize on them," Passaquindici said. "I'm super motivated to put up a good result here, I love competing in North America to get some points in our region with these kind of events so I really want to take advantage. My board is feeling really good, I'm feeling healthy and just stoked to have some really fun waves for Florida."
Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30am to assess conditions and make an 8:00am Call for the Ron Jon Vans Pro Men's QS1000 Round 3.