The World Surf League (WSL) made its way back into competition at the Los Cabos Open of Surf Junior Men's completing Round 2 in entirety. Conditions remained in the two, to occasional three foot range with sets coming into the Zippers lineup that competitors were able to take full advantage of and display powerful surfing. The Top Seeds were dominate throughout the morning of competition, save for a few upsets late in the round, and advanced into Round 3.
Cole Houshmand (USA) continued his winning form from yesterday's Round 1 and posted an excellent 8.50 (out of a possible 10), earning the highest single-wave score of the event so far. Backing it up a 7.00 to earn the highest heat total of the event as well with a 15.50, Houshmand looked untouchable in his heat with a proper strategy in place and unleashing critical turns on his backhand.
"I was so stoked when I saw that wave coming through and just thought thank god I have priority," Houshmand said. "Going backhand is harder to generate speed but you can get in the pocket more, so I was just being patient and trying to draw out as much as I could from bottom to top turn. It was a great wave that I was able to keep pace up well and continue my speed throughout it. That just builds up my confidence going into further rounds."
Finding two gems of his own, Luke Gordon (USA) was able to post an impressive 15.24 two-wave total in the heat prior to Houshmand. The righthand pointbreak of Zippers is a new wave for Gordon, though surfing on his forehand is something he favors and was able to show his potential throughout the heat.
"It felt really good to put those scores up because I wasn't sure if my surfing was looking good from a judge's perspective," Gordon said. "I was always like going to new places and surfing different waves and Zippers suits my style since I love going right. It reminds me a lot of Uppers which is another spot that I enjoy so I'm taking that experience into here and stoked to make it through. Hopefully the forecast comes through and we get some really fun waves in the next few days."
Coming into this event as the No.2 Seed, Nolan Rapoza (USA) has been on the Qualifying Series (QS) grind and bringing that experience into the Los Cabos Open of Surf Men's Junior. This is Rapoza's last year on the Junior Tour before it is time to become a full-time QS competitor and making each event count.
"I just wanted to go out and not make any mistakes and be on the best waves," Rapoza said. "I've been doing all these QS events and watching these smart surfers advance round after round so I'm learning to be smarter in heats and just get it done. You have to be one the best waves and make sure you finish them instead of trying to overdo it because there's not a lot out there."
"I'm not as stressed being here after competing in the QS," Rapoza added. "Here I'm with friends and not all the insane pro surfers so I'm much more comfortable in the Juniors since it's my first year on the QS and I'm still learning to find my comfort zone there. This place is amazing and easy to be comfortable in with good company and location."
Competing toward the end of Round 2 in Heat 7, Eithan Osborne (USA) returned to the water after winning his Round 1 heat yesterday. Osborne is showing his intelligence in the water and picked off a 7.83 to solidify his place into Round 3. Osborne hasn't competed here in Cabos but is looking like a threat to the Top Seeds in his debut.
"I'm trying to get a wave right off the bat because it could go completely flat at any moment out there and you don't want to be left wanting a small score," Osborne said. "I wanted to get one quick wave then wait for a better set to come through and be holding priority. You do want to force a couple turns if you have to in order to get the score because the waves don't offer too much but when they you want to take advantage. I'm looking forward to the waves picking up and stoked to make it through for that opportunity."