It was an impressive start at Playa Revolcadero on opening day of the Men's Qualifying Series (QS) Vans Surf Acapulco Men's QS1000. Beautiful, four-to-five waves were graced with offshore conditions throughout the day as Round One and Round Two were completed. Breakout performances and local talents put on a showcase of impressive surfing -- posting a handful of excellent scores and last-second drama.
Adam Lambert (USA) has been away from the competitive scene for nearly a year after sustaining an injury, but is back in brilliant form. The Santa Barbara, Calif., native led the field over to the north bank sandbar after doing his research leading up to the event and found some gems to obtain the day's highest heat total, a 15.43 (out of a possible 20).
"I was watching it early and everyone was surfing away from it but I kept seeing these rights in that zone, so I just thought I'd get away from everybody and get those waves to myself," Lambert said. "It's pretty funny because our hotel room just lines up with it so I've been using that as a position marker out in the water. It really paid off, I couldn't believe how consistent it was in that heat."
"Parker and Conner Coffin are fellow Santa Barbara boys and my good friends who have been a source of pushing me to get back into a jersey so it felt good to get some scores in my first heat," Lambert added. "I really didn't have any expectations coming here. I make trips to Mexico a bunch for freesurf trips and heard really good things about it here -- it's been nothing short of amazing."
Fellow American Jacob Szekely (USA) went for it all on a full rotation that earned him the day's highest single-scoring wave of an 8.50 (out of a possible 10). Representing La Jolla, Calif., in terrific fashion, Szekely turned heads with the maneuver on his opening wave and was in rhythm with the ocean throughout his heat.
"This wedge right came straight to me and another guy but he was too deep so I just took two big pumps and went for it -- somehow landed it and I was so stoked," Szekely said. "I went for the grab but didn't quite get a hold of it before the wind just spun me super-fast. It was great, waves kept coming to me and I think being the deepest on that left sandbar helped me be in the right spot for those rights. Staying over there also helped pick up those set lefts which gave me a shot at producing some solid backup scores."
Growing up on the shores of Acapulco, Vicente Trujillo (MEX) is ecstatic with the opportunity of competing on his homebreak. The 20-year-old posted the first excellent score of the day with an 8.00, buzzer-beater to win his Round One heat and earn a place into Round Two -- where he went on to win the heat.
"I was feeling the pressure and wanted to surf it safely but I needed to push it harder for that last score," Trujillo said. "I really didn't want to fall and knew I didn't want to get underscored so I just went for it. To get the score was such a relief and get into Round Two where I was able to put together a much better heat. I'm super excited to be moving through to Round 3 and just really want to keep this momentum going forward into tomorrow."
Sasha Donnanno (MEX) returned to the Vans Surf Open Acapulco with his form intact and earned two heat wins on opening day as well, posting an 8.40 on a wave he rode all the way to the shoreline. Making it to Round Three in 2014, Donnanno will look to find the magic numbers that take him further into the competition this time around.
"In the morning it was a little difficult since the waves were slow coming in but I got fortunate with two lefts that connected to the inside -- the waves were way more consistent in the second heat," Donnanno said. "That 8.40 was a good left that I was able to get two hits on and then connect to the inside for the reform where it became a right to finish it off. I want to keep getting good waves and not hesitate too much to go after waves, as well as just keep up solid performances."
Rounding off an incredible day of surfing, injury plagued Jake Kelley (USA) is back in the swing of things and off to a great start. Kelley tore nearly every ligament in his ankle and has only surfed in the Martinique Pro QS3000 this year. But, he is off to a much better start in Acapulco with a 15.43 heat total -- posting an 8.33 in the process to his win.
"It was my first wave of the heat actually and got pretty lucky to be right there for a perfect little left," Kelley said. "I was the first one out the back and paddled right into it, was able to do a couple good turns and super excited to get that right away. I was talking with Adam about that north bank and he said he was going to go over there so I watched his heat and he got two 7s right off the bat.
"I figured I might as well go over there too and everyone else in the heat went with me," Kelley added. "It's awesome to be back here. The hotel we stay at is great and there's always fun waves, it's pretty much glassy all day. Couldn't really ask for a better set up."
Tune in live here for tomorrow morning's 7:30am CDT Call that will determine a 8:00am CDT Start as top seeds make their debut. For more information on the event, go to worldsurfleague.com or download the WSL App.