After what can only be described as a phenomenal event, the Men's Qualifying Series (QS) Vans Surf Open Acapulco QS1000 crowned Rafael Teixeira (BRA) its 2016 champion in stellar conditions. Playa Revolcadero offered beautiful, four-to-five foot and offshore conditions to end the compelling contest in which more big numbers and breakthrough performances were seen.
The final day of competition began with the talent-filled Quarterfinal draws and it was Teixeira who came away with a win and 1,000 points toward his qualification campaign.
"It feels so amazing to win this event after winning my first QS contest last year," Teixeira said. "I've trained so hard since that last win and can't believe I've gotten another. I hope to continue winning as many events as I can and move up the ranks."
Teixeira put on a flawless performance at the Vans Surf Open Acapulco, not losing a single heat en route to his victory. Taking down some heavy-hitters of the event along the way, including Jhony Corzo (MEX) in the Quarters, and an in-form Dylan Southworth (MEX) in the Semifinals, the Brazilian saved his best performance for last.
Teixeira had Diego Mignot (FRA) in a combination situation, meaning Mignot needed two new scores to move into first, when the final horn sounded after posting an 8.83 (out of a possible 10) in the final minute.
"Going through that final with Diego I felt good with my 7.33 and 6.57 compared to his 5s but when I was under priority toward the end I saw that right coming and had to go," Teixeira added. "It was such a good, long ride and I was able to really open up on three turns -- I knew it was going to be enough and was so stoked. It was such a great day for me and hearing that horn sound to a win was amazing."
Mignot put up an incredible run at the event and finished with an impressive runner-up performance. The Sayulita, Mexico, native battled through two tough heats against Kevin Schulz (USA) in the Quarterfinals and last year's runner-up Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) in the Semifinals. It was a nail-biter Semifinal bout with the Costa Rican that set up Mignot for a big finish, but he couldn't find the scores to top Teixeira's brilliant surfing in the Final.
"I'm really happy to make the Final, but pretty bummed on my performance in that heat letting him get the better waves," Mignot said. "I had priority on those waves so I'll learn from those mistakes and hopefully not make the same ones moving forward.
"Overall, I'm really pleased with my performance here, second-place is a good result and the waves were amazing this whole event. Acapulco treated us so well and I'm glad I came down for this one."
Noe Mar McGonagle (CRI) returned to Acapulco with ambitions of bettering his runner-up result from 2014. He was looking poised to do so until the Semifinals. After earning a buzzer-beater to advance from the Quarterfinals, McGonagle fell short against Mignot. The two traded good exchanges, though each score was just under the requirement he needed to advance through to the Final.
"The level of surfing here was great, everyone comes to the QS1,000's looking for points and to get a confidence-builder," McGonagle said. "It came down to the last wave and I thought I had it, but that's the way it goes and now it's time to get ready for the US Open. When that big one came through I paddled so hard to get to it and I looked for the barrel but started falling a bit behind and that just set my timing all wrong. It's a tough pill to swallow but I'm looking forward to the next one."
Dylan Southworth (MEX) looked to be on his way to a big win in Acapulco, posting the event's highest heat total of 16.44 (out of a possible 20) and single-wave score, 9.67, in the Quarterfinals -- but it wasn't to be. After that incredible Quarters performance in which he had Brogie Panesi (USA) comboed, the Mexican wildcard lost his Semifinal battle by only .80 after posting a 7.17 needing a 7.97.
"I feel good with my result here, especially after that Quarterfinal and getting some big scores there," Southworth said. "It's been super fun here, the waves have been amazing, and I just want to keep this momentum going into some more events this year.
"I gave it my all until the very end, trying to get the score on that last wave. You just can't give up until the horn sounds. I'll stay positive and continue to give this year everything I have and try to do well."