Evan Geiselman took another big jump up the QS ladder with a crucial win at the Vans Pro Men's QS3,000 in Virginia Beach on Sunday. It was his second QS win this year; his first came in Japan at the Ichinomiya Chiba Open QS6,000. The Floridian is now hoping to carry this momentum into Europe.
Geiselmen beat out Pat Gudauskas and Michael Dunphy, two former event champions, to take the win. The other member of the powerhouse final was Samuel Pupo (younger brother to CT star Miguel Pupo).
"Just to be on the East Coast, and have this event as the only one with some prestige over here, it feels great to win. A lot of great surfers have won this thing and I was just in a heat with two of them so I'm just so stoked."
For Dunphy, another finals appearance on home turf was welcome news. "Making a final here feels great," he said. "These events are stacked and it makes for no easy heats. I would've loved to get a win here...but this is still good for my confidence and I'll just build from here."
Pat Gudauskas and Samuel Pupo rounded off an incredible Final with brilliant performances throughout this event. Gudauskas now sits at No. 11 on the rankings just outside the bubble before heading to a critical string of events. Announcing early this year his intent to re-qualify and find himself back on the dream tour, the San Clemente, California native has a crucial leg in front of him.
"I'm psyched with this result having some memorable heats on the way to the Final with hills to get over so couldn't be happier. That Final was so insane with Sammy ripping this whole event and just hats off to Evan for ripping it apart. This is a big kick-start toward the Europe leg and really like to see more Americans getting on tour so this is where it starts for us."
At 15-years of age, Samuel Pupo has proven himself a major future threat by making his first Men's QS3,000 Final. He also ripped his way into the Final of the Pro Junior event. There's little doubt Pupo's ambitions match his potential.
"This is my first year competing on the QS and I still have a lot to learn. But, with my dad coaching me, shaping my boards, and keeping me grounded I feel really comfortable in heats with these guys. In my head I just have to remind myself that I can do this and surf with them -- it's my dream to get on tour in the next few years with all my brother's help in the last year so I'm really excited to get started."