The remaining top seeded surfers in Round Two continued a trend of dominance at the Pismo Beach Open presented by Dignity Health
Groomed, two-to-three foot waves still offered plenty of scoring potential in the morning hours until a dropping tide deteriorated conditions enough to be called off for the day. Round Four will begin a decisive finals day that will crown the inaugural winner and North America QS Regional Champion.
Current North America No. 3 Jordy Collins came out in impressive form with the event's highest single-wave score, a near-perfect 9.50 (out of a possible 10), and heat total of 17.00 (out of a possible 20) in his Round Two debut. Collins went back and forth with former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Nathaniel Curran, who also earned a 9.10 of his own in the four-man heat. The 19-year-old went on to win in Round Three heat and continued his run toward a big finish.
"The waves were a lot better this morning and it was really similar to a beachbreak at home so I felt really comfortable," Collins said. "I really wasn't putting too much pressure on myself. I came up a bit late to check in for heats and just get out there. Hopefully I can just keep this going and stay focused on each heat to try and make [earning the Regional Title] happen."
Reigning North America Regional QS Champion Kilian Garland is en route to defending that title if he continues with performances such as today. The Santa Barbara, California, native earned two vital heat wins to keep his campaign alive and must keep pace with Collins if he's to retain his title. But, Garland's mindset is focused on the task at hand as he prepares for an important Round Four bout.
"It's such a treat to be competing here at Pismo with all my family and friends around me so I'm really excited to keep going," Garland said. "It's a different kind of competing staying at mom's house and being around the place I grew up -- it's really comfortable. I thought I was a little closer to defending my title, but I realized I'm a bit further back and at the end of the day I just really want to win a local event."
Taro Watanabe 2017 season has put him on the radar of his fellow competitors as a certified threat and showcased that today with a massive Round Three win. Watanabe, along with another dominant performance from Kade Matson, eliminated regional champion hopeful John Mel along the way to setting himself for a big 2018.
"It was so fun out there and luckily got the best wave of that heat, and I just had to surf it to its potential," Watanabe said. "I'm just trying to get as high as a seeding I can for some bigger events next year, but I'm having fun here which helps relieve a lot of pressure. I didn't expect myself to do this well in the QS this year and have just been focused on each heat as it happens. It's great to travel with my family and focus on the competition so I'm really enjoying it all."
Costa Rican talent Anthony Fillingim is in attendance for one last shot at a big result in 2017 before closing out the year. Fillingim has been limited in his contest travels, making most of his appearances at events in the South America region, but earned an equal 3rd at the Rip Curl Pro Argentina. Now he looks to finish strong and started with an impressive 16.00 heat total in Round Three today.
"I had a great time out there and I just had to wait for priority which worked out great because that right came through for me to go for a big air," Fillingim said. "I was so happy to land that and then to get another opportunity felt great. My surf school back in Santa Teresa really is what gets me to events. It feels good to make a couple heats after a lot of losses [this year], but I'm going to plan for a good winter at home working at my surf camp then be ready to go next year."
Tomorrow's 7:00 a.m. call will determine a 7:30 a.m. start for Round Four. Tune in live to see who earns the inaugural Pismo Beach Open QS1,000 presented by Dignity Health victory.
The Pismo Beach Open QS1,000 presented by Dignity Health will run November 17 through 19.