NewsLos Cabos Open of SurfCole Houshmand

Who Will Step Up as the New Prince of Zippers?

Pristine Zippers for the Los Cabos Open of Surf. The pristine, cobblestone break of Zippers returns for the Los Cabos Open of Surf Pro Junior June 11 - 13. WSL / Andrew Nichols

The process of professional surfing is a clear-cut path that begins with the Pro Junior level to prepare them for a Qualifying Series (QS) position. This then sets a surfer up to start chasing their dream of making it to the renowned Championship Tour (CT).

The Los Cabos Open of Surf is a stepping stone in this progression for the men's Pro Junior as two of the three previous winners have already gone on to qualify for the CT (Kanoa Igarashi and Griffin Colapinto). But, each have had one thing in common -- they've won this event in their last year as a Pro Junior. Che Allan continued that last-year tradition with his second Pro Junior win -- though he continues to find his footing amid the QS grind.

So the question is, who will continue that tradition -- or break it. Here's a few looking to do just that:

Eithan Osborne

Eithan Osborne (USA) during Round Six of Pro Santa Cruz 2018 presented by Oakley Eithan Osborne's sights are on the World Junior Championship. WSL / Damien Poullenot

Current North America Junior Rank: 1
Best Los Cabos Finish: 4th

Osborne's blend of power and innovation has always made him a threat at the righthand cobblestone break, but he has yet to fully capitalize on it for a victory. The injury-plagued, Ventura, California, native put in a full Pro Junior campaign for the first time last season following his absence at the Ron Jon Vans Junior Pro. Though, aside from Los Cabos, the 18-year-old couldn't muster better than an equal ninth. However, a first-ever WSL win to start 2018 has him in stride to making his goal of the World Junior Championship a real possibility.

Tyler Gunter

Current North America Junior Rank: 2
Best Los Cabos Finish: 3rd

Tyler Gunter - Maui and Sons Arica Pro Tour From barreling lefts, to high-performance rights, Gunter packs a punch. WSL / Nicolas Diaz

The 18-year-old is on a Pro Junior hot streak, accumulating five consecutive Final appearances since this event last season -- which is the best track record among his fellow junior competitors. Gunter, like Osborne, enters his last year as a junior before taking on the QS full-time. But, the Newport Beach, California, surfer is already accustom to the circuit after chasing points in Europe, China, and Australia, to name a few. Before he gets there, however, Gunter's eyes are set on taking a North America Regional Junior Champ title and notching a spot back to Worlds.

Cole Houshmand

2017 North America Rank: 5
Best Los Cabos Finish: 3rd

Cole Houshmand (USA) at the Los Cabos Open of Surf. Houshmand's prepped for his 2018 North America Pro Junior debut. WSL / Marenelmar

Houshmand forewent the first event of 2018, the Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro, to get some QS events in Australia under his belt and now counts every result moving forward. But, the San Clemente, California, competitor won the last regional Pro Junior event he competed in, the Live Like Zander Junior Pro, and also earned a spot into the World Junior Championship event to begin 2018. Though the pressure is on to make each event Finals from here-on-out, Houshmand's backhand has garnered him a Finals appearance here in the past and is always one to watch.

Taro Watanabe

Current North America Junior Rank: 3
Best Los Cabos Finish: Equal 13th

Taro Watanabe (USA) earning runner-up in his Round Two heat at the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,000. Watanabe's forehand explosiveness can never be counted out. WSL / John Ferguson

Watanabe emerged on the WSL scene just two years ago, and did so mildly with his humble approach intact. But, after putting a full season together in 2017, the 15-year-old showed vast improvement and surfing beyond his years -- earning a Semifinal appearance at the Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 to cap it off. Watanabe's style alone is something worth taking note of and is being molded by former Tour competitor Brad Gerlach. A fourth-place finish to start 2018 also puts Watanabe on track to make a push for World Junior Championship qualification if he can maintain big results.

The Los Cabos Open of Surf Pro Junior will run June 11-13 at Zippers in San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico.

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