The 2018 Quiksilver Young Guns WSL Surf Ranch Showdown started in June as an Instagram contest. Esteemed pro surfers Leonardo Fioravanti and Kanoa Igarashi combed all the entries and hand-picked 4 contestants: Jett Schilling, 15, from San Clemente, USA, Samuel Pupo, 17, from Maresias, Brazil, Justin Becret, 16, from Seignosse, France and Marco Mignot, 17, also from France. The Showdown used a new format that broke the wave into three different sections. In a rotating order, the competitors would position themselves at different points along the pool. Each surfer would catch the wave, get a few maneuvers in and then kick out to allow the next surfer to go. The new format allowed for a lot of opportunities and encouraged a go-for-broke mentality.
In the end, after landing the biggest air, Fioravanti and Igarashi picked Samuel Pupo as the Showdown champ.
The World Surf League: Describe your day at the Surf Ranch. Was there any unexpected moments?
Samuel Pupo: The day at the Surf Ranch was amazing. It was definitely one of the most fun days I've ever had surfing.
What was it like winning the Quiksilver Young Guns event?
I was so happy when I won. Throughout the whole contest I was very focused but I was having fun at the same time. After the win we had to drive all the way to Huntington Beach. The next day we made a barbecue with my friends and my brother for the celebration. Couldn't celebrate too much though because I had to compete the next day.
Did you like the format of the event?
The format was perfect. At first I thought it wouldn't work, but the format made us push really hard and give our best to get the win .
If you could take 3 people to the Surf Ranch, who would it be?
I would take my sister (Dominik), because it would be the best day of her life. I would take my brother because he looks like one of the bests at the pool and my friend Alemão because he would probably fall on every wave so I could get the end section.
How can the Surf Ranch improve the sport of surfing?
The Surf Ranch is improving the sport of surfing so much, i feel like it's the closest we can get to the other big sports ... the waves are always the same and whoever surfs the wave at its best will win. But I still like the sport the way it is. There's nothing better than the ocean.
Who is your prediction to win the Surf Ranch Pro?
My brother will win the Surf Ranch Pro.