The Men's Qualifying Series (QS) is gearing up for its fifth annual WRV Outer Banks Pro pres by Pacifico QS 1,000 August 29 - September 2 and are joined by the Women's QS 1,000 for the first time since 2002. This event's history is rich in witnessing some of the top up-and-coming QS threats come through as they look to build their career's foundation on the shores of Nags Head, North Carolina.
Jennette's Pier has played host to these competitors and Event Producer LG Shaw continues to provide one of the schedule's most fun atmospheres -- as well as 1,000 points toward the international and North America rankings. This marks Stop No. 9 of regional schedule and those vying for the North America Regional QS Title are looking to capitalize amid the good times on hand.
For those looking to tune in live during the event window, or visit the beautiful coastline of Outer Banks, here's a few things you need to know:
1. What to Expect
Jennette's Pier has seen it all and lived to the tales over the past five years of WSL's visits. The Atlantic Ocean's lively nature this time of year can provide anything from choppy windswell, raging barrel perfection, and victory-at-sea hurricane conditions. 2016's event finished as the skies opened up to flooding rains before taking a direct hit from, what started as a cyclone, Tropical Storm Hermine and followed next year with a day of Outer Banks perfection competitors still reminisce on.
"That day was one of the best I've ever seen for a contest and the fact it was this event made that much better," said Floridian Chauncey Robinson. "Those are days we pray for, that's what we come to Outer Banks for, and I was stoked to be a part of it."
Spectators can also expect to see some of the QS's next best talents in both the men and women's events. With 1,000 points up for grabs, the likes of Pro Junior stars Alyssa Spencer to QS veterans, former Championship Tour (CT) competitor, Nathan Yeomans.
It's also one of the QS's more relaxed atmospheres following a hectic week in Virginia Beach and provides fun for all involved with great local restaurants, mom and pop shops, and friendly smiles all around.
2. Event History
Contesting in brief stints between 2002 and 2009, the event returned to WSL's Men's QS schedule in 2014 and hasn't left since. The past five years have provided up-and-coming surfers the chance of gaining more experience and, subsequently, moving room around the ranks. One of the last times the women graced Outer Banks' shores in a WSL jersey was 2002 when it was a then 3-Star (QS 3,000) and now have a shot at 1,000 points toward their regional rankings once more.
The men celebrate five consecutive years contesting at Jennette's Pier in front of thousands via the live webcast provided by Shaw's team every year to showcase this event's historic moments -- including Kilian Garland and Gabriel Farias' first-ever QS wins.
3. Opportunity at Hand
Competitors in attendance will be vying for a shot at adding their name to the extensive list of event champions and garnering 1,000 valuable points at this point in the season. A slight move up the rankings can change a surfer's seeding drastically and provide them even more opportunity moving forward.
It's also a vital stepping stone for surfer's looking to gain ground in their early QS careers or, for Yeomans, a shot reigniting the flame to claim a second North America Regional QS Title -- and earn a seed into the highest-rated QS events next season. This also marks the third newest event on the Women's QS regional season in 2018 -- with Pismo Beach and Costa Rica also now confirmed -- and a chance for local surfers such as Leah Thompson to make their QS debut.
"It's so exciting to have this event," Thompson said. "Although I'm from Wrightsville Beach, my family has a house in Avon and I've grown up all along the Outer Banks. I've experienced first hand all the hurricanes generating insane waves and I think it's so special to have an event at home, hopefully there will be waves!"
4. The Contenders
A handful of the next generation for women's professional surfing will be in attendance from Spencer and Thompson, as well as some of the East Coast's rising talents like Kayla Durden and Molly Kirk. There will also be some West Coast challengers to try and claim the title for their own including Kayla Coscino and Brooke Daigneault, alongside one of Hawaii's top Pro Junior talents Savanna Stone.
The men's side features a brilliant mix of QS veterans, international talents -- including defending event champion Gabriel Farias --, and upcoming QS threats. The East Coast will be well represented with the likes of former event champ Michael Dunphy, current QS No. 34 Cam Richards, and Barbadian threat Josh Burke. But, they will have to contest against some of California's finest such as Yeomans, Kevin Schulz, and one of the QS's top upstarts Kei Kobayashi -- who finds himself at No. 74 on the rankings.
Tune in LIVE beginning on opening day and watch all the WRV Outer Banks Pro pres. by Pacifico action August 29 - September 2 at Jennette's Pier, Nags Head, North Carolina.