Hurricane swell delivered for opening day at Pismo Beach and competitors wasted no time dropping impeccable performances throughout Round 1 and 2. It marks the second annual Men's Qualifying Series (QS) Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 pres. by Dignity Health and the Pacific Ocean was ready and waiting with three-to-five foot, clean surf all day -- only to be jumbled from low tide conditions.
From sky-high airs, beautiful rail surfing and near-perfection, opening affairs had it all and put an exclamation point for what's to come this weekend.
Jordy Collins Goes Ballistic In Round 2 Debut
Reigning North America QS Regional Champ Jordy Collinsclaimed his title here last year and delivered the day's standout performance with a massive 18.56 heat total. Collins matching the day's highest single-score of an 8.83 before smashing it with a near-perfect 9.73 in the dying seconds. The Carlsbad, California, native hasn't had the year he would've liked after claiming his Regional Title and granted a top seed into the QS 10,000s this season, but he's keeping his head in the right place with ambitions still on the rise.
"That was a dream heat and I went out there with that in mind to just throw a big air at the start and if I landed it, just keep building," Collins said. "I've been surfing here since I was 12 with all the WSA and NSSA events, so getting that title here was really special and just felt like a full circle. It's been a learning year and I've learned to take those losses on the chin and move on, and also enjoy the heats like that last one. It's all about just being in the moment because the nature of this sport is so hard and you lose a lot, even a second feels like a loss. But, I'm stoked to be back here and looking forward to the weekend."
QS Warriors Put On A Show
2016 North America Regional QS Champ and Santa Barbara, California, native Kilian Garland kicked off Round 2 with continued fun conditions with an excellent 8.83 on his formidable forehand. Garland's run through this event last year nearly earned him back-to-back Regional Titles, but fell just short in the Semifinals to eventual winner Cory Arrambide. The 31-year-old gave a full run in 2017 following his regional success and has taken a more relaxed approach to this season.
"I figured I'd better surf my heat quick because Torrey (Meister) is really good and Kevin (Cortez) was dropping some high scores so I kind of felt a little under pressure," Garland said. "I'm so stoked there's an event close to home and it's so great that Dignity Health and Andy (McKay) stepped up. After last year I realized I was in a rhythm of traveling a lot and neglecting some other things or took for granted, and now I can take a step back and realize how lucky I was to do all that traveling and build on what I've learned."
One of Huntington Beach, California's, QS warriors Matt Passaquindici continues to claw back into competition surfing after undergoing hip surgery in March of this year. Passquindici opened up with an impressive start to his Pismo Beach Open campaign in Round 1 Heat 12, earning an excellent 8.33, and 15.83 heat total, with a powerful forehand attack and electric backhand to end the heat. The 23-year-old looks to find his way up the ranks once more now that he's contest ready.
"I had a bit of a weird start, but then found that double-up right to gain some speed and it just set me up for the whole wave which then set me up for the heat," Passaquindici said. "I was eyeing those from the beach and not many people were going right, so I thought those might be the sneaker scores. Now I'm finally at 100 percent, after doing some events just because I could, but now I feel like I'm back to where I need to be and I got some confidence from Costa Rica getting that solid heat total. It fires me up to have this event ."
Following Passaquindici's performance, QS veteran Michael Dunphy put on a clinic in the 20-minute heat and posted an excellent 16.66 heat total. Dunphy's impeccable forehand rail game earned him an excellent 8.83, the best of Round 1, as he looks to turn his year around before season's end. It was a last-minute decision to enter the event for Dunphy after spending time in Santa Cruz and made his debut count.
"It was fun out there with few waves out the back, and it's just good to be competing," Dunphy said. "I've had a rough year so any chance I get to compete, get some scores, and just get that competitive mojo going is really nice. I was up at Nat's (Young) and it's close so I figured why not, and I actually haven't been up here before so I'm stoked. I'll be the first one to tell you it's been a really bad year or two competing, but I feel like my surfing has gotten better and my results have gotten worse. I've learned to just relax and if I cannot be so tense in heats, and just surf the way I know I can, then I'll be alright."
Opening Day Spotlight
Kevin Schulz earned a critical Round 2 victory over Round 1 standout Jacob Szekely, also into Round 3, as he looks to continue his fight for the No. 1 spot against new regional rankings leader Lucca Mesinas.
Freesurf extraordinaire Andrew Doheny is back in the jersey, and the water, after a long hiatus that accrued from injury and straight into a debut Round 1 victory.
"It's pretty sick to be back since I've been out of the water for six months after breaking my ankle," Doheny said. "I haven't done a contest in a long time, and it just becomes fun going out there in a jersey to get some high scores. I just wanted to get two waves as fast as I can to avoid the priority confusion since I wasn't sure how that even works being gone awhile."
A 7:30 a.m. PDT call will determine an 8:00 a.m. PDT start for men's Round 2 Heat 9 before moving into opening heats of the women's event.