The Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 6-Star Los Cabos Open of Surf kicked off in clean two-to-four foot (1 metre) waves at Zippers. The international field of up-and-comers was electric on the opening day of competition as they attempted to surf their way up the Qualification Series (QS) rankings. Each athlete is battling for enough cumulative QS points to land them a spot among the elite, on the World Championship Tour (WCT).
The Los Cabos Open of Surf is the largest surfing event in Mexico. Now in its second year, the competition hosts both Men's and Women's 6-Star action.
Evan Geiselman (USA), 20, was dominant on Day 1, blasting the rights with explosive backhand combinations. The Floridian, who currently sits at No. 30 on the QS, was rewarded with the day's highest scores. He netted an excellent 8.10 and 9.00, carving his way to a heat victory.
"I was fortunate to get that eight in the beginning and it relieved a lot of tension," Geiselman said. "I was in rhythm and that 9.00 was just a good wave. I always put pressure on myself, but I want to just relax and surf well in this event, that's when I do my best."
Billy Stairmand (NZL), 24, current No. 4 on the QS, also had a solid initial showing at Zippers. He connected set waves with a polished forehand attack to solidify a Round 1 heat win.
"The new four-man priority is so good," said Stairmand. "There's less hassling and it's usually the best man who makes it through. You have to be patient and everyone gets their waves."
Following a strong start to his 2014 campaign, the New Zealander is looking to maintain consistency in Los Cabos to set up a strike at qualifying for the 2015 WCT.
"This event and South Africa (the QS Prime event, Mr. Price Pro Ballito) are really important to my year," Stairmaind said. "A lot of people have a good start to the year and then crumble, so I'm trying to stay focused, get a result and have fun the whole time."
Brent Dorrington (AUS), 27, led the Australian charge, connecting seamless combinations on his forehand for an excellent 8.77 out of 10 single-wave score. His nearly flawless performance secured a Round 1 win.
"It's hard to stay focused here in Cabo because there's so much going on," Dorrington said. â€œI've been surfing all day long and it's good to get out there and have a heat."
Kai Barger (HAW), 24, former ASP World Junior Champion, got the best of a high-scoring heat on a last-minute exchange with a strong 15.20 total. Barger's win came at the expense of Shun Murakami (JPN), 16, fellow Hawaiian Torrey Meister, 26, and Saxon Lumsden (AUS), 24.
"I was worried about the new priority system and that kept me occupied," Barger said. "I like the change. There's no hassling and it took a little getting used to. I come to every event to win, but I need points to get back into the Prime events and I'd love to do well here in Cabo."
The Los Cabos Open of Surf has a waiting period from June 16-22, 2014, and is webcast LIVE via aspworldtour.com.