The Men's Prime-rated Qualification Series (QS) contest returned to the water Thursday with the non-elimination Round 3, with 24 surfers competing in three-man heats. Winners were vaulted directly to the Round of 16, while second and third place sent competitors to a sudden-death, Round 4 showdown.
Mitch Crews (AUS), 24, put together a full repertoire of carves, snaps, and airs on the rights off of Huntington Beach Pier, propelling the Australian up-and-comer to the Round of 16 over fellow Dream Tour surfer Josh Kerr (AUS), 30, and past ASP World Junior Champion Maxime Huscenot (FRA), 22.
â€œThis event is important to me because I've had a couple of shockers this year,â€ said Crews. â€œI've been getting pretty overwhelmed and nervous by the Tour but I'm trying to work it out, relax and surf my best. For me this event is about getting my confidence back. I've been having a great time over here in California and that helps me relax and feel happy.â€
Jadson Andre (BRA), 24, current No. 28 on the WCT, dominated his Round 3 heat. The small-wave expert looked lively in the beachbreak conditions, unloading electric combinations on both his forehand and backhand for the round's highest heat total of 17.97 out of 20.
â€œI knew I was going to have a real tough heat against those guys,â€ said Andre. â€œI'm feeling really good and I'm stoked to skip the next round. It means a lot to have some great fans. I appreciate all the love from them and everyone here. It's by far one of my favorite contests.â€
Keanu Asing (HAW), 21, current No. 6 on the ASP QS, contributed to the next generation's success, earning an excellent 9.00 and backup score of 7.73 en route to his own direct advance.
â€œI saw the wave coming and knew it would be a good one,â€ Asing said of his nine-point ride. â€œI almost missed it but I saw the wall line up and knew I had to execute it well. I was just hoping to get a score on the board to get me a heat win. I wasn't thinking about a nine.â€