The World Surf League (WSL) Men's Qualification Series (QS) WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Hurley and Pacifico returned to the water for Round 2 action today. In 1-to-3 foot, choppy wind swell there was plenty of scoring potential as the top seeds made their debut among the international field of talent and completed the round in its entirety.
Noah Schweizer (USA) came out flying in his first heat of the event, posting the highest heat total of the contest with a 16.84. The New Smyrna Beach, FL native found his form right away and dropped the round's highest single-wave score, 8.67, on his fourth wave -- only to back it up right away with an 8.17. Staying very active, Schweizer was excited to continue his momentum from last week in Virginia Beach to Jennette's Pier here in Nags Head, NC.
"It's actually pretty fun but it's hard to pick the right one," Schweizer said. "Once you got the right bowl you could really lay into it and there's a couple good ones coming through. It was a big confidence booster last week so I'm stoked coming into this event and glad to pick up where I left off from there -- just want to keep the ball rolling. I'm riding the same board so it's been great to keep that rhythm on the same equipment."
Schweizer has been doing his homework here at the Outer Banks, arriving Sunday night to begin his preparation for this contest in the fun swell that showed up Monday and Tuesday prior to his first heat this morning.
"I left right after my final to get down here and get some training in around the pier," Schweizer said. "We've been surfing a lot and it's really helped to get ready for this event. It's choppy and random like last week, but definitely bigger and has more push behind it to really get some good maneuvers in."
Leading the early morning charge, Brian Toth (PRI) set the trend for what Round 2's potential could be. Posting a solid 7.83 in the first heat of the day, the Puerto Rican looked in great form as he ripped through to a heat win.
"The first heat of the day is always a jittery one," Toth said. "You don't really know what the judges are looking for and you're pretty much setting the bar. It was great to finally get out there and once I got that good score under my belt it makes you feel more confident. You just can't wait to catch more waves and really get more aggressive, and you're more attentive of what's going on."
Sizing up the conditions on offer, Toth's game plan was always in the forefront of his mind, with intentions to open up on the better waves of the heat.
"I was stoked with the waves giving me a chance to go after it," Toth said. "I stuck with my strategy of staying busy and in the position I was at the whole time. The past couple of days I've been staying in that area just around the pier buoy and it really helped out."
Continuing his winning form from yesterday, Halley Batista (BRA) posted another solid heat total of a 14.67 to take the win over Ian Crane (USA). The Brazilian kept to his strategy and took the lead with his first two waves, never losing the top spot during the 25-minute heat.
"Today's conditions were a little bit better, just more wind but the waves are still really fun," Batista said. "I tried to do my best in the heat by starting quickly and getting two waves in the first five minutes. With that fast start I was able to control the heat and got lucky with those waves in the beginning for some good scores."
Batista is in a great place in his life, having the support of family and faith to go with his in-form surfing. He is enjoying the season so far and thrilled on his first appearance at Jennette's Pier -- which reminds him of his home country.
"Outer Banks is awesome," Batista said. "It's my first time here and I love this wave. We have a lot of beach breaks similar to this back home but these have good power behind them and you can fit in a lot of maneuvers -- airs, big turns, just everything. I feel a lot of momentum behind me going forward and I'm stoked to be here."
One of the top seeds, Dylan Goodale (HAW), came to Jennette's Pier with good focus and preparation for this week's event. Able to get his feet wet early on, the Hawaiian took full advantage of the fun conditions and earned a heat win in his Round 2 debut. Staying where the waves were, Goodale was able to post a solid 14.00 heat total and moves on to Round 3 with some momentum.
"I had a shocker in Virginia Beach since I got there Monday night and they ran Tuesday," Goodale said. "It was nice to get here early and really get back in rhythm. The waves are pretty fun now and it felt great to get some good ones -- I feel like I didn't really surf that well but just got some solid waves and didn't over-surf them.
"I'm actually riding a board meant for some bigger conditions so it does have some bogs in it through the flatter sections but when I got the bowl sections it was magic," Goodale added. "I just sat south of the buoy and those rights kept coming to me so I was able to pick them apart."
A 7:30 a.m. call will determine a possible 8:00 a.m. start for Round 3 of the WRV Outer Banks Pro Men's QS1000 presented by Hurley and Pacifico. Tune in live at www.wrvobxpro.com for some more high-performance surfing.