The World Surf League (WSL) Pacifico Belmar Pro Men's QS1000 and Fins Pro Junior crowned their respective champions amid the last remnants of Tropical Storm Henrit today. Winning here for the third time, Michael Dunphy (USA) earned the QS1000 title over Brian Toth (PRI) in decisive fashion - posting an 8.17 and 6.17. Despite the torrential rain that accompanied the final fifteen minutes, Dunphy held on to his lead until the final horn against an in-form Toth and was thrilled with a win after a summer's drought in results.
"It's so nice winning again," Dunphy said. "I'm always asked ‘is it better to get a 3rd or 5th in bigger stuff or win a smaller event like this' and when you win something it's such a great feeling no matter what it is. This may not be huge in terms of points but it goes a long way in terms of momentum and it's something special. It was fun out there with Toth and having priority, just out there taking turns on waves and he was surfing so well - it was great to beat him."
Dunphy has plenty planned for the future including Europe and the events in Brazil. To earn a win here has certainly given him confidence moving forward and he can feel it in the water.
"I try not to put too much stress on myself and just compete well," Dunphy said. "I feel like if you can have a good competitive mindset the surfing will follow and you have to just enjoy it. I leave next Saturday for Azores and I'm really excited to try and do well there - there's still a good amount of big-point events coming up and I want to make a run at them."
Finding himself in consecutive Finals, Brian Toth (PRI) came out of Outer Banks with plenty of confidence after a short stay at home in Puerto Rico. Charging through the event, dropping excellent scores in his Quarterfinal against Ben Bourgeois (USA) and taking down Kalani David (HAW) in the Semis, Toth looked to be on his way to a win - but it wasn't to be. The Puerto Rican has plenty to look forward to after a successful East Coast run and will not be someone to take lightly.
"I'm super stoked and really disappointed at the same time," Toth said laughing. "I'm thrilled to go back-to-back Finals, it doesn't get any better for me after having a total shocker in competitions over the last year and a half now. To finally get back on the podium again in a short time is such a confidence builder and I just want to keep this momentum going. Benny B. is such a hard draw and he always brings the best out of me - and Kalani was just ripping this whole contest going huge on the aerials, he just charges and it was not an easy way to make a Final."
"I'm going home to regroup and do the Corona Circuit coming up in October," Toth said. "Then that night following the event I'm just going to book it down to Brazil and just keep the ball rolling on the QS. I just want to finish strong this year after not having a great start and eventually make it over to Hawaii just to surf - maybe not compete but just enjoy myself there."
Before the Pacifico Belmar Pro Men's QS1000 Final took to the water, Parker Coffin (USA) battled for his Fins Pro Junior title against a stacked heat of Noah Schweizer (USA), Elijah Gates (HAW), and Josh Burke (BRB). Going blow for blow with Schweizer in the final minutes, Coffin earned the better of the exchanges and was elated with his first North America Junior Series win of the year.
"I'm so psyched to win this one," Coffin said. "I love this contest, I come every year and to win it in my last year of Juniors feels super good. This is my first final I've made in the Junior this year and to win so it's unbelievable - I'll be coming back for the QS. I feel like I didn't do anything special but I got the best waves and did my best not to over surf them which really worked out."
It was no easy road for Coffin though, still advancing through each round, and getting revenge on Schweizer for topping him in the Semifinal. Making his best run of the year in this event, the younger of the California Coffin brothers was thrilled to earn an impressive victory to cap off the East Coast leg.
"Noah's been smoking me this whole contest and I just tried to find myself on the best waves - it was the only way to beat him," Coffin said. "It's crazy coming up against him and staying with him at these contests He's so good in waves like this, and any wave really for that matter, but especially in these types of events. I had a second in Barbados and I've just been stuck not making Quarters so to make one and then go to the final was amazing."
Earning second, and ending his incredible run on the East Coast, Schweizer found himself on the wrong side of exchanges with Coffin. Despite the runner-up, Schweizer maintains the positive outlook on what's next and will take this experience with him to the next Junior Series event in Newport, CA.
"I had a fun run here but definitely bummed not to win," Schweizer said. "Two seconds in back-to-back events, could've been two firsts so it's disappointing. I got some good waves, but I needed a better second one which was a huge difference - it was slow out there and you had to find the one that went all the way through to the inside. It's definitely a confidence builder and I just want to do the same I've done on this East Coast leg. Hopefully I can do well in Brazil which has been a big focus for me this year."