Following the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Ron Jon Van Pro Men's QS1000, the Pro Junior competition steamed through their Quarterfinal draws in smaller, though cleaner, east groundswell. Finding the proper set waves on offer in Shepard Park, Cocoa Beach, Fla., the talented young surfers continued to show why they are the best in the North America region.
Stevie Pittman (USA) unleashed great surfing and posted the Round's highest heat total of 13.83. The 16-year-old North Carolina native is attacking the competitive grind on all fronts this year, keeping his eye on the QS and Junior Tour events. He earned a Semifinal appearance here in the latter.
"It feels good to make some heats and there's been some fun waves on tap which is always good for Cocoa Beach," Pittman said. "I can't wait to get in the water tomorrow for the Semifinals and hopefully we still have good waves around to score on. I don't really have a strategy out there with the conditions we're riding other than just trying to get on the best waves I can and make the most of them."
Continuing his excellent form after yesterday's showcase, Chauncey Robinson (USA) earned the Quarterfinals' highest single-wave score of 8.10. Looking for a big result here in Cocoa Beach, Robinson is making serious headway personally - clinching his first Semifinal appearance at this event.
"It was few and far between but when the sets come you just had to be in the right spot," Robinson said. "That 8.10 was a little sketchy not knowing if I was going to get one but as soon as I dropped in I knew it was going to be a good one. I was stoked to just go to town on it and do what I knew how to do on it. It just comes down to being in the right spot at the right time and knowing how to surf this type of wave."
Robinson is not the only one bettering himself at this event as Micky Clarke (USA) also clinched his first Semifinal appearance today after a solid performance. Clarke has been competing at this event since it was held at the Sebastian Inlet and is excited to be performing at high level here in Cocoa Beach.
"I just want to keep surfing well," Clarke said. "I know I'm not a smaller kid so it's a little difficult to get some of these waves but I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and give it my all. This board is just magic. I lost first round of the QS so when that happened I just thought to myself it's going to be difficult to surf in these waves. But, then I made my first heat in Juniors and it started helping my confidence to make a few heats so I feel really good."
After a stand out performance in opening day of the Ron Jon Vans Junior Pro, Cole Houshmand earned a spot into the Semifinals in his first appearance at this event. Learning how the wave works is something the Californian was able to relate to and took that knowledge into account when trying to find the proper scores to advance.
"I've just been trying to focus and keep my mind straight," Houshmand said. "It's easy to sit out there and be patient for the good ones but the ones who make heats are the ones who stay busy. Making it passed that heat just boosts my confidence since this is the furthest I've made it in a Junior Pro. It's my first year here and I've noticed it's a little similar to Virginia Beach with the beachbreak and with the varying swell here I've had fun."
Event organizers will reconvene at 8:30am for a 9:00am Start to get the Men's QS1000 Quarterfinals in the water.