- WSL / Ed Sloane
- WSL / Ed Sloane

The Vans World Cup of Surfing at Sunset Beach is looming large for two young surfers, Hawaiian Ezekiel Lau and Floridian Evan Geiseleman. Their careers have been linked since they were pre-teens, pegged early by surf magazines as future forces along with their peers John John Florence, Carissa Moore and Kolohe Andino.

Defending event winner Ezekiel Lau through to Round 2. Ezekiel Lau is a powerhouse at Sunset Beach, but he's not taking anything for granted heading into the Vans World Cup. - WSL / Kelly Cestari

While the climb has taken a bit longer for Lau and Geiselman, both are now sitting just outside the qualification cutoff. Making the jump to the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour in 2017 hinges entirely on their performances at Sunset.

Ezekiel Lau from the Round of 24 of Ballito Pro Presented by Billabong QS10000. Zeke Lau, QS No. 15 - WSL / Kelly Cestari

Lau is currently ranked No. 15 on the QS, and needs to make the Quarterfinals at Sunset just to keep his qualifying hopes alive. Since he won the Vans World Cup in 2013 there's no doubt he has what it takes to get there, but Sunset dishes out plenty of pain. The very next year Lau suffered a devastating Round Two loss. Fortunately for Lau he's already seeded into Round Three, along with Matt Wilkinson. Two more surfers from Round Two will join them. The Quarterfinals are two heats away.

Despite some critical surfing Ezekiel Lau (HAW) did not make it through Round 2. Lau will hope to match his winning performance at the 2013 World Cup of Surfing in order to lock down his Dream Tour spot. - WSL / Ed Sloane

Geiselman is sitting one spot above Lau, at No. 14, and as a result his hurdle to gain ground is a little lower. A 17th-place or better will move him up the ladder, but then again he'll want more to secure a spot. The tougher part for Geiselman is he's starting in Round Two, where he and Brazilian Yago Dora are awaiting to see what two surfers they draw out of Round One. The lanky goofyfooter has great technique and a vertical attack, but he will need to draw on every ounce of experience at Sunset Beach to get a big result.

Evan Geiselman placed second in Heat 12 of Round Three at the Hawaiian Pro at Haleiwa, Hawaii today. Evan Geiselman, QS No. 14 - WSL / Kelly Cestari

It's been less than a year since Geiselman suffered a near-drowning experience surfing at Pipeline. Following a wipeout, he was knocked unconscious, survived a multiple-wave hold down and was rescued by the heroic actions of ex-pro bodyboarder Andre Botha, who pulled him to safety.

"After what happened at Pipe, I'm so lucky to be surfing at all," Geiselman told the WSL earlier this season. He responded with two 2016 QS Tour wins (Japan and Virginia Beach), setting the stage for a litmus test at Sunset Beach.

Evan Geiselman (USA) .Billabong Cascais Pro 16 Geiselman needs at least a 17th place finish at Sunset Beach to qualify for the 2017 Championship Tour. - WSL / Laurent Masurel

Tune in daily to see a potential start for the Vans World Cup. The event window runs through December 6.

World Surf League
Download it for free on the App store. Download it for free on Google Play.