The North America Men's Qualifying Series (QS) season will conclude at the inaugural Pismo Beach Open QS1,000 November 17 through 19, which will stream live through the weekend.
One thousand points are on the line for not only the overall rankings, but also toward determining who will be crowned the 2017 North America Regional QS Men's Champion -- an award that earns the surfer entry into the highest rated events at the start of 2018. The race to the top features only a handful of surfers who are in attendance for the event.
The 300 points earned by Jordy Collins at the Thomo QS1000 in Memory of Bill Thomson last weekend kept him as front runner to steal the No. 1 spot from Evan Geiselman. Collins' early exit from the Hawaiian Pro QS10,000 opened up the opportunity to strike at Pismo Beach and he's taking full advantage of it. The Carlsbad, California, native needs a Quarterfinal appearance to surpass Geiselman in hopes of winning the region after a hard-fought year comes down to one last event.
"I would be so stoked to win the region at the last event and it's funny because I haven't really even been thinking about it," Collins said. "Then to come down to the last event and have a shot, I'm just psyched to be in the running. It's so important to just take each heat as they come and go as it can get so crazy with the ups and downs of winning and losing. If you're not just living in the moment and the heat in the water, it can wear you down."
John Mel is right behind Collins after a brilliant run at Soup Bowl earned him an equal third and 560 points. The 18-year-old also earned his spot into World Junior Championships at Kiama, Australia, in January, but has his focus on the task at hand. Mel will need his third Semifinal appearance of 2017, if Collins fails to better his points, to jump from No. 4 to No. 1 and has a lot of momentum heading into the Pismo Beach Open.
"I've surfed so many amateur events here so I have a solid understanding of the place and I'm amped to get back," Mel said. "Winning the title would be a huge help for me the following year because of the QS10,000 seeding -- and that's where I want to be. I'm going to know what I need to take that top spot and I'll try my hardest to get there. That's the mindset I've had all year and I'm pretty superstitious so I'm going to stick to that program."
Fellow Pro Junior talent Cole Houshmand is fresh off his first-ever WSL win at the Live Like Zander Junior Pro. The San Clemente native still has two more seasons among the Junior Tour ranks and is wasting no time preparing for a run at the QS next year. Houshmand's chances are slim as he needs a win to give himself a chance at earning the Regional Title, but the 16-year-old's ambitions are high after a successful year concludes this weekend.
"I came close to a win a few times this year in the QS with a runner-up and fifth so I'm starting to get that sensation of good results," Houshmand said. "I'm bringing a lot of confidence into this last event and to try to win the regional title would mean a lot -- I can't wait to go for it. I think more than anything it is believing in yourself that you can do it and not putting too much pressure on yourself. I'm just hoping I can do all that and get another result here in Pismo to finish the year."
Also in contention is reigning North America Regional QS Champion Kilian Garland and he requires a Finals appearance to defend his title. The rest of the field in contention behind Houshmand are in the same scenario and must win the event.
Friday's 7:30 a.m. PDT call will determine an 8:00 a.m. PDT start for Round One of the first-ever Pismo Beach Open QS1,000. Tune in live beginning with the first heat as the event will be streamed at www.worldsurfleague.com throughout the weekend.
The Pismo Beach Open QS1,000 runs from November 17 through 19 and will determine the North America Regional QS Champion.