An event that began with 48 competitors just yesterday, finished with only one earning the Los Cabos Open of Surf Men's Pro Junior crown this afternoon in massive sets at Zippers. It was San Clemente, California's, Crosby Colapinto who came away with the win in brilliant fashion.
The men displayed true vigor, powering through a phenomenal day of surfing as Colapinto, along with the rest of Round 3's top seeds, surfed from his debut in Round 3 until being hoisted up the beach.
"It just feels so nice to finally get a Final and then to win it is amazing," Colapinto said. "It was crazy to see these waves like this all day, it looked like Sunset [Hawaii] out there. I didn't catch a lot of waves today so I feel like I saved my energy even coming out of the Semifinal. I learned it takes everything you have to win one of these events. You have to surf smart, put as much effort as you can into one wave and never give up at any point."
Colapinto opened the Final with an excellent, meaning an 8.00 or above, 8.17 (out of a possible 10), and set himself up for a big performance. The San Clemente, California, native surfed wisely, only taking two waves during the thirty-minute heat, and capitalized on each opportunity. The 16-year-old shut the door with another 8.00, earning a 16.17 (out of a possible 20) and put his fellow finalists in a combination situation, meaning they needed two new scores to equal Colapinto's total, with just under six minutes remaining. Only Jett Schilling could catch him -- requiring a near-perfect 9.37.
This marks the Colapinto family's second Los Cabos Open of Surf title after Crosby's older brother Griffin, who's now on the elite WSL Championship Tour (CT), won two years ago. The win also moves Crosby into the No. 1 spot on North America's rankings -- well within his goal of a Top 4 finish by year's end.
"I've been calling my brother and he's been telling me to just wait for the best wave, get a good score, then wait again," Colapinto added. "Which worked out great getting the best wave out there and getting an 8.17 on it to start. One of my goals this year was to win a Pro Junior, so to do it here was pretty next level. I want to make it to Worlds [Junior Championship] as well and this is a good head start."
It was nearly an all-San Clemente affair as Kade Matson earned runner-up, and Schilling finished third, after surfing incredibly well in the Semifinals. The 16-year-old posted the event's highest single-wave score, a 9.50, along the way and continues to show he is becoming a real threat to his fellow contingent.
"We were all at the house together joking that we were all going to make the Finals, but none of us thought it would actually happen," Matson said. "The first few rounds I felt nervous, but by the time the Semifinals were on I was really confident. I was trying to pick off the best waves and just felt in rhythm even though it was hard out there with a lot of waves breaking. It feels great to get back to Finals since I haven't had too many good results this year and now I'm way more confident moving forward."
Schilling made his first-ever Finals appearance, alongside an in-form Dimitri Poulos, but neither could put together the heat they wanted for a chance at the win. But, it was Poulos' dynamic Semifinal that helped eliminate now North America No. 3 Tyler Gunter. Both Schilling and Poulos earned just over 500 points toward their rankings, and will look to finish the season strong while beginning to chase points on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS) as well.
"I was really stoked to make my first Pro Junior Final after dealing with those conditions all day," Schilling said. "You had to stay busy out there because only a few had real scoring potential, but it was hard to find the right ones. I'm looking to do a full year this year so I can't wait to keep getting in more heats."
"It was so tough out there, but I had a lot of fun," Poulos said. "It feels really good to make a Final since I just started doing these events. I've had a streak of making the Quarters and then losing out, so I had a realization after finally making it past that Quarterfinal heat that I could do well. Now I'll just keep staying on the grind this year and do more events."
Updated North America Men's Pro Junior Rankings:
1. Crosby Colapinto (USA) 1,395 points
2. Eithan Osborne (USA) 1,280 points
3. Tyler Gunter (USA) 1,170 points
4. Kade Matson (USA) 1,050 points