It was a short day of competition for the mens' Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 pres. by Dignity Health, but remaining top seeds stamped their authority in debut action before the day was done with impressive performances.
The early morning gloom couldn't cast a shadow on the performances that were delivered as Pismo Beach continues to receive consistent, three-to-five foot hurricane swell that competitors relished in. Add a dose of upsets from Round 1 standouts taking early exits with only a few top seeds bowing out and .
Defending Event Champ Lets Loose in Debut
"It was pretty weird after that whirlwind last year and now I'm back here on the same kind of wave I got to help win this event," Arrambide said. "I feel good starting off like that and I have a copy of that same board I rode last year which feels exactly the same. It's great sleeping in my own bed and having this event near home so we'll see how the weekend goes."
Taylor Clark Shines
QS warrior Taylor Clark garnered a big heat win over Round 1 standout Michael Dunphy, who also advanced, with an excellent 8.43 and 15.83 heat total, in his debut. Clark sent Pro Junior standout and fellow top seeded surfer Cole Houshmand out of the event with his performance after building a foundation. Clark then let his forehand loose on powerful turns before taking to the air to earn the excellent score. The Encinitas, California, native keeps his competitive game intact, but has taken a step back this year for work and still surfing as much as he can.
"I surfed the same peak I was looking at yesterday and it was kind of pumping for here today again so I was super excited to get out there," Clarks said. "When I heard who was in the heat I knew it was going take some high scores and throw something a little bigger. I paddled back wide where I was hoping no one else would be and that wave came through to get three solid turns in and then boosted that air-reverse which felt nice. I usually over think my heats so I'm just going into tomorrow with the plan to surf and enjoy the moment."
Local Contender Braden Jones Finds His Way
New North America No. 1 Lucca Mesinas kept his momentum from Costa Rica alive and well with a brilliant debut in Pismo Beach. Mesinas opened his account with a 7.00 (out of a possible 10) before overtaking the lead midway through and not giving it up, posting an excellent 8.83 to end the bout and advancing alongside Pismo Beach native Braden Jones.
It marked a big advancement for Jones with his hometown to support him along the way, and knowing the lineup paid dividends for the 19-year-old as he looks to find his footing on the QS alongside top threats in attendance.
"It felt good to start off with a heat like that against Lucca (Mesinas) who's been killing it and he did just that today," Jones said. "I usually sit a little inside on that bowl because the wide ones can run from you. But, there's been a lot of anticipation for this event since we don't have a big one and I want to get really good here with all the hometown crowd here. We're at a solid 8 in terms of wave quality for Pismo so this is really good for the event."
Upcoming Talents Impress
Jackson Butler debuted strong over one of yesterday's standout performers Shaun Burns, and 2018 Pro Junior Regional Champ Tyler Gunter, who also advanced. Butler, 16, continues to garner experience at the QS level while still having two years on the Pro Junior circuit remaining and, with a 13.77 (out of a possible 20) heat total, shows glimpses of his potential. The upcoming talent went straight from third-place to first and a dynamic heat win in the final minutes.
"I started that heat really bad, but then a little double up snuck under everyone and it was a good left all the way down the beach," Butler said. "With two minutes I got that set Tyler (Gunter) didn't want and I was paddling back out a gift of a right came in at the pier so I was fortunate. I think I have a game plan, but then I call audibles (laughs). You have to take what the ocean gives and at the end of the day it chances constantly so you just have to be ready for whatever it dishes up."
Also advancing, upcomer Leon Glatzer who posted a Perfect 10 in Costa Rica struck again with an early Round 2 win alongside Nolan Rapoza and Colt Ward. Also, two-time Vans US Open victor Brett Simpson is into Round 3 with plenty of steam.
A 7:30 a.m. PDT call will determine a possible 8:00 a.m. PDT start for men's Round 3.