Another exciting day of action at the Men's and Women's Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 pres. by Dignity Health unfolded as men's Round 2 is notched, as well as a momentous opening day for women's competition getting underway -- and determining their Quarterfinalists.
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."
Women Make Their Pismo Beach Debut Count
It was a critical opening day at the Women's Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 pres. by Dignity Health as both Rounds 1 and 2 were put in the books, but some of North America's top upcoming talents rose to the occasion alongside a few QS threats in their event debut.
This marks a great day for the women as another new event got underway following men's Round 2 and a few standout performances led the way over a young field in attendance. Many of the competitors on hand are still in the midst of their blossoming Pro Junior careers and now look to take that experience to the next level of competition.
Alyssa Spencer Is Back, and Lethal As Ever
Alyssa Spencer kicked women's affairs with an incredible 17.34, earning a near-perfect 9.17, heat total in her debut then continued that momentum into Round 2 where she started off with a 7.00. Spencer has taken this year slow following a broken fibula before summer events and spending time away from the jersey, missing the recent RVCA Pro Junior and WRV Outer Banks Pro, but finds her way right back into the competitive rhythm.
The young Carlsbad native showed no fear as she attacked on her backhand once more heading right toward the pier, smashing multiple sections to earn yet another near-perfect 9.00.
"The waves were so fun out there in my first heat even though it was getting a little bit high tide and I was a little nervous that it was going to get slow, but we got four really good sets," Spencer said. "I happened to be in the right priority which felt pretty lucky. It's so cool to have a women's event here after watching the guys last year so it's exciting and it's my first contest in two months or so. It's great to be back in the water and in a jersey."
Newly Crowned Pro Junior Regional Champ Dominates
Also earning a big Round 1 win and backing it up in Round 2, newly crowned North America Pro Junior Champ Kirra Pinkerton showed she's not done yet with 2018. The San Clemente, California, native bested Spencer with a 9.27 of her own in Round 2 after a dominant Round 1 performance. But, it's all still a learning experience for the now 16-year-old as her young career is just starting.
"The waves are actually really good and I was psyched to get some good ones out there," Pinkerton said. "The rights up against the pier open up so I just wanted to try and surf them well, and not be all over the place. I just put everything into that 9-point ride and don't even remember it all by the end, but it felt really good to get moving that early on in the event with some big numbers."
Samantha Sibley continues her steam from a RVCA Pro Junior win into two big heat wins on opening day at Pismo Beach. The 16-year-old continues to impress at both levels of competition, earning an excellent score in each of her heats today, alongside fellow Pro Junior standout Makena Burke who also made her way into the Quarterfinals with a big comeback in Round 1 before smashing her Round 2 affair.
A 7:30am PDT call will determine a possible 8:00am PDT start to men's Round 3 action.