Surfers, event organizers, and those in attendance could not have asked for a more brilliant day of competition at Monuments Beach to welcome the Los Cabos Open of Surf Soft Top Soiree at The Cape specialty event with four-to-five foot, occasional plus, swell pulsing through the lefthand rock-reef lineup. And now, Josh Kerr can boast two World Surf League (WSL) Specialty Event wins after earning the Los Cabos Open of Surf Soft Top Soiree at The Cape victory over fellow Australian and long-time friend Mitch Coleborn.
It was all smiles for Kerr and the other eight competitors that contested for the number one spot - including Rob Machado, Jhony Corzo, Sage Erickson, Anastasia Ashley, Blair Conklin, and local wildcard additions Roberto Krulick and Ana Laura Gonzalez.
"It was such a good time and definitely a different kind of concept with a good vibe and everything I'm all about in surfing these days," the current WSL Airborne Director Kerr said. "It was perfect to match my surfing with the vibe and everything I'm going for. It was a Soft Top Soiree and I'm calling it the first soft top World Tour event so I guess I'm the champion (laughs)."
Kerr had no easy task to make it through Mexico's first ISA Gold Medalist Corzo but showcased his flair on one of the day's larger sets, floating across a hefty section and somehow re-emerging from the white water. The two happened to be sharing the same, 4'10 three-fin thruster Catch Surf shortboard but Kerr won the rock-paper-scissors match to see who rode it in their Semifinal bout.
Moving into the Final, Monuments slowed down with wave consistency but the two Australians shared plenty of opportunities that Kerr got the better of Coleborn on in the end.
Coleborn enjoyed the change of pace after a rush of events to start the Qualifying Series (QS) in 2019 and put on a big show for all those who came to watch. The QS veteran's forehand power couldn't be contained as he rifled through a Semifinal match against one of the women's elite Erickson. Erickson had Coleborn on the ropes until the final minutes when he found a gem to clinch his spot in the Final. Though his first wave of the Final didn't prove a big difference maker, Coleborn's fins out turn near the daunting rock had people cheering him on from the start.
But, the Australian and former CT wildcard couldn't keep a smile off his face as he came out of the water with a runner-up finish.
"It was one of the funnest events ever, no stress and everyone's just having a good time with soft tops and fun waves," Coleborn said. "Everyone here is having the time of their life so can't complain. It was about 4 or 5 hours worth of competition after a sleep-in, getting some breakie this morning and then we started about noon so not your normal QS schedule but everyone had a blast."
As the saying goes, "the surfer who is having the most fun wins," and if that were the case, Erickson was a clear victor. The Championship Tour (CT) veteran has visited Los Cabos every summer since the QS began coming here in 2014 and her joy to return was apparent. Without the hassle and stress of standard QS proceedings, the Ojai, California, native put on a great performance as she garnered one of the day's top rides, a 7.67, before heading into the Semifinals.
"It's been so fun competing on a soft top and just enjoy being in the lineup with some the boys which was so much fun," Erickson said. "That first heat was the first time I rode that soft top for the first time and I don't think I've been in a contest before where that's been the case. Luckily it was cool to be able to make the Semifinals against Mitch Coleborn. The setup was incredible, the fact we had an infinity pool looking into the lineup and it was just so much fun."
Mexico was represented in great form with the likes of Robert Krulick putting on a great show to start the day against one of surfing's icons Machado and then eventually taking the expressions session's best maneuver with multiple chop-hop airs in one wave, but it was Corzo who stole the show. The young Mexican surfer relished in the opportunity to surf alongside the likes of Kerr and Machado while rubbing shoulders with them out of the water before prepping for a big summer of competition on the QS alongside Erickson and Coleborn.
"I just remember seeing him (Kerr) on the computer and watching him on the CT since I was little surfing against the best in the world," Corzo said. "Having a heat against him was super fun. We were just talking with each other (out in the lineup) and we flipped a coin for the board we both liked so that was really cool. He beat me at that, but he got lucky (laughs). It was just insane. This was a really fun day with those guys and to get in the jersey with a totally different idea of a contest."
1 - Josh Kerr 11.33 - $5,000
2 - Mitch Coleborn 10.00 - $2,000
H1: Mitch Coleborn 14.83 def. Sage Erickson 13.67
H2: Josh Kerr 15.33 def. Jhony Corzo 11.83
Leaderboard after Round 1
- Josh Kerr - 14.83
- Mitch Coleborn - 14.67
- Sage Erickson - 13.17
- Jhony Corzo - 12.67
- Rob Machado - 12.50
- Blair Conklin - 12.17
- Robert Krulick - 11.50
- Ana Laura Gonzalez - 9.67
- Anastasia Ashley - 7.67