HUNTINGTON BEACH, California/USA (Monday, August 12, 2019) - The World Surf League (WSL) North America regional, and international, athletes shift their attention from the West Coast to the East Coast where a variety of competitive opportunities begin starting August 20 including Men's and Women's Qualifying Series (QS) events, a Men's Pro Junior competition and the debut of a Men's and Women's Longboard Tour (LT) contest in New York.
The east coast tour opens with the Vans Pro Virginia Beach, VA, QS 3,000 alongside the Pro Junior competition from August 20 - 25, and then heads south to one of the east coast's famed stretches of sand for the Men's and Women's WRV Outer Banks Pro QS 1,000 presented by Pacifico and Sanuk beginning August 28 - September 1. Finally, the WSL will return to New York for the first time since 2011 for the inaugural Men's and Women's New York Longboard Classic supported by I LOVE NY from September 6 - 12.
Virgina Beach's Iconic 1st Street Jetty Returns
The ninth annual Vans Pro Virginia Beach, VA joins the second-longest-running event in the world, the East Coast Surfing Championships (ECSC), which now celebrates 57 years. The men's QS 3,000 and Pro Junior contest continues to provide valuable opportunities for East Coast natives searching for critical points as they compete against a field of elite, international attendees. The list of former event winners across all divisions includes some of the world's best including current World No. 1 Kolohe Andino (USA) and reigning WSL Junior Champion Mateus Herdy (BRA), along with qualification threats Evan Geiselman (USA) and former Championship Tour (CT) competitors Nat Young (USA), Keanu Asing (HAW), and Patrick Gudauskas (USA).
This year can expect some more of those heavy-hitting names alongside emerging QS threats looking to continue their momentum from a successful start to 2019.
"ECSC is an iconic East Coast event and the Vans Pro is one of my favorites to compete at," Gudauskas said. "The history and lineage makes it so special. I always love seeing "D" from Coastal Edge when we are out there. I'm really looking forward to enjoying some time there and excited to go for the win. Couldn't be more fired up!"
Outer Banks Awaits Men And Women
Following the Vans Pro, many competitors head to Europe while others make their way down Interstate 95 to Nags Head, North Carolina, to join the women's QS contingent for the seventh-consecutive WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico QS 1,000. The women made their big return in 2018 after nearly ten years away, with Makena Burke (USA) earning a slice of history after clinching her first-ever QS win at just 15 years old, along with Brasilian Renan Perez (BRA), who also earned his maiden QS win.
"It is definitely a new feeling to be heading into an event as the defending champion," Burke said. "I am looking forward to the challenge of the extra pressure. I think pressure can either make or break a person's outcome in competition. It all just depends on how you handle it. In terms of points, this event is incredibly crucial for building my career. One thousand points can open up a lot of opportunities as last year's win allowed me to get into the Super Girl Pro 6,000 and the Florida Pro 3,000. Everything counts, and I want to capitalize on this next opportunity to gain points relatively close to home."
Event director LG Shaw continues at the helm leading the event's annual return. Shaw recognizes the value of the WRV Outer Banks Pro and the opportunity it presents surfers both regionally and from around the world. Not only is the QS 1,000 a great professional opportunity for athletes on the hunt for points, but the venue and atmosphere at Jennette's Pier is one-of-a-kind.
"We are stoked and honored to be able to feature the Outer Banks on the WSL QS Tour, exposing the up and coming athletes to the beauty and power of our surf here," Shaw said. "There is truly something special about the Outer Banks and you can't fully appreciate it without visiting. The event started back in the very early 2000's under the ASP QS flag with men's and women's events so we are excited to return the event to its full potential, showcasing the next generation of our sport."
New York's Long-Awaited Return Realized
The newly formatted Men's and Women's LT has gained serious momentum this season with the guidance of Devon Howard, WSL Longboard Tour Manager, with major events all around the world including Australia, Europe and now the Empire State for the inaugural New York Longboard Classic supported by I LOVE NY. Some of the sport's premier longboarders will descend upon Long Beach, NY, for the opportunity to earn 6,000 critical points toward their seed into the World Longboard Championships.
The recent Vans Joel Duct Tape Invitational event wrapped as part of the Vans US Open and crowned Justin Quintal (USA) and Kelis Kaleopa'a (HAW) as event winners. The two have earned guaranteed places into the upcoming LT events and will look to represent Florida and Hawaii, respectively, at the World Longboard Championships to put a stamp of victory on their year.
"The New York community has been really excited to have the WSL back and it makes absolute sense to have a longboard stop there with the extensive history of longboard surfing there," Howard said. "One of the very first people to surf in North America was in the late 1800s in New York so their dedication to the sport speaks for itself. It's exciting to have Justin and Kelis join this event as wildcards into the event with their wins."
"This year's WSL LT has a real emphasis on traditional surfing and it's a really exciting time to see fresh faces like Justin and Harrison Roach," Howard added. "To be heading to one of the biggest names in terms of destinations and a place that can get really good surf in the fall, we're really optimistic that this could be one of the best stops on the tour this year."