For nine years running, the Vans Pro Virginia Beach, VA and has provided a stage for some of the QS's elite to stop in at 1st Street Jetty for a shot at valuable points toward their season. This year is no different with 3,000 points for the taking that could help swing major momentum a competitor's way as its done previously.
A formidable field of 112 surfers from around the world will descend upon Virginia Beach August 20 - 25 with a mass of familiar faces looking to crack the code and find their way to the esteemed Championship Tour (CT), or get back there. Here's a shortlist of just some of those faces in search of adding their name to the elite list of Vans Pro victors.
Current QS Rank: 13
Best Vans Pro Results: Winner 2016, Third-place 2017, Two Equal Fifths
One of the event's top threats each year he attends, Geiselman has one of the best track records to date with numerous finals day appearances and two Finals to his name. The New Smyrna Beach, Florida, native's approach to small waves that can be expected throughout the week in Virginia Beach rivals that of any on the seed list. While the 25-year-old still searches for the ever-elusive spot on the CT, any East Coast event Geiselman enters is one to take note of but with the field that comes to play there are no such things as an easy go.
Ranked just above Geiselman and also a former event winner, the event's first Pro Junior victor, Nat Young returns to Virginia Beach to make his way back into the Top 10 after falling out following the Vans US Open of Surfing.
Current QS Rank: 69
Best Vans Pro Results: Winner 2013, Third-place 2016, Runner-up 2017, Two Equal Fifths
The only other competitor that contests Geiselman's track record is the Positive Vibe Warrior himself Pat Gudauskas. The 33-year-old took down his first-ever appearance in Virginia Beach and hasn't failed to make a finals day since with two equal fifth-places along with a stellar Finals record. His runner-up result in 2017 helped put the former CT competitor back on the Dream Tour and he hasn't lost the spark to compete just yet. "I'm really looking forward to enjoying some time there and excited to go for the win. Couldn't be more fired up!" Gudauskas said regarding his return this year.
Another Vans Pro victory would help push the ever-frothing, soon-to-be father back into the Top 40 with a lot of low results to get rid of moving into the back-half of 2019.
Other former victors in attendance include current No. 102 looking for a spark in his season Keanu Asing, the only surfer to boast a Vans Pro QS and Pro Junior title. Asing's fellow Hawaii representative and defending Pro Juniro winner Cole Alves leads a list of former Pro Junior victors Samuel Pupo and Nolan Rapoza all looking to match Asing with a win in both events.
A slew of international talent makes their way to Virginia Beach each year and this year includes some notable entries that can't go unmentioned. Aussie threats include former CT elite Mitch Crews, QS veteran Mitch Coleborn along with emerging threats Kyuss King, Sheldon Simkus, and Sandon Whittaker all back to garner valuable points and momentum.
The ever-dangerous Brasilian crew is led this year by Victor Bernardo and Pupo as the highest seeds, and are joined by the likes of 2018 WRV Outer Banks Pro winner Renan Peres Pulga, 2017 WRV Outer Banks Pro winner Gabriel Farias, along with Wesley Santos and nine more of their countrymen.
Hiroto Ohhara made the breakthrough as the first Japanese competitor to win the event and now leaves it to the hands of compatriots such as Joh Azuchi, Hiroto Arai, Kaito Ohashi and others to keep the title in the land of the rising sun.
North America's Contenders
Joining Geiselman and Gudauskas, some of the region's next generation of talent will be in full effect with the likes of current North America No. 1 Noah Schweizer and No. 2 Crosby Colapinto returning to their battle for the spot atop regional rankings.
But, they will have to deal with the likes of last year's double-event finalist Tyler Gunter, recent Vans US Open trials winner Luke Gordon, US Open Pro Junior winner Kade Matson, a fully-mended Josh Burke and a few breakthrough talents including Cole Houshmand and John Mel.
Look for these competitors and more at the Vans Pro Virginia Beach, VA, beginning August 20 - 25 at 1st Street Jetty.