Finals day is locked in at the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro, a men's Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500, Junior Pro and Roxy Junior Pro after competitors powered through critical battles in two foot, occasional three, swell. Men's QS Round 4 was completed in its entirety along with the women making their big debut for Round 1 and Quarterfinal action and men's Quarterfinals all finished. Three victors await their crowning and the fields remain stacked with some of North America's premier competitors.
Reigning North America No. 1 and 2 Deliver in 2020 Debuts
Defending Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro victor, and reigning North America Regional Pro Junior Champion, Caitlin Simmers picked up right where she left off with an excellent 16.10 (out of a possible 20) heat total on a dominant display of backhand surfing. Simmers, 14, started slow with Palm City, Florida's, Zoe Benedetto, also advancing, holding the lead until the Californian found her form and left the field in a combination situation - meaning each competitor needed two new waves to total Simmers.
"If you could get the double-up it was pretty fun and I found those lefts that kept running to do a few turns," said Simmers. "It would be pretty sick to win this event again. The waves are way better this year which is great and hopefully they keep coming for finals day."
Fellow Californian Bella Kenworthy and the East Coast's Bree Labiak eliminated event threat Ava McGowan before current North America QS No. 1 Sawyer Lindblad blasted a 14.67 heat total to finish off Quarterfinal battles. Lindblad finished runner-up on the rankings in 2019 with a trip to WSL Junior Championships here first year among the ranks and now looks for even more with her success from the QS after topping Round 1 standout, Abbie Yates - who hopes to bring an event win back to Florida alongside Smith and Benedetto.
"I was psyched to get that left after being a little a nervous," said Linblad. "This wave can be really tricky since it's completely different where I live in San Clemente. It'd be great to get a win to start making my way towards the WSL Junior Championships again. That's definitely the goal this year because if you win that you're into the big events the following year and I'm wanting to get to that level next season."
"I'm so excited to be in the Semifinals since I've never made it past my first heat at this event, " said Indiatlantic competitor Yates. "It's nice being near home and I don't surf here too much but it can be a really fun wave when it's got some swell. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow and giving it my best."
Also advancing on representing California, Lilie Kulber followed suit after her Round 1 victory led to an impressive Quarterfinal win over a pair of Floridian talents Bree Smith also advancing, and Coral Schuster. Last year was Kulber's first-ever WSL event at the RVCA Pro Junior and now looks to start her Pro Junior career in 2020.
"At the beginning of the second heat I was freaking out a little bit because I couldn't find a good wave but just told myself to calm down," said Kulber. "Last year I only did the event in Newport."
Event organizers will reconvene at 8:00am EDT for a possible 8:30am EDT start.