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.
All the momentum continues with Barbados' Josh Burke as he looks in unstoppable form after putting together the heat of the event so far of a 17.33. Burke's ferocious backhand complemented his forehand, 8.33, attack to earn yet another near-perfect 9.00 - both scores without priority. The Barbadian is looking to capitalize on points at this QS 1,500 and prepares for a big Quarterfinal matchup with an in-form Jabe Swierkocki who remains in both the QS and Pro Junior.
"I'm stoked to keep making it and hopefully keep putting up scores like that," Burke said. "That one was pretty tough at the beginning but then I ended up getting all the waves under priority which is nice to know I can do. I've noticed that north peak has been working really good on the higher tide and it paid off again today."
Fellow Round 3 standout Kei Kobayashi joins Burke into the Quarterfinals after another brilliant performance of his own alongside Taj Lindblad, as both turned in excellent scores in their respective heats. Lindblad continues a great start to his 2020 QS season after a pair of equal ninth-place finishes at Morro Bay and Pismo Beach but now looks towards his first finals day appearance as he continues to build a presence under the mentorship of former Championship Tour competitor Brett Simpson.
"I'm drawing a lot from my experiences at Pismo Beach and Morro Bay, especially watching all of Brett's (Simpson) heats," said Lindblad. "He's probably one of the best contest guys right now, he's just ripping. But I watched all his heats even on the CT to see how he would make it through and I've taken that into my approach as well."
A battle unfolded in Round 4 Heat 4 to determine the final two spots into finals day and Tomas King, alongside Keanu Kamiyama, claimed them over Florida's Robbie McCormick and Pro Junior standout Alan Cleland. King knows the importance of this event following recent news and turned the competitive switch up a notch to ensure his place into the Quarterfinals - leaving nothing on his final rides to win the bout.
"That was a good one and happy I got a couple good waves against those guys because I'm pretty heavy compared to them but I want it," King said. "I'm just trying to give a little extra on every single wave. With all the events called off this is it for awhile so it makes me want it that much more. Thinking differently this year and just enjoying the moment has helped and now I'm bringing in some extra fire to back it up."
Event organizers will reconvene at 8:00am EDT to determine a possible 8:30am EDT start.
The Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500, Junior Pro and Roxy Junior Pro will run March 12 - 15 in Cocoa Beach, Florida.