The North America Qualifying Series (QS) is less than a day away from kicking off the men's and women's Jack's Surfboards Pro QS 1,000 after a 16-month long hiatus. Top regional talents await their debuts alongside those looking to make a name for themselves to end the 2020/21 QS calendar year before starting their new campaigns later this year.
Competitors anxiously await the start of competition and among them is reigning 2019 Jack's Surfboards Pro victor Crosby Colapinto. Colapinto, 20, had the opportunity to get his jersey reps in as a wildcard at the Rip Curl Newcastle Cup presented by Corona earlier this year. Now he's looking to keep a strong QS seed heading into the 2021/22 season and make his way into the Challenger Series for a chance at joining older brother Griffin on the Championship Tour (CT).
But, the San Clemente, California, competitor will have more than his fair share of competitors to deal with both from his home state and out-of-country regional representatives from Barbados, Costa Rica, and Brasil. Heavy-hitters such as former CT surfers Nat Young and Patrick Gudauskas, Michael Dunphy, Josh Burke, 2019 event runner-up Phillippe Chagas, and more await.
Barbados' Burke, 24, comes into this event with everything to surf for alongside those just on the outside looking in to secure their place into the Challenger Series. The 2019 Thomo QS in Memory of Bill Thomson victor reclaimed the title for his home island and looks to hone in on that winning mentality.
"I'm looking forward to getting the QS jersey on again after doing the ISA event in El Salvador and some local Pro-AMs in San Diego, " said Burke. "It's felt like a long time since I won the Thomo event at Soup Bowl and we had a local contest there last November which I ended up winning, so that was good to have an event with COVID happening. I haven't looked too much into what I need other than I need to make the finals to secure a place and I'm just going into this event wanting to win."
The women join this event for the first time after the 2020 Jack's Surfboards Pro was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now they return to the Huntington Beach Pier arena for the first time in a regional event since 2017. Included in the 40-women draw is recent Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 competitor Leilani McGonagle, 21, making history as a part of surfing's first-ever inclusion in the Olympic Games, as she returns to the QS jersey in hopes of further representing her country proud.
"Getting to be in the Olympics was amazing to be on that big sport platform with the most amazing athletes in the entire world," said McGonagle. "It's an experience that's still hard to believe I was a part of, but I'm still coming down from it and still getting my feet on the ground and getting ready for what's next. I'm super excited to come back to the QS and I feel like we've all spent so much time waiting for this moment."
Sawyer Lindblad came out firing on all cylinders before events came to a halt in 2020 with her first-ever QS victory at just 14 on the shores of Pismo Beach, California, and held the No. 1 spot in North America. Now, the San Clemente, California, surfer sits at No. 10 after the reallocation of points and looks for her shot to jump into the Top 8 for a Challenger Series position but will have to battle with the likes of former CT surfer Chelsea Tuach, CT qualification threat Alyssa Spencer, former North America QS Regional Champion Meah Collins, and more.
"I feel like I gained a lot more confidence after starting off 2020 No. 1," said Linblad. "The game plan coming into this event is to try and surf my best and have fun. I couldn't be more excited to get the QS jersey back on and see everyone getting back into gear."
The first call will be for men's Round 1 at 7:30am PT to determine an 8:00am PT start. Women's competition is set to begin Friday, August 6.
The Jack's Surfboards Pro QS 1,000 will be livestreamed beginning August 5 - 8 at the Huntington Beach Pier, Huntington Beach, California.