The Jack's Surfboards Pro QS 1,000 fired into opening day action with beautiful, three-to-five foot, occasional plus conditions and competitors relished in the opportunity. Big performances highlighted Round 1 despite prevailing winds bringing in fog delays toward the end of the round. Round 2 Heats 1 through 5 were able to finish with more brilliant surfing as the delays pushed competition back. But, the damage was done as another big day awaits tomorrow.
Brasilian Trio Lead Opening Day Charge
Magno Pacheco found another level and blasted a 14.00 (out of a possible 20) heat total with his aerial assault on the pier bowl lefts. The Sao Paulo-turned-Huntington Beach local's strike rate made easy work of the final heat in Round 1 and made his 2021 debut count on all fronts. (Quotes in video)
Pacheco's fellow countrymen, 2019 Jack's Surfboards Pro runner-up, Phillippe Chagas and Alex Lima also turned in big performances to lead the Brasilian charge. Chagas returns for unfinished business and was delayed by the fog rolling in but didn't let the event hold phase him. The 24-year-old now resides on the Hawaiian island of Maui after growing up in Ubatuba, Sao Paulo, Brasil, and hasn't lost his tenacity in small waves.
"I'm stoked to be back at the Jack's event after I had a really good result getting runner-up here last time," said Chagas. "The waves were really tricky with the fog and it was hard to even see where the next section was going to be but that's the QS sometimes. We're used to it and it separates the ones who really want it - and I really want it."
Youth Strikes Early
Florida's William Hedleston has put his time into Huntington Beach and it showed with a dominant performance in both Round 1 and 2. The 17-year-old's style on layback maneuvers made for an easy Round 1 victory before taking on former North America QS Regional Champion Kilian Garland, also advancing, and QS veteran Wesley Santos, along with dangerman Tex Mitchell. But, Hedleston's performance was not to be denied a big heat win and moves on with plenty of steam. (Quotes in video)
Round 1 standout Luke Wyler made just his second QS appearance at age 15 and posted one of the highest heat totals of the opening heats with a 13.00. The San Clemente, California, competitor - dubbed "Lowers Luke" by his peers - topped East Coast threat Tommy Coleman (USA), also advancing, along with fellow young standout Jak Ziets and Jonah Carter.
"It's really good to get back in the jersey, especially with the waves being so fun," said Wyler. "I stuck to my game plan and it all worked out accordingly so I was happy it all worked out. Everyone in this contest has the potential to win so I made sure to watch the conditions before my heat and make sure I'm on the right waves but it's anyone's game out there."
Former Championship Tour Guard Light Up Debuts
Former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Nathan Yeomans came into this event mentally and physically prepared, and it showed brilliantly with a dominant display of backhand surfing. Yeomans, 39, has found himself atop the podium multiple times in his career - his latest at the 2018 Shoe City Pro - and continues to showcase his prowess amid the young guard.
"I'm just a fan of surfing and it's nice to be back in the jersey at the QS level," Yeomans said. "I love to compete and I'm pretty sure I'm the oldest man in the division but it's been great getting back in shape and just really looking forward to this. It's been a few years since I've done this so I wanted to say thanks to all the crew for making it happen and it's good to be back."
Regional events now prioritize its athletes over international competitors but when cancellations and injuries ensue, the door opens wide for these out-of-region surfers. Such was the case for former CT elite Keanu Asing as he advanced through Round 1 as an alternate before igniting in Round 2 with a big weekend ahead and plenty of momentum.
"I've been coming down here quite a bit and it's a perfect scenario to gear up with time in the jersey before the Challenger Series starts," said Asing. "Coming up here with some of the San Clemente kids like Cole Houshmand and Kade Matson has been great and they've been really pushing me. It's been a long time since we competed and I couldn't be more stoked to be back in a heat competing."
Tomorrow's 8am PT start will kickoff Round 2 Heat 6 and move straight through more men's action as women's competition will be moved to Saturday due to weather delays today.
The Jack's Surfboards Pro will be broadcast live August 5 - 8 at Huntington Beach, California.