The men picked up right where they left off in Round 2 at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS 1,000 but Huntington Beach, California, delivered a curve ball of conditions from Thursday's pristine start. Early winds jumbled the two-to-four foot, lulled swell to test competitors' grit and determination throughout Round 2 Heats 6 - 16 and Round 3 in its entirety with glimpses of beauty toward the later heats.
Marshall Brothers Take Control
The surfing world is stacked with sibling powerhouses and the Marshall brothers, Nick and Jake, have put their name in the hat the last few years. It was younger brother, Nick, who stole the show in Round 2 Heat 11 with the event's best performance so far - a 14.10 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Nick continued that success into Round 3, earning runner-up behind North America standout Kevin Schulz, and eliminating wildcard threat - former CT competitor and current North America No. 6 - Patrick Gudauskas. (Quotes in video)
Older brother Jake was not to be outdone by his younger sibling and showcased his own power surfing, utilizing his forehand attack and taking down a big heat win in his Round 3 debut.
"I didn't feel like I was nervous but I made a lot of mistakes in that heat so that was a good welcome back to the event," said Marshall. "You feel like you're surfing well then you go catch a bunch of closeouts (laughs). I was cruising for the most part this last year and a half working at a restaurant but I left there about a week ago to start focusing on this event and the Challenger Series coming up so it's great to be in it again."
Jabe Swierkocki Overcomes Superheat
Ventura, California's, rising talent Swierkocki continues to impress from winning the last WSL Pro Junior event in 2020 and getting a wildcard in the recent Jeep Surf Ranch Pro presented by Adobe. Now, Swierkocki brings that confidence to this event and let it show by taking over his Round 2 affair against former CT surfer Keanu Asing and CT qualification threat Evan Geiselman, also advancing, as well as Santa Cruz, California's, in-form Sam Coffey. (Quotes in video)
Barbados' Challenger Series Threat Josh Burke Debuts Strong
Challenger Series (CS) qualification threat Josh Burke made his Round 3 debut in defining fashion with an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10) and controlled the heat from the start. The 24-year-old has plenty of work ahead of him but laid a brilliant foundation to begin his hunt for a third QS victory and represent for his home island of Barbados.
"Huntington is always pretty inconsistent so I wanted to start off early and I had one air at the very start that I didn't pull off but got another one right away," said Burke. "I got my scores early on and didn't feel sketched out throughout the rest of heat which is a nice feeling. My board is a little small for me and hard to paddle but once I'm up on the wave it works really nice so I'm stoked on that. Hopefully I can keep moving forward."
Former Pro Junior Regional Champion Shines
Finding success beyond the Pro Junior ranks can be difficult to manage for some competitors but 2018 Pro Junior Regional Champion Tyler Gunter continues to impress and showcased that potential today in his Round 3 debut. It was a bittersweet win for Gunter, 21, as good friend and 2020 QS No. 120 Luke Gordon faced elimination. But, the Newport Beach, California, moves into a decisive Round 4 matchup with plenty of steam.
"I've been surfing a lot at home and training to stay busy ahead of the event," said Gunter. "I went to Indonesia last summer but I've been around home since just having fun. It was nice to get started in that heat, wish I could've done more toward the end, but it all worked out great so I'm looking forward to another shot at it tomorrow."
Notable Top Seeds Move Through Amid Upsets
Cam Richards' impressive debut in tough conditions highlighted the later heats from top seeds' debut along with the likes of 2019 event winner Crosby Colapinto, former CT surfer Nat Young, 2019 Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro winner Kei Kobayashi, 2019 Pro Junior Regional Champion Kade Matson, Cole Houshmand, Jett Schilling, Nolan Rapoza and Carlos Munoz.
The next call will be for men's Round 4 at 7:30am PT to determine an 8:00am PT start. Women's Round 1 is set to begin at 12:00pm PT.