It's been seven years running worth of standout moments at the WRV Outer Banks Pro pres. by Pacifico as the event awaits its eighth edition streamed live beginning September 1 - 5. Nags Head, North Carolina's, small beach town brings in some of the region's, including international talent, top competitors and this year is no different.
Taking a look back through the years, here's just a few moments to remember from the iconic East Coast event's history.
2017's Dawn-to-Dusk Barrel Fest
On the second day of competition in 2017, fans and competitors were treated to perfect Outer Banks conditions from first light until the last horn of the day. Twenty heats were concluded by day's end and twenty-seven excellent scores - ranging from an 8.00 to a perfect 10 - with twelve of them being 9-point rides or higher and one Perfect 10 from Costa Rica's Tomas King.
Chris Michalak's 19.36 (out of a possible 20) heat total rounded off the day's brilliance on paper. The action determined Quarterfinalists for an all-important finals day as conditions still delivered storm swell surfers were able to capitalize on.
2018 Brings Back Women's Competition
The women's event hadn't ran alongside the men's at the WSL level since its return in 2014 and a dream run from Ventura, California's, Makena Burke put an exclamation point on the finish. It marked the then 15-year-old's first QS event and started off with a bang earning first-place - since going on to win the 2019 SLO Cal Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000.
"It's crazy and it hasn't even sunk in yet, it's amazing to win my first QS event," said Burke after her win. "I knew after getting that 9-point I had a chance, but Tiare (Thompson) is such a good surfer so I never thought I had it in the bag. I just kept wanting to push my second score higher to make it unreachable for her. But, I'm just happy to get the win in the end.
This marked the extensive work of WSL's equal pay campaign that helped encourage event promoters in adding women's event - something that WRV Operations Manager LG Shaw already had cooking up in the years leading up to this big debut.
"The atmosphere at this event is second-to-none with everyone having a good time, both in the jersey and spectators who come to watch, so to have the women add to that and bring a new dynamic is something we're looking forward to," expressed Shaw ahead of the 2018 event. "It's only natural that the outstanding talent that the new generation of women are showing is given an opportunity to shine at one of the most beautiful locations on the QS."
Now the women rejoin the men after the two-year hiatus due to COVID 19 and look to make their mark once more with Zoe Benedetto looking to defend her event title.
Brasilian Back-to-Back Dominance
Two of Brasil's emerging talents who are now taken with more precaution following breakthrough, back-to-back years put their stamp on this event for their fellow countrymen. Gabriel Farias and Renan Pulga took down the WRV Outer Banks Pro pres. by Pacifico in 2017 and 2018, respectively, with brilliant performances.
Farias' backhand barrel-riding display earned him a spot into the Quarterfinals before putting on a showcase of aerial antics on finals day - ultimately taking out Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Stevie Pittman in a nail-biting Final. This marked the first win by an international at the event in its history and Farias' first.
"All the heats before that Final I landed my first air, but when I didn't in the Final I was so bummed," said Farias following his victory. "But, then I landed that alley-oop for a 9-point score and my friends on the beach were keeping me updated with signals so I got excited to move into first after that."
The next year witnessed four Brasilians on track for finals day with Pulga leading the charge alongside QS veteran Alan Donato, newcomer Fernando Junior, and now-California resident Wesley Santos. But, Pulga and Donato's head-to-head dual in the Quarterfinals jumpstarted Pulga's race to the end where he overpowered Floridian standout Chauncey Robinson.
Asher Nolan's Three Event Titles
The most-winningest surfer of the men's event now helps manage upcoming talents and embraces the coaching/photographer role while still showing the next generation how it's done. Jacksonville Beach, Florida's, Asher Nolan earned his third event title (including amateur events) in 2015 over Puerto Rico's surging talent at the time Brian Toth - who also now passes his knowledge down to the island up-and-coming competitors.
The goofyfooter's powerful approach wreaked havoc on the stormy conditions utilizing his backhand to overcome to-be 2016 North America QS Regional Champion Kilian Garland, fellow Jacksonville Beach competitor Evan Thompson and then the epic conclusion over Toth.
""Every win always has that good feeling and this one especially feels great," said Nolan after his 2015 victory. "I put everything I had left into that heat and events like these are intense both mentally and physically -- you just feel drained and the reward is so amazing. I'm not in that mindset of competing every week, I love the long breaks and focusing on work outside of competing but it's great to get a win."
Michael Dunphy Sweeps East Coast Events
Virginia Beach, Virginia's, own started his East Coast sweep at the Vans Pro before moving south and decimating the WRV Outer Banks Pro pres. by Pacifico in 2014. It became Dunphy's best run toward CT qualification of the 31-year-old's career - finishing No. 27 on the QS rankings.
"To win in front of my family and friends, when I've been doing this contest for so long is the best feeling ever," expressed Dunphy after his 2014 victory. "It's crazy."
He became the first Virginia Beach born-and-raised to win the ECSC in 33 years - dating back to Wes Laine's victory in 1981 - taking down now CT standout Deivid Silva.
Tune in LIVE beginning September 1 - 5 for the WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico's continued history.