- WSL / Cait Miers

The newly formatted path to Championship Tour (CT) glory has a renewed focus on WSL's Regional Qualifying Series (QS) before qualifying competitors for the Challenger Series. One surfer who found his way into North America's Top 10 was San Clemente, California's Jett Schilling. Now, the 19-year-old returns to an all-too-familiar venue of Virginia Beach for the Vans Pro August 23 - 28, a place where he's earned a Final showing, and this time looks for more.

The WSL caught up with Schilling ahead of the Vans Pro to talk all things competition, mindset, plus finding success among friends.

Jett Schilling Schilling's Semifinal appearance at the GWM Sydney Surf Pro helped push him to No. 14 on the Challenger Series. - WSL / Matt Dunbar
WSL: We're heading into the final stretch of Challenger Series events and just warming up the regional QS season, where's your head at after being amongst some of the world's best?

Jett Schilling: My mindset has been pretty good. I'm just playing it by ear and having fun. I want to keep learning and getting better, andd not make any mistakes in my heat. My main goal is to win the North America region this year.

You have the likes of Kade Matson, Cole Houshmand, and some appearances from Crosby Colapinto at that level. What's it like having your friends right there as you all support each other.

It's the best thing ever. Getting to surf with Kade in the Quarterfinals (in Sydney) was nuts. Everyone is there supporting each other, hooting. It's great to push each other in these events and see your friends do well. But, you want to win too so you're in the zone.

Jett Schilling Rides Momentum Into SLO CAL Open Pismo Beach Quarterfinals
Another brilliant showing from San Clemente, California's own catapulted him into a QS career-best Quarterfinal. RunAmuck Photography
Coming into Virginia Beach for 3,000 points, what would a win mean here early in the QS season?

It would mean a lot. If you win one of the 3,000s and get a few more results at other events, you're into the Challenger Series. I really want to win one, I got close in Florida and it made me want it that much more.

Vans Pro: WSL Returns to Virginia Beach
The Vans Pro is back for the first time since 2019 and now has a women's QS 3000 ready and waiting August 23 - 28.

I've made the Final here before in the Pro Junior so I have some confidence but it's a really tough wave. You have to get a little lucky, forsure. I'm just going to go out there and try to beat everyone (laughs).

The Vans Pro QS 3000 begins August 23 - 28 at 1st Street Jetty, Virginia Beach.

World Surf League
Download it for free on the App store. Download it for free on Google Play.