The World Surf League (WSL) North America Qualifying Series (QS) returns to action for its second stop at the Vans Pro QS 3000 beginning August 23 - 28. A two-year hiatus comes to a close in historic fashion as the women join men's QS competition for the first time at Virginia Beach, Virginia's iconic 1st Street Jetty alongside the 60th Coastal Edge East Coast Surfing Championship (ECSC) - now the longest, consecutively ran surf contest in the world.
History will be made when women's QS competitors hit the water as they join the men's tenth year of Vans Pro competition. The women's first-ever start will feature emerging stars, Championship Tour (CT) qualification threats, such as Alyssa Spencer and Kirra Pinkerton, alongside 2021 CT hopeful and current North America No. 1 Sawyer Lindblad.
But, newcomer Bella Kenworthyjoins the conversation after a breakthrough start to 2021, accruing four-straight finals day appearances, and starting off 2022/23' with a Quarterfinal result. (Full interview in article above)
"It's great that Vans is putting on a (QS) 3000 this early in the season and bringing this event back," said Kenworthy. "I think we're super lucky to have this opportunity and for them to include the girls this time is amazing."
Defending Event Victor Luke Gordon Looks For Back-to-Back VB Glory
Three years ago, South Carolina's own Luke Gordon took down this event for his second-career WSL victory and is gunning for more success this time around. Gordon's terrific qualifying run in 2019 ended with a Top 60 finish before the format change that led to the Challenger Series (CS) took hold. Now, the 22-year-old still has his ambitions high with an fresh head space.
"I really just want to do the best I can," said Gordon. "Whatever happens after that is just gravy. I'm still pursuing the dream of making the Tour, but just focusing one step at a time. I really hope to just absolutely take down some guys though. I miss that feeling and haven't won anything for awhile so I'm just stoked for an opportunity."
Also joining the men's QS 3000 return, 2019 Vans Pro Junior victor Crosby Colapinto and fellow San Clemente finalist Jett Schilling are back. Schilling's moments of brilliance on the 2021/22' regional QS earned him a place among the 2022 Challenger Series and continues to show what he's capable of in competition surfing. Now, the 19-year-old is setting his ambitions higher.
It would mean a lot (to win this event)," said Schilling. "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."
But, they will have to deal with the likes of former event winner and Virginia Beach's own Michael Dunphy, current North America No. 1 Tyler Gunter, multiple East Coast event winner and Challenger Series threat Evan Geiselman, recent Vans US Open of Surfing Semifinalist Eithan Osborne, plus many more in a heavily-stacked field of competitors.
A 7:30am EDT call will determine a possible 8:00am EDT start for opening day action.
The Vans Pro QS 3000 will run August 23 - 28 at 1st Street Jetty, Virginia Beach.