- WSL / RunAmuck Photography

Finals Day is set for the World Surf League (WSL) SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach, a Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 and Pro Junior, after Quarterfinal action concluded for all divisions in two-to-three foot, occasional plus, swell providing impressive performances throughout the day. Head-to-head battles for the QS unfolded into back-to-forth battles as the Pro Juniors four-competitor heats gave way to nail-biting finishes.

Dimitri Poulos Pulls Near-Perfection, SLO CAL Open At Pismo Beach Finals Day Bound
In the dying minutes of Quarterfinal Heat 1, Poulos got a gift and turned it into a sky-high, full rotation for a near-perfect 9.50.

Spectators were treated to near-perfection courtesy of Dimitri Poulos in a nail-biting affair against Barbados' perennial standout Josh Burke. Burke led the majority of the heat heading into the final minutes when Poulos, under Burke's priority, chipped into a running righthander he launched himself from to earn a near-perfect 9.43 (out of a possible 10). Poulos' 16.67 (out of a possible 20) held firm as the day's best heat total as he moved into Finals Day with plenty of steam.

"I don't really go for airs a lot in heats and usually get my scores on turns so that felt really good to pull off in a heat," said Poulos. "Now I'm just hoping not to put myself in that position in the next heat. It can be stressful and the nerves can start creeping in so I'm going to do my best to get the ball moving earlier in the next heat."

Crosby Colapinto (USA) One of North America's rising stars proved his potential with a brilliant Quarterfinal showing. - WSL / RunAmuck Photography

Crosby Colapinto regained his form in the QS jersey and earned an excellent 8.83 of his own to overtake Jabe Swierkocki, joining QS veteran threat Evan Geiselman and Levi Slawson after taking down Taj Lindblad and Jhony Corzo, respectively.

Former Event Victors Clash, North America's Rising Women Shine
Sawyer Lindblad's SLO CAL Open At Pismo Beach Sweep Within Grasp
The 17-year-old continues her unstoppable run at Pismo Beach, this time winning over an in-form Kirra Pinkerton in the QS Quarterfinals after winning her Pro Junior Quarterfinal.

2020 event victor, and current North America No. 1, Sawyer Lindblad continued her flawless run into Finals Day with a Quarterfinal clash featuring fellow former event winner Kirra Pinkerton, after Lindblad won her Pro Junior Quarterfinal heat earlier in the day. Lindblad's impeccable forehand attack led to a 7.17 and 13.84 heat total as she looks to stay atop the rankings with both No. 2 Bella Kenworthy and No. 3 Zoe Benedetto joining the San Clemente competitor into Finals Day.

"My first heat this morning was challenging but that last heat was much better," said Lindblad. "Going against Kirra [Pinkerton] I knew I was going to have to bring my level up, she's such a good surfer and competitor. I'm really happy to be advancing into the Semifinals of both the Pro Junior and QS."

Zoe Benedetto (USA) Zoe Benedetto (USA) is in form and looking for back-to-back QS wins in the 2022/23' season. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Also notching critical Quarterfinal victories, Leilani McGonaglebroke her Quarterfinal curse after taking down Taylor Stacy as Kenworthy had to bring some of her best against emerging threat Lanea Mons, and Benedetto earned back-to-back Semifinal appearances on the QS by overcoming Izzi Gomez.

Only Eight Remain, North America's Top Pro Juniors Vie For First Win of the Season
Luke Wyler Storms Into Finals Day Of SLO CAL Open At Pismo Beach
The San Clemente, California, competitor sent himself into a last-minute, lofty air-reverse to earn safe passage into the Pro Junior Semifinals.

San Clemente, California, has been known to produce some of the nation's best competitors and Luke Wyler is looking to add his name to that list. The 16-year-old garnered a 12.80 heat total to take control in his Quarterfinal, Heat 2, after stomping a lofty air-reverse to earn his way into a first-career Semifinal.

"We were just staying busy, keeping warm and keeping that wave count up which is usually the best plan," said Wyler. "You just have to be on the best waves. That's what wins heats because these guys are just so good."

Big performances from recent Canada's in-form competitor, Reed Platenius, Florida's Ryan Huckabee, and Slawson added their names to Quarterfinal victors and move into the Semifinals with plenty of momentum.

Noah Klapp Leads Women's Pro Junior Charge Into SLO CAL Open At Pismo Beach Finals Day
The German representative unleashed her forehand attack to separate herself from the pack heading into the Semifinals.

One of 2021's breakthrough competitors, Noah Klapp, brought that confidence into the women's Pro Junior Quarterfinals after an unfortunate loss in the QS Round of 16. The emerging German representative earned a solid 11.07 heat total with the help of her formidable forehand, partnered with an impressive backhand attack.

"I'm bummed I lost out in the QS yesterday but it feels good to make a couple heats in this event," said Klapp. "Just trying to keep the momentum going and hopefully make the Final. I was actually born in Barcelona, Spain, and lived there until I was about 11 then moved to California."

Also, reigning North America Pro Junior Champion, Lindblad, 2022 No. 2 Rubiana Brownell, and Nicaragua's returning event threat Candelaria Resano all earned key Quarterfinal victories heading into Finals Day.

Event organizers will convene at 7:30 a.m. PST to determine a likely 8:00 a.m. PST start to Finals Day competition.

Watch LIVE

The SLO CAL Open at Pismo Beach will open on January 23 and hold a competition window through January 29, 2023. Once called ON, the event will be broadcast LIVE on WorldSurfLeague.com, WSL's YouTube channel, and the free WSL app.

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