- WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

Bella Kenworthy, Jett Schilling, and Reed Platenius claimed respective victories at the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro, a men's and women's Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, and Pro Junior. Conditions delivered once more in two-to-four foot swell that provided a Finals Day spectacle as all three victors turned in some of the event's best performances throughout their charge to the podium.

Jett Schilling Fulfills Cocoa Beach Redemption, Claims Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro Title
One of the event standouts, Jett Schilling, posted near-perfection through Finals Day, culminating in an incredible Final showdown over Evan Geiselman.

Former event victor Evan Geiselman clashed with 2022 runner-up Jett Schilling as Geiselman looked to hold the title on East Coast soil. After a solid, 6.17 (out of a possible 10) start, from Geiselman, Schilling's forehand attack earned him a 7.33 and a slim lead before picking apart a Cocoa Beach gem, taking flight to earn a near-perfect 9.17 heading into the 15-minute mark. But, Schilling wasn't to be denied a win two years in a row and upped the ante with a brilliant combination of forehand surfing to earn an excellent 8.33 and put Geiselman in a 17.50 (out of a possible 20), combination situation as time expired.

"Last year I got second and I was bummed, but still stoked to make the Final, and then got second in the Pro Junior this year so there was no way I was getting second in the again," said Schilling. "I just went all out and Evan [Geiselman] is definitely a guru out here and knows this lineup so i just had to go all out. It feels good, confidence is definitely up now and I'm just stoked and ready."

Schilling's Final Day form started in the Semifinals, earning a near-perfect 9.00 against fellow San Clemente, California, competitor Crosby Colapinto before another near-perfect Final performance. Now, Schilling, sitting at No. 2 on the rankings, and the men's QS head for Dominican Republic for one of the last two events of 2022/23'.

Bella Kenworthy Breaks Through, Maiden WSL Victory At Ron Jon Quiksilver And ROXY Pro
San Clemente, California's, upstart powered her way to a first-ever WSL win, sweeping both the Pro Junior and QS in incredible form.

A showcase of North America's rising talents clashed in the women's QS Final with Bella Kenworthy facing off with recent SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay runner-up Sanoa Dempfle-Olin. Kenworthy kicked off her fourth QS Final appearance of 2022/23' with an early, 10.56 heat total, lead, but Dempfle-Olin answered back in a solid exchange as she took the lead for only a moment before Kenworthy's 6.83 dropped to regain it right back.

"It feels good to finally get a win after four Finals and I'm super happy," said Kenworthy. "I was just trying to focus and not meltdown in the Final and I'm excited to prepare for Barbados now. It felt really good to be dropping high scores through this event and I'm ready for the next one."

Kenworthy's impressive Finals Day run began with a dismantling, 15.00 heat total performance over Costa Rica's in-form Rubiana Brownell. With her victory, Kenworthy extends her No. 2 rank heading into the final event of 2022/23', the Barbados Surf Pro QS 5,000 presented by Diamonds International.

Bella Kenworthy (USA) Kenworthy's consistency to produce excellent scores paved the way to her maiden Pro Junior victory. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

A heavily-contested women's Pro Junior Final witnessed an in-form Kenworthy faced off against maiden, WSL Pro Junior Final appearances from Candelaria Resano, Kylie Pulcini, and Talia Swindal. Kenworthy continued her incredible form, opening the heat with an excellent 8.33 and carried the lead heading into the halfway mark with a 12.66 heat total as Pulcini held firm in second-place. Swindal's forehand attack edged her into the runner-up position heading into the dying minutes as Pulcini and Resano's final efforts weren't enough, and Kenworthy earned her first-ever WSL chair-up the beach in victory.

"I'm so happy to get my first Pro Junior and QS win on the same day and break my streak of seconds," added Kenworthy. "It was so much fun sharing a Final with one of my best friends [Talia Swindal]. This whole event we were talking about getting 1 and 2, so I'm super happy it happened. Thank you Cocoa Beach for sending us good waves all week."

Swindal now moves to No. 1 in the rankings with Kenworthy right behind her, and Resano moving to No. 3 ahead of their last opportunity to claim a World Junior Championships spot.

Reed Platenius (CAN) A maiden, WSL chair-up for Reed Platenius (CAN) moved him to No. 1 on the North America Pro Junior rankings. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

A nearly all-San Clemente men's Pro Junior Final featured Schilling, Taj Lindblad, and Luke Wyler up against Canada's Reed Platenius in a showdown of next generation Challenger Series hopefuls. Schilling's combination of aerial assault and power surfing earned him a 6.67 to start the heat before Platenius took control heading into the back half of the affair and added a brilliant, 7.67 on his aggressive forehand to extend his lead.

The ocean didn't cooperate with Schilling, Lindblad, or Wyler to respond as Platenius sealed his maiden WSL victory in great fashion, moving him to No. 1, as he heads into the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia looking to seal his place into the World Junior Championships.

"This means everything, I didn't make a single heat in last year's Pro Junior events so to get a second and now a first is incredible," said Platenius. "I've watched Jett [Schilling] and Taj [Lindblad] win these things, and Luke [Wyler] is a really good friend so to share a Final with them was really special. I'm so thankful and it doesn't even feel real yet, but I'll head to Barbados looking to have fun and try to back this up."

The North America Qualifying Series now prepares for the Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Windy City Cabarete, a men's QS 3,000, beginning March 15 - 19.

The North America Pro Junior season will conclude at the Live Like Zander Junior Pro presented by Diamonds International In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia, beginning March 27 - April 2.

Top-Tier Clashes Determine Finals Day Draws

An elite level of surfing pushed moving day performances at the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro, a men's and women's Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, and Pro Junior. Two-to-three foot, inconsistent swell provided moments of high-performance action with some of the region's top talents putting on a show in the men's and women's QS Round of 16, and Quarterfinals, alongside men's Pro Junior Quarterfinals to set up a big finish to competition.

Jett Schilling (USA) Schilling's relentless backhand paved the way to back-to-back Finals Day appearances in Cocoa Beach - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

Some of the region's best clashed in the men's Round of 16 affairs with some clutch performances from the likes of Crosby Colapinto taking down a super heat featuring defending QS victor Michael Dunphy, defending Pro Junior victor Tommy Coleman, and World Junior Championships star Alan Cleland, also advancing. Tao Rodriguez, Cole Houshmand, and Jett Schilling, earning an impressive 14.90 (out of a possible 20) heat total, also notched wins before head-to-head Quarterfinal matchups ensued.

An all-star showdown between 2022 Challenger Series standouts Cleland and Schilling unraveled with Cleland notching a massive, full rotation for an excellent 8.25 with 10-minutes remaining. But, Schilling, 2022 event runner-up, wasn't done as the ocean provided an opportunity in the final two-minutes and the San Clemente, California, competitor unleashed his formidable backhand attack to accrue a near-perfect 9.75.

"I just feel in rhythm with the ocean right now and that heat was insane, Alan [Cleland] rips so that was a good battle," said Schilling. "I haven't been making too many heats the last few events so this feels good heading into the last two events that are next. Now I'm fired up for Finals Day and looking forward to what tomorrow brings."

Brilliant Quarterfinal showings from Rodriguez, Colapinto, and former event victor Evan Geiselman pushed them into crucial Finals Day showings.

Zoe Benedetto (USA) Central Florida's own Zoe Benedetto delivered two dynamic performances to break into the Semifinals. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

The women's Round of 16 witnessed more electric showcases with Florida's own Zoe Benedetto leading the charge, earning a 14.10 heat total. Recent SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay runner-up, Sanoa Dempfle-Olin, an in-form Bella Kenworthy, and Rubiana Brownell all garnered big wins heading into their one-on-one Quarterfinal bouts.

But, it was Benedetto who stole the show in the Quarterfinals in front of her family and friends with a decimating backhand attack, earning a 7.75 an a big heat win. Now, the 17-year-old prepares for double Finals Day in both the QS and Pro Junior with plenty of momentum.

"I'm always a little jittery in the morning even though I'd rather have a morning heat than afternoon heat, it doesn't make it any easier so I'm excited I got it done," said Benedetto. "The wind came up and made it to where either of us could've had an opportunity which is always a little nerve-wracking. I'm glad I'm into Finals Day and last year I got knocked out in the Quarterfinals so now I'm excited to make it to the Final and I'll give it everything to try and win."

Dempfle-Olin joins a dominant Kenworthy, posting an excellent 8.00 in her Quarterfinal affair against Ella McCaffray, and Brownell with clutch Semifinal appearances.

Kai Kushner (USA) Kai Kushner (USA) unleashed his backhand attack for an excellent heat total in his Quarterfinal bout - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Rounding out an exciting moving day of competition, the men's Pro Junior Quarterfinals fired into action to determine their Semifinal draws, leaving only eight surfers in the event. Schilling continued his momentum into the Pro Junior Quarterfinals as fellow Southern Californian Kai Kushner delivered an outstanding 16.90 heat total, the first excellent heat total of the event, to earn his first Finals Day appearance of 2023. 

"It felt so good to finally open up on my backhand and get some scores," said Kushner. "I knew I was going to have to go all out in that heat, it was so stacked. Now I'll just focus on one heat at a time, but I'm super excited to be into Finals Day and looking forward to tomorrow."

Joining Kushner and Schilling into Finals Day, Sam Reidy and Cannon Carr move into the Semifinals with plenty of steam.

Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. EDT for a likely 8:00 a.m. EDT start to Finals Day.

Next Generation Takes Over, Men's QS Field Narrows

Dominant performances continued at the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro, a men's and women's Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, and Pro Junior in two-to-three foot, clean swell pulsing into Cocoa Beach, Florida. The women's Pro Junior Round of 32, men's Pro Junior Round of 32, and men's QS Round of 32 all ran in their entirety to set up weekend action. Heavily-contested, Round of 32 battles unfolded for the men's QS with scattered upsets and impressive performances.

One of the region's standouts, Crosby Colapinto (pictured above), upped the standard with his undeniable forehand attack. The San Clemente, California, competitor garnered a round's best, 14.95 (out of a possible 20) heat total and 7.95 (out of a possible 10). Colapinto's Semifinal finish in Pismo Beach and Quarterfinal result in Morro Bay helped set himself up for a big finish.

"This is the best Cocoa Beach I feel like we've ever had and I had a lot fun out there," said Colapinto. "Jett [Schilling] and I practice heats with each other almost every day back home so it's cool to have him in a heat going back and forth. It's good to get more time in the jersey and I'm excited to do these next three events."

Tao Rodriguez (PAN) Tao Rodriguez (PAN) took to the air for one of the biggest heat wins of his young career. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Panama's Tao Rodriguez found himself matched up against some of the region's best including Cam Richards, former event victor Josh Burke, and rising threat Ryan Huckabee. Rodriguez's aerial abilities and solid heat management helped secure a 7.50 and 13.65 heat total for a crucial win as Burke battled back to earn an advancing position over East Coast duo Richards and Huckabee.

"That heat was super stacked and I just wanted to surf to my maximum potential because I knew that's what it would take," said Rodriguez. "I've watched guys like Cam Richards in past events and knew he was going to be hard to beat, but that's motivation and that's what I want to do is get first. It's my second full year on the QS and I lost in first round of both events here last year so I just wanted to do better."

A clash of former event victors, defending winner Michael Dunphy and 2020 victor Kei Kobayashi, unraveled as the two battle for advancing spot behind an in-form Blayr Barton. Also joining Barton into the Round of 16 with big heat wins, 2018 event winner Evan Geiselman, Ryland Rubens, Alan Cleland, and Noah Schweizer look for their Finals Day appearances.

Bella Kenworthy (USA) Bella Kenworthy (USA) delivered once more, this time in her Pro Junior debut, with near-perfection. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

After an excellent showing in her QS debut, Bella Kenworthy turned it up a notch in her opening Pro Junior heat with a near-perfect 9.00 and 15.00 heat total. The San Clemente, California, competitor has her focus set on the Pro Junior and making her way back to the Final after a third-place finish in 2020.

"It was super nice to have everything come together and that was the perfect left that came right to me," said Kenworthy. "It was the best wave I've ever seen down here so I feel like I got super lucky. I'd love to make the Final again and I'm excited for the next few days."

Fellow Californians Ella McCaffray and Talia Swindal join Florida standouts Zoe Benedetto, Alana Lopez, Kylie Pulcini, and Auburn Hilley alongside Costa Rica's Rubiana Brownell into the Round of 16.

Jett Schilling (USA) A buzzer-beater, Hail Mary sent Jett Schilling (USA) flying into the Quarterfinals. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Rodriguez, current North America Pro Junior No. 3, carried his momentum from the QS right into the Pro Junior alongside Kenworthy, respectively, as the San Clemente siege of Cocoa Beach continued with Luke Wyler, current No. 4, earning a big heat win to keep pace with current No. 2 Reed Platenius as both move back into the Quarterfinals. But, it was Wyler's fellow San Clemente competitor, Jett Schilling, who stole the show with a stunning buzzer-beater. 

Moments after Lucas Owston delivered an incredible, backhand rotation for a near-perfect 9.00 and an advancing position, Schilling was gifted one last opportunity in the dying seconds and delivered aerial antics of his own for an excellent 8.25, and a heat win. 

"I didn't think the waves were going to show up at the end and I just got lucky so I'm stoked," said Schilling. "I gave him his 9 under my priority so I was really hoping that wave would come. It's great to be back here after my Finals last year, and I want to win. In order to get a result here you have to win so I'm here to do that."   Also advancing into the Quarterfinals with clutch heat wins, Sam Reidy, Tosh Talbot, Kai Kushner, and the East Coast's own Owen Moss, alongside Cocoa Beach's sole representative William Hedleston all look to stake claim into Finals Day.

Event organizers will reconvene at 7:30 a.m. EST for a possible 8:00 a.m. EST start.

The Ron Jon Quiksilver and Roxy Pro QS 1,000, Pro Junior will run March 8 - 12 at Cocoa Beach, Florida.

Top Seeds Make Their Statements In Big Debuts

The World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro, a men's and women's QS 1,000, powered back into action in two-to-three foot swell providing electric moments from top-seeded competitors. The women's Round of 40 and 32 finished in their entirety alongside the men's Round of 64 with near-perfection, scattered upsets, and clutch performances.

Talia Swindal (USA) Swindal (center) and her good friend Bella Kenworthy (USA) (R) alongside Jason Kenworthy (L) after her incredible performance. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

Women's competition set the tone for a big day of competition with top seeds making their debuts in decimating form. Candeleria Resano (NIC) lit up the Round of 40 with an impressive 14.35 (out of a possible 20) heat total, but it was Talia Swindal (USA) who stole the proceedings in her Round of 32, Heat 7 debut with a day's best 15.75 and near-perfect 9.00 (out of a possible 10). The Malibu, California, competitor utilized her powerful forehand attack and laid everything to the end section of her wave to accrue near-perfection and set the standard for women's competition.

"That felt so good to post a score like that in my first heat," said Swindal. "I've had a couple bad events so it feels good to just relax and make a heat. Last year I was sick so I didn't get to really experience more so this year has been great finding more waves, hanging out, and enjoying it."

Bella Kenworthy (USA) Bella Kenworthy's (USA) vicious backhand earned her an excellent 8.00 - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Swindal's fellow Californian and good friend, Bella Kenworthy, posted an excellent 8.00 of her own just two heats prior and got her Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro campaign underway. Kenworthy looks to better her Semifinal appearance in her first trip to Cocoa Beach last season, but also has her ambitions set on the Pro Junior and a chance to regain ground lost in Pismo Beach.

"The waves were pretty fun out there and gave you a few sections," said Kenworthy. "I was under priority and I was trying to grind the insiders, but that one just kept giving me opportunities. I just wanted to surf a couple more heats, keep the jersey on, and really focus on the Pro Junior so it was good to get the jitters out in the QS first."

Also joining the Round of 16 draw, current North America No. 3 Zoe Benedetto, Central Florida's own Kylie Pulcini, Barbados' Chelsea Roett, Costa Rican duo Rachel Aguero and Rubiana Brownell, and Encinitas, California's, Ella McCaffray all notched big heat wins.

Kei Kobayashi (USA) Kei Kobayashi (USA) is the only male surfer to claim both the QS and Pro Junior so far and showed he's up for the task once more in his debut. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Men's QS top-seeded competitors joined in on the action to provide fireworks of their own with nail-biting upsets and prolific performances from emerging threats, alongside regional veterans.

Former event winner, both QS and Pro Junior, Kei Kobayashi wasted no time reacquainting himself with Cocoa Beach and posted a brilliant, 15.25 heat total with Cocoa Beach's own William Hedleston advancing right behind him. The San Clemente, California, competitor unleashed his backhand attack to accrue an excellent 8.50 before posting a 6.75 and putting his competitors in a combination situation. It's been a tough road for Kobayashi away from the jersey and now he's more determined than ever.

"It's cool, I think the I'm the only one to win both events and I've always had a good showing here which definitely motivates me," said Kobayashi. "I'm stoked to be at 100 percent. I got in a bad accident and I'm alive which is what matters. Now I'm motivated to get my spot back into the Challenger Series and to see some swell here is really exciting so I'm looking forward to the next few days."

Bo Raynor (USA) Bo Raynor (USA) returned to the jersey in dynamic form. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

One of the East Coast's threats when in a jersey, Bo Raynor, went to work alongside Barbadian duo Joshua Burke and Ocean Gittens, and Cannon Carr (USA). Raynor's powerful approach and aerial assault accrued a 15.00 heat total, including an excellent 8.00, as he made his return to competition for the first time since the Outer Banks.

"That was fun, I haven't competed since home so it's always good to the competitive side going and hopefully keep some more in the tank," said Raynor. "If you have fun, it shows in your surfing and I'm just trying to keep it light. There were a few air sections out there so I tried to find some of those, and it's just a good day when you wake up and get to go surf. I'd love to get a big result, but just trying to keep myself centered and you can't force too much."

Also making their presence known in the Round of 64, current North America No.1 Dimitri Poulos, defending event victor Michael Dunphy, Cam Richards, Ryan Huckabee, Alan Cleland, Cole Houshmand, Jett Schilling, Tosh Talbot, Kyan Yang, Will Deane, Wheeler Hasburgh, and Noah Schweizer.

Impressive Showcases Steal the Show On Opening Day

Familiar faces and emerging talents kicked off opening day of the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver and Roxy Pro, a men's and women's Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, and Pro Junior in impressive fashion. Two-foot windswell provided tough conditions that competitors were able to overpower as the men's QS Round of 88 and Pro Junior, Round of 48 got underway.

Noah Schweizer (USA) Noah Schweizer's experience among some of the best in the world has him set up for success near home. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

Former North America QS Regional Champion Noah Schweizer made his anticipated return to the jersey in dynamic form, posting the day's best, single-wave score of 7.25 (out ofa possible 10) and heat total, a 14.50 (out of a possible 20). The New Smryna Beach, Florida, competitor relishes the opportunity to compete near home as he pushes forward to battle familiar, top-seeded surfers in the Round of 64.

"It's only an hour from my house and I haven't done a competition in a while so I figured if I'm going to do one, it'll be here at home," said Schweizer. "I love it and I miss competing, but I started focusing more on life away from the events as I was getting a bit older. But, I'm stoked, it looks like we have good waves all week so hopefully it turns on."

Gabriel Griffin (USA) The QS garnered a few new additions today, and Gabriel Griffin (USA) made his mark. - WSL / Andrew Nichols

In his QS debut, Gabriel Griffin unleashed his forehand to accrue opening day's best single-wave score of a 6.75. The newcomer then backed it up with a 5.85 to regain the lead from Peter Stewart (USA), taking down his first-ever QS heat.

"I'm so stoked to win my first heat, it's so exciting," said Griffin. "I was kind of just scrambling and looking for the good waves. I definitely got lucky on a few and this gives me a good boost of confidence heading into the next one."

Also notching clutch, opening day victories, Barbadian duo Jacob Burke and Ocean Gittens move into the Round of 64 alongside Carl Burger, Derek Gomes, Kole Mazzarella, Benji Lange, Logan Radd, Bryse Celaya, Kai Gale Grani, and Tucker Collins.

Kyan Yang (USA) Kyan Yang (USA) is on the hunt for a big result and started off in dominant fashion. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

Following men's QS action, the Pro Juniors got their competition underway and dominant showcases followed to kickstart their second event of the 2023 season.

Encinitas, California's Kyan Yang debuted in phenomenal form to post the Pro Juniors top performance of a 15.83 heat total, earning an excellent 8.75 in the process. Yang witnessed the World Junior Championships at his home break and now has his eyes set on making it there himself, knowing there's a lot of work to be done with two events left.

"I surfed down the beach and it was so tough, almost unsurfable, so when I went out for that heat I thought it was firing (laughs)," said Yang. "It feels good and I usually don't feel to worried about surfing waves because I'm a smaller guy, and I did so bad in Pismo that I want to do better here. Watching the World Juniors at my home break, I want to be there this year so I'm hoping for a good result." Pictured: East Coast threat Blayr Barton debuted in excellent form. Credit: © WSL / Steinmetz

Blayr Barton (USA) Blayr Barton, right at home on the East Coast and into a heat win. - WSL / Kurt Steinmetz

Entering his last year as a Pro Junior, Blayr Barton set his goals to be a part of the Top 2 by year's end and proved his determination with an impressive, 14.75 heat total, debut. The Virginia Beach, Virginia, competitor's aggressive backhand met the growing windswell in great fashion with an excellent 8.00 as he now prepares for more moving forward.

"That felt good to get a few, clean waves since it's tough to find a good wave," said Barton. "It's so nice to be surfing an event in boardshorts again after the last two events (laughs). I've been having a few tough heats so to really open up in one felt great."

Also moving into the top-seeded round, Lucas Owston, Wheeler Hasburgh, Cannon Carr, Will Deane, Benji Lange, and William Hedleston all earned big wins.

Event organizers will reconvene at 7:00 a.m. EST for a possible 7:30 a.m. EST start.

The Ron Jon Quiksilver and Roxy Pro QS 1,000, Pro Junior will run March 8 - 12 at Cocoa Beach, Florida.

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