VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia/USA (Monday, August 19, 2013) - The 2013 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) 4-Star Vans Pro completed 31 heats on the opening day of competition in peaky one-to-three foot waves at 1st Street Jetty in Virginia Beach, narrowing the field down from 128 to 64.
The 2013 Vans Pro represents the only ASP Qualifying Series event on America's East Coast, drawing several of the country's finest talent and international up-and-comers in search of points towards their ASP World Ranking.
Italo Ferreira (BRA), 18, led the international charge on the opening day of Vans Pro competition, earning the day's high heat total of 16.60 out of 20 for lofty frontside airs and powerful backhand combinations while securing a Round 3 berth.
"I'm really happy to get that first heat win," Ferreira said. "It always feels good to get through that first round. Even though the waves are small, I feel like I surfed well."
Ferreira, a standout on the ASP World Junior Tour, is building momentum on the ASP Qualifying Series and hopes his comfort in the often challenging Virginia Beach conditions will help him net another big result this season.
"These waves are the same as my homebreak in Brazil," Ferreira said. "I've been doing a lot of events this year and I feel comfortable here. Hopefully I can get a good result."
Brad Ettinger (Huntington Beach, CA), 29, dominated two heats today, securing the high single-wave score of 9.03 out of 10 for two seamless backside snaps followed by a committed air-reverse. The Californian would carry the momentum on to his Round 2 match, earning the day's second-highest heat total of 15.84.
"I surfed last night and was frustrated at first and the boards weren't feeling good and I wasn't feeling good," Ettinger said. "This is the third time I've been here and it seems like this wave always produces contestable surf. I go in with low expectations and I have fun every time I come.
Ettinger, a former global campaigner on the ASP Qualifying Series, is spending less time traveling internationally in search of points towards his ASP World Ranking, but admits his selective contest strategy makes each event crucial towards his season.
"This event is really important for me as far as keeping some seed points," Ettinger said. "I've surfed in three events this year and today was the first heat I've made all year. I knew if I didn't make a couple heats here my seeding would get really tough. Every event is critical now and you don't have the throwaways that you used to have. Every event is going to count for me towards my seed for next year."
Jake Halstead (La Jolla, CA), 19, current No. 1 on the ASP North America Pro Junior Series, has struggled to find a rhythm at Virginia Beach in the past, but started his 2013 Vans Pro campaign in strong form with a commanding heat victory in Round 2.
"That heat was hectic," Halstead said. "I needed a score in the end and only had a 5. Guys were dropping 7s and 6s and I just saw this peak paddling back out and I knew the left was going to be good and got three turns off. I've never done too well here, I lost first round in the juniors and QS last year, so it's good to get that first heat out of the way and get the ball rolling."
Kanoa Igarashi (Huntington Beach, CA), 15, earned one of the day's top scores of a 9.00 while taking out two heat wins today and hopes to gain valuable experience in Virginia Beach. The prodigious Huntington Beach local has begun building a seed on the 2013 ASP Qualifying Series in hopes of launching a strike at the ASP Top 34.
"That first heat's always nerve wracking and I didn't put as much pressure on myself as I usually do coming in to this event," Igarashi said. "I felt like if I got the right waves I could get the scores. I love traveling to do events, I love traveling to compete overseas and I think it's so fun. This event is close to home, it's only a couple hours away and I'm still trying to get used to everything."
Igarashi suffered a broken leg earlier this season and is feeling back to 100 percent. Despite the physical recovery, the Californian admitted he's just finding his rhythm again when it comes to competition.
"I just had that broken leg a few months ago and I'm 100 percent and feel better than ever," Igarashi said. "I've been home training and getting fit because I lost a lot of cardio due to the injury. I'm stoked to be here."
In addition to the Vans Pro and Vans Pro Junior, the Coastal Edge ECSC presented by Vans includes a full action sports festival, including BMX, skate, music and more.
The Vans Pro and Vans Pro Junior holds a waiting period from August 19 through 25, 2013 and is webcast LIVE via www.vans.com/ECSC.