Caroline Marks - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Caroline Marks Wins 2019 Florida Pro, Kirra Pinkerton Places Second

- Marks Earns Back-to-Back Wins at Sebastian Inlet, Schweizer Keeps Title in New Smyrna Beach - Reigning World Junior Champ Pinkerton and 2018 Florida Pro Winner Geiselman Finish Runner-Up
Caroline Marks and Noah Schweizer - PHOTO: © WSL / John Ferguson

Caroline Marks (USA) (L) and Noah Schweizer (USA) (R) claimed commanding wins at the second annual Florida Pro. PHOTO: © WSL / John Ferguson

SEBASTIAN INLET, Florida/USA (Friday, January 18, 2019) – The World Surf League (WSL) Men and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) Florida Pro crowned Caroline Marks (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) and Noah Schweizer (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) its respective champions after an electric final day of competition. Marks defended her title in amazing fashion with some of the event’s top performances and Schweizer delivered an outstanding, aerial display that led the way to his first-ever QS victory.
The stars aligned for Marks once again with another dominant performance that culminated in back-to-back Florida Pro victories. The 16-year-old phenom took over the Final against 2018 World Junior Champion Kirra Pinkerton (San Clemente, Calif.) with brilliant wave choice in the wave-starved heat and still managed to post an excellent 8.83 (out of a possible 10) -- the women's top single-wave score. Marks had her eyes on the win all week and made that a reality to continue her reign over the QS rankings.
Caroline Marks - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Caroline Marks (USA) surfing her Semifinal heat at the Florida Pro QS 3,000 on Friday, January 18, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

“It’s pretty crazy having the whole town rooting for you and they’re so supportive that they would’ve been there for me win or lose,” Marks said. “I’ve just been so happy and confident all week that it just felt right. I’m just stoked I got to surf First Peak, it’s one of the best waves there is so that was a great feeling. Every heat I was starting with a solid wave and that put me into a good rhythm until the slow start in that Final. But, Kirra surfs so amazing she could get into a bomb and drop an 8 on me at any point.”
Marks began her day against one of the event threats, Australian Sophie McCulloch, and shut any hopes of an upset down right away with an excellent 8.50 to set the momentum in motion. The Floridian-turned-California transplant now has three QS titles to her name after posting the event’s highest heat total, a 16.10 (out of a possible 20), in her Semifinal bout as she prepares for her second year among the world’s best at the Championship Tour (CT) level beginning in April.
“I think it’s going to be a really fun year and wish this one was another big event, but I’m so happy they were able to bring it back for the opportunity,” Marks said. “Before coming here I had a lot of fun sessions at Rincon and Ventura so I was in a really good head space. This was the same board I rode at the Surf Ranch and it’s magic, I may take it to Snapper. But, it’s going to be exciting year and I’ve been working on so many things like airs and different maneuvers.”
Noah Schweizer - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Noah Schweizer (USA) surfing his Quarterfinal heat at the Florida Pro QS 1,500 on Friday, January 18, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Immediately following Marks’ chair-up the beach to begin the season, an all-New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Final got underway. Schweizer unleashed his aerial assault at the first peak wedge and stomped an excellent 8.50 to start. The wave consistency slowed down with the rising tide and opportunities became scarce, but the 22-year-old was able to back it up with a 6.30 to all but seal his maiden QS win over defending champion Evan Geiselman.
“If I was ever going to win a contest this is how I would have wanted to win my first, right at home,” Schweizer said. “I don’t even know what to feel, it’s just amazing. That was the longest ten minutes ever at the end because Evan can get an eight at any moment, he’s gotten one in almost every heat, but the tide just got on it too much. To see everyone here that I looked up to growing up and taking it out in front of them is pretty nice.”
Schweizer faced off against fellow New Smyrna Beach native Daniel Glenn in his Quarterfinal but brought the fireworks to a much-anticipated Semifinal against an in-form Michael Dunphy (Virginia Beach, Va.). The 22-year-old posted back-to-back, near-perfect scores with two of the event’s most spectacular air-rotations to garner a 19.30 heat total.
“I knew I was going to have hard heats all day and just knew I’d have to do my thing which is big airs,” Schweizer said. “It helps just surfing here since the NSSA days and I love this wave, it’s so fun. I just did this one since it was close to home and see how I go. Now that I’ve done well and got some money I might try to do some more competitions if I can get into them -- whatever I can get into I’ll do.”
Kirra Pinkerton - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Kirra Pinkerton (USA) surfing her Semifinal heat at the Florida Pro QS 3,000 on Friday, January 18, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Reigning World Junior Champion Pinkerton starts her 2019 QS campaign off in great fashion with a runner-up and 2,250 points. The tricky lineup of Sebastian Inlet’s first peak took the 16-year-old out of her game plan and couldn’t find the waves she needed after a brilliant run through the week. But, Pinkerton still was able to cross off one of her key goals along the way and has many more in mind to get done this season.
“Coming into this event I didn’t know how it was going to go with Florida being so unpredictable and getting those points is such a good way to start,” Pinkerton said. “That’s one of the higher results, points-wise I’ve had even after winning Pismo last year. Even against Caroline I knew I had a chance to win after Worlds gave me so much confidence and I wasn’t almost carefree here. Before the event I said I really wanted a heat with Caroline and the only way I could’ve was a Final so I’m stoked to get that heat. I want to prepare for the big events now and see myself in the Top 6 by the end of this season – one of my goals is to get a win in a QS 6,000 so we’ll see how it goes.”
Geiselman started his day with a nail-biter against upcoming talent John Mel (Santa Cruz, Calif.) that went down to the final minutes. But, Geiselman wasn’t leaving his Semifinal to chance and came out of the gates firing with a 16.23 heat total to start over fellow Floridian threat Chauncey Robinson (Melbourne Beach, Fla.). The inconsistent Final didn’t give Geiselman the opportunities he needed to keep his Florida Pro crown, but gladly handed the title down to long-time friend Schweizer.
“Noah kept it in New Smyrna and I’m so happy for him to win it, someone needs to sponsor this kid,” Geiselman said. “He’s one of my best friends for a long time and couldn’t be more excited to see him get it. I was really happy with how I surfed this event and I just wished the waves stayed a little more consistent. First Peak is a quick, one section kind of wave when it’s like this which made it hard on the backhand. There wasn’t much more I could’ve done and I feel like my surfing came a long way last year so I’ll just look to continue that, keep making heats, and put myself in a great position before the end of the year.”
For more information, please visit www.WorldSurfLeague.com.
Women’s Florida Pro Final Results: 1 – Caroline Marks (USA) 15.90 3,000 points 2 – Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 2.66 2,250 points
Men’s Florida Pro Final Results: 1 – Noah Schweizer (USA) 14.80 1,500 points 2 – Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.73 1,125 points
Men’s Florida Pro Semifinal Results: SF 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) 16.23 def. Chauncey Robinson (USA) 11.60 SF 2: Noah Schweizer (USA) 19.30 def. Michael Dunphy (USA)
Women’s Florida Pro QS 3,000 Semifinal Results: SF 1: Caroline Marks (USA) 16.10 def. Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 9.43 SF 2: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 9.63 def. Summer Macedo (HAW) 6.23
Men’s Florida Pro QS 1,500 Quarterfinal Results: QF 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.30 def. John Mel (USA) 13.00 QF 2: Chauncey Robinson (USA) 12.60 def. Nolan Rapoza (USA) 11.80 QF 3: Michael Dunphy (USA) 16.83 def. Logan Hayes (USA) 10.60 QF 4: Noah Schweizer (USA) 12.67 def. Daniel Glenn (USA) 7.00
About the WSL The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world's best surfing on the world's best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, annually running more than 180 global events across the Men's and Women's Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.
Showcasing the world's best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com
Caroline Marks - PHOTO: © WSL / John Ferguson

Finish Line in Sight for Men and Women at Florida Pro

- Decisive Day of Competition Whittles Fields to Finals Day Draws - Women Rip Through Marathon Day to Determine Seminfinalists - Dunphy, Glenn Blast Into Quarterfinals Alongside Geiselman and Rapoza As Heat Winners
Sophie McCulloch - PHOTO: © WSL / John Ferguson

Sophie McCulloch (AUS) - PHOTO: © WSL / John Ferguson

SEBASTIAN INLET, Florida/USA (Thursday, January 17, 2019) – A vital day of competition unfolded at the World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Florida Pro Women’s QS 3,000 and Men’s QS 1,500 with solid, two-to-three foot, occasional plus, swell still on tap. Finals day draws are locked in after the remaining four heats of men’s Round 2, and all of Round 3 were completed before finishing women’s Round 3, 4 and Quarterfinal bouts.
One of opening day's more dangerous competitors returned to that form and Sophie McCulloch (AUS) found her way into the Semifinals with an incredible Quarterfinal start -- earning a 6.67 (out of a possible 10) right away over one of Round 3's top competitors Cannelle Bulard (FRA). The Alexandra Headland, Queensland, competitor is looking for a dream start to 2019 after finishing No. 27 on the QS last season and putting herself in striking distance of a qualification scenario.
"I was lucky to scrape through my Round 3 heat, I feel like the day off I maybe lost momentum, and to regain that confidence throughout the day was great," McCulloch said. "It's really important to carry that confidence into your turns because the judges are scoring those one-maneuver waves. To bring out some strong turns and get over the nerves is huge. Everyone wants to win the first event of the year and that would be a perfect start toward my goal of qualifying so I'm not leaving anything out there."
Caroline Marks - PHOTO: © WSL / John Ferguson

Caroline Marks (USA) continues to reign over the women's field at Sebastian Inlet, posting a 15.34 heat total in her Quarterfinal heat. PHOTO: © WSL / John Ferguson

Caroline Marks (Melbourne Beach, Fla.) continues her reign over Sebastian Inlet, delivering the day's top performance in her Quarterfinal bout over Zoe McDougall (HAW). Marks dropped an impeccable 15.34 (out of a possible 20) heat with her backhand attack. The defending event champion looks poised to reclaim her title but will have a formidable opponent in McCulloch to deal with in the Semifinals.
"It was definitely a lot today getting through those three heats, but I love doing that and surfing so much," Marks said. "Each heat I felt like I was getting better and better, and the waves got better all day which was great. Then going into two-man heats, I felt really comfortable after doing that so much last year on the CT and I loved it. Zoe (McDougall) is such an amazing surfer and dropping big scores every heat so I'm stoked to come out on top of that battle. Obviously, I want to win but I'm not putting pressure on myself to do so."
Also making their mark and earning Semifinal berths Summer Macedo (HAW) and reigning World Junior Champion Kirra Pinkerton (San Clemente, Calif.) are into finals day with their shot at a vital 3,000 points toward their 2019 season.
Following some explosive men's Round 2 affairs, the men’s competition culminated in Round 3 bouts to determine who would move on to two-man battles. Defending event champion Evan Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) and Melbourne Beach, Florida's, Chauncey Robinson were the first to earn spots into the Quarterfinals.
QS veteran Michael Dunphy (Virginia Beach, Va.) now calls New Smyrna Beach, Florida, home and his relationship with Sebastian Inlet was apparent today with a 14.33 heat total. Last year was less than ideal for Dunphy, missing out on the Triple Crown of Surfing for the first time since 2012, and is hoping to turn it all around this season. The 28-year-old comes in with a new mindset and also fresh off a strike mission with Championship Tour (CT) competitors Ezekial Lau (HAW) and Kanoa Igarashi (JPN) straight into business.
“It’s funny since I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to make it here for the event so I’m glad it worked out,” Dunphy said. “I came straight from the airport into my heat yesterday and there are some fun waves out there. I’ve had a couple bad years competing and there have been a couple different things running through my head about what to do, but I love competing. We were having such a good time in Panama and the last thing I had in my head was this event. I love trips like that and then coming into an event, it’s a good balance.”
Fellow New Smyrna Beach resident Daniel Glenn grew up just down the highway in Vero Beach, Florida, and spent a lot of his childhood here at the inlet. The now 22-year-old used that knowledge to his advantage and capitalized on a last-minute aerial attack that saved his Florida Pro campaign. But, it’s all fun for Glenn who has big plans this year, including the Volcom Pipe Pro, and a magic start here is all you need.
“That was a Hail Mary for me and it’s my go-to, you could say I’m a bit of an air guy (laughs),” Glenn said. “I’m just comfortable going up and coming down, but that wave didn’t really have anything else to offer. It’s better going up and landing back on the top of it rather than going for the big hack, coming down with the lip behind you and just getting thrown off -- there’s just so much energy and turbulence. This place is like home to me after spending so much time surfing it and came here when I was a little older when the older guys actually gave me waves so I’m comfortable here.”
Event organizers will convene tomorrow morning and make a 7:30 a.m. EST call for a possible 8:00 a.m. EST for the completion of men's Round 2 and women's Round 3.
For more information, please visit www.WorldSurfLeague.com.
The Florida Pro Women's QS 3,000 and Men's QS 1,500 will run in the best conditions from January 14 - 20 at Sebastian Inlet, Florida.
Women’s Florida Pro QS 3,000 Round 3 Results: Heat 1: Zoe McDougall (HAW) 11.44, Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 6.90, Leilani McGonagle (CRI) 6.47, Chelsea Roett (BRB) 6.40 Heat 2: Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 9.67, Tiare Thompson (USA) 9.36, Josefina Ane (ARG) 8.30, Autumn Hays (USA) 5.70 Heat 3: Rachel Presti (DEU) 10.83, Cannelle Bulard (FRA) 10.77, Carol Henrique (PRT) 9.83, Zoe Benedetto (USA) 8.94 Heat 4: Caroline Marks (USA) 11.57, Nao Omura (JPN) 10.10, Tia Blanco (PRI) 9.10, Olivia Pessanha (USA) 4.96 Heat 5: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 10.60, Summer Macedo (HAW) 9.30, Brisa Hennessy (CRI) 8.23, Melania Suarez Diaz (CNY) 8.10 Heat 6: Meah Collins (USA) 12.40, Emily Nishimoto (JPN) 9.17, Camilla Kemp (PRT) 8.10, Sara Wakita (JPN) 3.14 Heat 7: Maud Le Car (FRA) 10.50, Brianna Cope (HAW) 8.26, Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 7.10, Leticia Canales Bilbao (ESP) 5.97 Heat 8: India Robinson (AUS) 12.44, Alyssa Spencer (USA) 12.03, Mahina Maeda (JPN) 10.97, Uhaina Joly (FRA) 5.34
Women’s Florida Pro QS 3,000 Round 4 Results: Heat 1: Cannelle Bulard (FRA) 13.83, Zoe McDougall (HAW) 13.83, Chelsea Tuach (BRB) 10.10, Nao Omura (JPN) 6.10 Heat 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 14.33, Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 13.23, Rachel Presti (DEU) 12.90, Tiare Thompson (USA) 6.63 Heat 3: Brianna Cope (HAW) 12.13, Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 8.84, Meah Collins (USA) 6.56, Alyssa Spencer (USA) 6.03 Heat 4: India Robinson (AUS) 12.27, Summer Macedo (HAW) 9.33, Emily Nishimoto (JPN) 7.34, Maud Le Car (FRA) 4.83
Women’s Florida Pro QS 3,000 Quarterfinal Results: QF 1: Sophie McCulloch (AUS) 12.67 def. Cannelle Bulard (FRA) 10.54 QF 2: Caroline Marks (USA) 15.34 def. Zoe McDougall (HAW) 9.66 QF 3: Summer Macedo (HAW) 9.43 def. Brianna Cope (HAW) 7.50 QF 4: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 12.16 def. India Robinson (AUS) 5.63
Women’s Florida Pro QS 3,000 Semifinal Match Ups: SF 1: Sophie McCulloch (AUS) vs. Caroline Marks (USA) SF 2: Summer Macedo (HAW) vs. Kirra Pinkerton (USA)
Remaining Men’s Florida Pro QS 1,500 Round 2 (H4-8) Results: Heat 5: Josh Burke (BRB) 12.03, Tyler Gunter (USA) 11.50, Dylan Hord (USA) 10.83, Jeremy Carter (USA) 10.66 Heat 6: Stevie Pittman (USA) 10.40, Logan Hayes (USA) 8.17, Robbie McCormick (USA) 5.53, Fergus Kelly (USA) 1.50 Heat 7: Franklin Serpa (BRA) 14.24, Noah Schweizer (USA) 12.10, Cam Richards (USA) 7.47, Brandon Todd (USA) 7.23 Heat 8: Daniel Glenn (USA) 13.87, Michael Dunphy (USA) 13.46, Austin Neumann (USA) 11.06, Sean Woods (USA) 6.46
Men’s Florida Pro QS 1,500 Round 3 Results: Heat 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) 13.60, Chauncey Robinson (USA) 11.34, Jackson Butler (USA) 9.76, Che Allan (BRB) 7.43 Heat 2: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 13.67, John Mel (USA) 9.90, Ryan Huckabee (USA) 9.54, Luke Gordon (USA) 7.87 Heat 3: Michael Dunphy (USA) 14.33, Noah Schweizer (USA) 11.13, Josh Burke (BRB) 10.20, Stevie Pittman (USA) 10.06 Heat 4: Daniel Glenn (USA) 12.50, Logan Hayes (USA) 11.47, Tyler Gunter (USA) 11.24, Franklin Serpa (BRA) 11.23
Men’s Florida Pro QS 1,500 Quarterfinal Match Ups: QF 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) vs. John Mel (USA) QF 2: Chauncey Robinson (USA) vs. Nolan Rapoza (USA) QF 3: Michael Dunphy (USA) vs. Logan Hayes (USA) QF 4: Noah Schweizer (USA) vs. Daniel Glenn (USA)
About the WSL The World Surf League (WSL) is dedicated to celebrating the world's best surfing on the world's best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The organization, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.
The WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, annually running more than 180 global events across the Men's and Women's Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed Men’s and Women’s World Champions across all tours.
Showcasing the world's best surfing on its digital platform at WorldSurfLeague.com, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Kelly Slater, Stephanie Gilmore, Tyler Wright, John Florence, Lakey Peterson, Paige Alms, Kai Lenny, Taylor Jensen, Honolua Blomfield, Carissa Moore, Gabriel Medina, Courtney Conlogue and more battle on the most dynamic field of play of any global sport.
For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com