Alyssa Spencer - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Men and Women Top Seeds Take Over Florida Pro – WQS News

- Women Finish Round 2 Affairs Before Men Get Their Event Underway - Hennessy, Spencer, and Fellow Top Seeds Continue To Flourish in Women's Event - Defending Event Champ Geiselman and California's Rapoza Lead The Men's Charge
Brisa Hennessy - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Brisa Hennessy (CRI) surfing her Round 2 heat at the Florida Pro QS 3,000 on Wednesday, January 16, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

SEBASTIAN INLET, Florida/USA (Wednesday, January 16, 2019) – The World Surf League (WSL) Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) Florida Pro fired back into an extensive day of action with both the men and women competing. The women's QS 3,000 finished Round 2 affairs and top-seeded surfers staked their claim into Round 3 with dynamic performances in the three-to-four foot conditions on offer. Following women's Round 2, men began their Florida Pro QS 1,500 event and powered through Rounds 1 and 2, Heats 1-4, to close an exciting day of competition.
One of the top event threats Brisa Hennessy (CRI) came out explosive in her debut to start Wednesday’s action and earned an excellent 8.00 (out of a possible 10). The Costa Rican representative was able to accrue a 13.57 (out of a possible 20) heat total by capitalizing on solid sections. But, the 19-year-old feels there’s still room for improvement with a lot of contest left.
"It’s always a great feeling to start with an excellent score and I think it helps with your confidence and getting the first heat jitters out of the way -- especially when it’s the first contest of the year," Hennessy said. "I’ve realized how important it is to have an alert and open mind out here, and I just wanted to stay busy and look for the best scoring opportunities. Going forward I hope to better my wave selection, my speed, and just getting more in tune with the lineup."
Alyssa Spencer - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Alyssa Spencer (USA) surfing her Round 2 heat at the Florida Pro QS 3,000 on Wednesday, January 16, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Round 2 Heat 15 featured two of North America’s top Pro Junior talents, 2017 North America Regional Champ Alyssa Spencer (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Samantha Sibley (San Clemente, Calif.), going toe-to-toe alongside Japanese competitor Julie Nishimoto. Spencer looked to be on her way out of the contest sitting in third until the final two minutes when she was gifted a gem and didn’t waste it to move right into first. However, Sibley was then pushed to third and Nishimoto advanced behind Spencer.
“That was crazy. I knew coming into that heat all the girls were capable of dropping big scores so I knew those smalls scores at the start would be thrown out,” Spencer said. “It was a little bit stressful just sitting in third for a while, but I thought if the wave came through then I could get the score. You could be the best surfer in the world and not have a good wave come to you so that was really nice to get that chance. I was definitely feeling the first heat jitters, but I’m excited to get that one out of the way and start the year off here.”
Camilla Kemp - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Camilla Kemp (PRT) surfing her Round 2 heat at the Florida Pro QS 3,000 on Wednesday, January 16, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Also earning debut wins, Camilla Kemp (PRT), Sara Wakita (JPN), Maud Le Car (FRA), Leticia Bilbao Canales (ESP), and Mahina Maeda (JPN) are all through to Round 3.
Maud Le Car - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Maud Le Car (FRA) surfing her Round 2 heat at the Florida Pro QS 3,000 on Wednesday, January 16, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Competition then shifted to opening rounds of the Florida Pro Men’s QS 1,500 and surfers were eager to get their affairs in the books. The top seeds showcased their authority in decisive manner with big performances from the start that many carried into Round 2 bouts.
Defending event champion Evan Geiselman (New Smyrna Beach, Fla.) unleashed an excellent 8.17, and 14.00 heat total, to start men’s competition off in Round 1 Heat 1 against his brother Eric. Geiselman wasn’t done yet and pushed his Round 2 performance to the next level with one of the day's highest heat total of a 15.57. The 24-year-old is in search of his third Florida QS title and showed he’s one to beat yet again.
“It's funny because after the whole Hawaii leg I actually took a few weeks off surfing and had a fun New Year in the snow," Geiselman said. "Just had to take some time away and got back into it just about a week ago so now I'm fired up for this one and to compete again. We had my brother so fired up to do it and that was a bummer, but he hasn't done a contest in five years so we had fun (laughs) so it was just cool having in the water. It definitely builds on the confidence to get those scores, this panel has some guys that do the whole year around the world so it feels great to start like that.”
The Barbados natives are representing their island nation well this week with both Chelsea Tuach and Chelsea Roett through yesterday, and Josh Burke leading their charge on the men’s side with an impressive Round 1 debut today -- joined by Che Allan into Round 3. Burke posted a solid 14.47 with his aerial attack and aggressive carves. But, this event is simply a stepping stone for Burke.
“I was surprisingly not nervous, which I usually am especially being the first heat of the year, but I felt good in my freesurfs which helped,” Burke said. “You just had to stay busy out there and it really paid off getting those scores. The waves are different from last year, but you can still do big turns out there, it’s not groveling which is nice. This year I’m really just focused on the big events since I’m into the QS 10,000s so this is a great momentum builder event.”
Floridian Robbie McCormick (Flagler Beach, Fla.) stormed his way through a Round 1 win with dynamic surfing on his backhand and forehand. Last year marked the 18-year-old’s last season as a Pro Junior, one he started late yet had an incredible run at the Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro and Pro Junior in Cocoa Beach, and is now a full-time QS campaigner. McCormick knows every bit of success helps and has his eyes set on more.
“It feels really good to get that first heat down with a win,” McCormick said. “I’ve been surfing back home and it’s been small so I knew what to do to with my technique for those quick scores. Every heat win is more confidence and that’s something I learned from the event in Cocoa Beach. I’m going to try and do more events than I did last year to start building points and work my way up.”
While the top seeds flourished, upsets were scattered throughout the day and the heaviest one came in Round 1 Heat 13. 2018 North America No. 2 Kevin Schulz (San Clemente, Calif.) sat in an advancing position behind Florida’s Noah Schweizer (New Smyrna, Fla.), who won the heat, until the final moments when fellow Californian Sean Woods (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) threw a Hail Mary air-reverse to steal the runner-up spot.
“I never throw airs in heats so it feels really good to land something like that,” Woods said. “In the past I’ve surfed heats safe and I wanted to change that this season. This year I just want to go for it so it’s great that it worked out like that.”
Also notching Round 2 wins to end the day, Californians John Mel (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and Jackson Butler (San Diego, Calif.) are into Round 3 alongside the day’s top performer Nolan Rapoza (Long Beach, Calif.) -- who posted an excellent 8.60 and 15.87 heat total, the event’s highest.
Sara Wakita - PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

Sara Wakita (JPN) surfing her Round 2 heat at the Florida Pro QS 3,000 on Wednesday, January 16, 2018. PHOTO: © WSL/ John Ferguson

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.
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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.
Remaining Women’s Florida Pro QS 3,000 Round 2 (H9-16) Results: Heat 9: Brisa Hennessy (HAW) 13.57, Emily Nishimoto (JPN) 10.03, Keala Tomoda-Bannert (HAW) 9.63, Brooke Young (USA) 4.70 Heat 10: Melanie Suarez-Diaz (CNI) 9.04 , Meah Collins (USA) 6.90, Rachel Wilson (USA) 2.53, Minori Kawai (JPN) Withdrawn Heat 11: Camilla Kemp (PRT) 11.00, Summer Macedo (HAW) 9.83, Neis Lartigue (FRA) 6.74, Cassidy McClain (USA) 3.30 Heat 12: Sara Wakita (JPN) 9.16, Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 6.84, Brooke Daigneault (USA) 3.87, Ava McGowan (USA) 3.46 Heat 13: Maud Le Car (FRA) 11.43, India Robinson (AUS) 9.90, Kayla Durden (USA) 6.60, Havanna Cabrero (PRI) 4.86 Heat 14: Leticia Canales Bilbao (ESP) 7.40, Uhaina Joly (FRA) 6.60, Eveline Hooft (NDL) 4.60 Heat 15: Alyssa Spencer (USA) 10.20, Julie Nishimoto (JPN) 9.87, Samantha Sibley (USA) 9.40 Heat 16: Mahina Maeda (JPN) 11.73, Brianna Cope (HAW) 10.93, Freya Prumm (AUS) 9.30, Maddie Garlough (USA) 6.70
Women’s Florida Pro QS 3,000 Round 3 Match Ups: Heat 1: Leilani McGonagle (CRI), Sophie McCulloch (AUS), Zoe McDougall (HAW), Chelsea Roett (BRB) Heat 2: Autumn Hays (USA), Josefina Ane (ARG), Tiare Thompson (USA), Chelsea Tuach (BRB) Heat 3: Zoe Benedetto (USA), Cannelle Bulard (FRA), Rachel Presti (DEU), Carol Henrique (PRT) Heat 4: Nao Omura (JPN), Olivia Pessanha (USA), Tia Blanco (PRI), Caroline Marks (USA) Heat 5: Brisa Hennessy (HAW), Melanie Suarez Diaz (CNY), Summer Macedo (HAW), Kirra Pinkerton (USA) Heat 6: Emily Nishimoto (JPN), Meah Collins (USA), Camilla Kemp (PRT), Sara Wakita (JPN) Heat 7: Maud Le Car (FRA), Leticia Canales Bilbao (ESP), Julie Nishimoto (JPN), Brianna Cope (HAW) Heat 8: India Robinson (AUS), Uhaina Joly (FRA), Alyssa Spencer (USA), Mahina Maeda (JPN)
Men's Florida Pro QS 1,500 Round 1 Results: Heat 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) 14.00, Michel Flores (BRA) 10.73, Eric Geiselman (USA) 8.10, Ben Wingate (USA) 4.90 Heat 2: Derek Gomes (VEN) 8.14, Jackson Butler (USA) 7.43, Yuri Schoenau (BRA) 7.10, James Hogan (USA) 5.93 Heat 3: Cobie Gittner (USA) 11.77, Luke Gordon (USA) 11.33, Namor Cayres (BRA) 6.73, Joshua Chester (HAW) 3.57 Heat 4: Ryan Huckabee (USA) 10.94, Colt Ward (USA) 8.97, William Hedleston (USA) 7.63, Blayr Barton (USA) 7.07 Heat 5: Chauncey Robinson (USA) 12.33, Quentin Turko (USA) 8.83, Dustin Richardson (USA) 5.76, Frank Chenault (USA) 0.00 Heat 6: Tommy Coleman (USA) 11.50, Braden Jones (USA) 11.03, Davi Toledo (BRA) 9.90, Kai Delorenzo (USA) 5.14 Heat 7: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 11.20, Hagan Johnson (USA) 10.14, Parker Swoish (USA) 7.03 Heat 8: Che Allan (BRB) 11.70, John Mel (USA) 9.83, Ethan Mudge (USA) 8.40, Chase Modelski (USA) 8.20 Heat 9: Josh Burke (BRB) 14.47 Logan Hayes (USA) 12.24, David Dorne (GLP) 10.43, Colin Shinn (USA) 5.83 Heat 10: Jeremy Carter (USA) 14.27, Fergus Kelly (USA) 8.57, Sterling Foster (USA) 7.06Giorgio Gomez (USA) 5.94 Heat 11: Robbie McCormick (USA) 13.40, Tyler Gunter (USA) 12.34, Phillippe Chagas (BRA) 9.47, Alex Fry (USA) 5.50 Heat 12: Stevie Pittman (USA) 9.60, Dylan Hord (USA) 8.53, Logan Hofstetter (USA) 7.53, Kalum Temple (CAN) 5.13 Heat 13: Noah Schweizer (USA) 12.70, Sean Woods (USA) 11.20, Kevin Schulz (USA) 10.73, Andrew Fletcher (USA) 3.70 Heat 14: Franklin Serpa (BRA) 12.57, Austin Neumann (USA) 10.80, Jose Lopez (VEN) 8.50, Cole Deveney (USA) 4.70 Heat 15: Michael Dunphy (USA) 10.30, Brandon Todd (USA) 9.40, Keoni Lasa (EUK) 5.93, Ryan Goerig (USA) 0.43 Heat 16: Daniel Glenn (USA) 13.33, Cam Richards (USA) 12.36, Beck Adler (USA) 7.33, Blake Speir (USA) 5.20
Men’s Florida Pro QS 1,500 Round 2 (H1-4) Results: Heat 1: Evan Geiselman (USA) 15.57, Luke Gordon (USA) 15.53, Derek Gomes (VEN) 10.40, Colt Ward (USA) 9.70 Heat 2: Jackson Butler (USA) 10.63, Ryan Huckabee (USA) 8.50, Cobie Gittner (USA) 5.64, Michel Flores (BRA) 2.46 Heat 3: John Mel (USA) 14.00, Chauncey Robinson (USA) 12.00, Hagan Johnson (USA) 8.70, Tommy Coleman (USA) 8.17 Heat 4: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 15.87, Che Allan (USA) 8.86, Braden Jones (USA) 8.26, Quentin Turko (USA) 6.90
Remaining Men’s Florida Pro QS 1,500 Round 2 (H4-8) Match Ups: Heat 5: Josh Burke (BRB), Jeremy Carter (USA), Tyler Gunter (USA), Dylan Hord (USA) Heat 6: Logan Hayes (USA), Fergus Kelly (USA), Robbie McCormick (USA), Stevie Pittman (USA) Heat 7: Noah Schweizer (USA), Franklin Serpa (BRA), Brandon Todd (USA), Cam Richards (USA) Heat 8: Sean Woods (USA), Austin Neumann (USA), Michael Dunphy (USA), Daniel Glenn (USA)
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