- 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
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 (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.
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.