Patrick Gudauskas Wins 2016 Shoe City Pro Title

The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Shoe City ProQS1000 finished competition today in consistent four-to-six foot, rebuilding swell that provided plenty of high-scoring opportunity which surfers did not let go to waste. Ending a marathon day of competition with the men’s Final, Patrick Gudauskas took full advantage of the unrelenting waves and capped it off with an incredible win over Nate Yeomans (USA).

“I’m so stoked to come out of this one with a win at the first event of the year,” Gudauskas said. “It was so fun out there but wave choice was huge because there were some really long ones and if you snagged one of those then you had to make that tough paddle all the way back out. I’m just really psyched to win this contest after an incredible day of surfing – there were some really good battles all day and that just topped it off. Nate’s been surfing well this whole event and to come against him in the Final was great.”

It was not an easy road to the Final for Gudauskas, dealing with Chris Waring (USA) in a dramatic Semifinal. The San Clemente native sat and had to watch Waring take off on a last minute wave that he rode all the way to shore, but was unable to complete the finishing maneuver to pull off a comeback – putting Gudauskas into the Final.

“Waring knows this wave better than anyone,” Gudauskas said. “He was surfing so great out there and when he caught that last wave I wasn’t sure I would’ve been able to do anything out there if he had gotten the score. Those are the sickest heats to be a part of and really test you as a surfer. I had those all day long and couldn’t be happier to make them. I’m really excited for this year after that win.”

Fellow San Clemente surfer Nate Yeomans (USA) put on a showcase of high-performance surfing that took him all the way to the Final. Posting big scores, including a buzzer-beating Semifinal wave to overtake an in-form Dylan Goodale (HAW), Yeomans secured multiple excellent waves but couldn’t overtake Gudauskas.

“That Semifinal heat with Dylan was just scary,” Yeomans said. “I made a couple of mistakes and it all came down to the wire but I was able to get that score on the last wave. But, it’s those heats that really show if you stay confident and give it your best shot sometimes it’ll go your way – there’s just so many variables in surfing you have to be confident in your ability.”

“That Final with Pat was insane and it’s just a great way to start the year,” Yeomans added. “My goals this year are to win events and I was only one spot away from that in this contest. I’m really just focusing on each event at a time and giving it my all. I think by doing that, qualifying and everything will fall into place.”

Making a great run at the first QS title of 2016, Chris Waring (USA) nearly took down Gudauskas on his final wave of the heat – coming just short by .50. Looking back on a great performance, Waring will be able to take away some positives from this event despite the heavy blow of narrowly missing a Final.

“It’s cool that there’s a contest here and I really wanted to win so I’m definitely bummed,” Waring said. “Thought I had it but I got a little too weak on the end section. My legs were feeling really heavy and tried to come in with the paddle out being really rough but just got stuck in the inside. That last wave I needed an 8.90 and came up short with an 8.40 and it was over after that. Pat was ripping though so if I was going to lose to anyone it wasn’t a horrible way to go out.”

Facing off against the in-form Yeomans in the first Semifinal, Dylan Goodale (HAW) was on the wrong end of a buzzer beater and fell just short of a Finals appearance. Despite the heartbreaker, Goodale got his year off to a great start by winning his first two heats and will head back to Hawaii for the Sunset Pro with some momentum behind him.

“It feels good to get the year going and have some fun waves all the way through,” Goodale said. “It was great waking up early to get some surfs in and have a good start to the year. I came out to do some stuff with my sponsor and tried to time with this just to get the jersey on. Definitely wanted to do one heat better but it’s good to get some points and I’ll go back to Hawaii on Saturday to get ready for the next one out there.”

2016 Shoe City Pro Photos

Men Post Massive Scores on Day 2 of Shoe City Pro

The World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) Shoe City ProQS1000 opened Day 2 with the start of the Women’s competition in beautiful four-to-six-foot, clean swell. Winter conditions delivered for a second day in a row on the Southside of the Huntington Beach Pier. Immediately following Women’s Round 1, the Men’s competition resumed with numerous excellent scores posted. Round 2 was completed as well as Round 3 to end the day — setting up the Quarterfinal draws for the Women and Round 4 for the Men.

In the most electrifying heat of the day coming at the end of Round 2, Pat Gudauskas (USA) and Colt Ward (USA) went wave for wave until the final minute with Gudauskas coming out on top. Finding an 8.93 to regain the lead with a 17.76, out of a possible 20, Gudauskas overcame Ward’s heat total of 17.10, who earned an 8.77 and 8.33.

“It was so fun and heats like that are what I did this event for,” Gudauskas said. “Colt was ripping and those types of battles are great to get you back into the competitive mindset — especially with it being the first contest of the year. As long as the waves are fun it’s going to be a great day and love putting up great heats like that. I want to come away with this one, that’s my main goal.”

Continuing to find success later in the day, Gudauskas had the field in a combination situation, meaning each surfer had to earn two new scores to overcome the difference, during the last heat of Round 3. Enjoying his first event back in a jersey, Gudauskas had to surf in both ideal morning conditions and signature afternoon Huntington Beach winds.

“It was such a good day, it’s always fun when you get to surf double heats even though it challenging with it being pretty low tide for the end of the day,” Gudauskas added. “Felt like I rode two waves for 500 yards and then had to paddle all the way back out after the run around which is always fun. Just looking at the heat draws I thought each of my heats today were going to be really tough. But, those waves I got in the last heat were really fun even with the change in conditions, I would’ve been out surfing it if there wasn’t a contest so it was just a great day to be in the water.”

Making it past Round 3 for the first time in his QS career, Lucca Mesinas(PER) was overjoyed when he came out of the water and found himself into Round 4. But, it was his Round 2 performance, earning a 16.10 heat total with an excellent 8.67 single-wave score, that set the stage for advancing on.

“It’s pretty great to have a good performance for the first competition of the year,” Mesinas said. “The conditions were amazing in the morning for my first heat but it got more difficult late in the day. There were some good waves still out there but you really had to find them and capitalize on it by giving the turns a lot of power and find that inside connection. I was happy to find a few waves that allowed me to do that.”

“This is my first QS that I’ve made more than two heats so that’s amazing to me,” Mesinas added. “I would always make the first one and lose the second but I’ve been training a lot to prepare for this event and it feels great to make it through to tomorrow.”

After winning his Round 2 heat in yesterday’s more turbulent conditions, Derek Peters (USA) returned to the water this afternoon with plenty of talent around him, including the in-form Colt Ward (USA), and won his second heat of the event – eliminating Ward. Earning his place into Round 4, the Huntington Beach local is ready for what tomorrow has in store to finish the competition strong.

“Both of my heats between today and yesterday just started deteriorating either the heat prior or during the heat but I surf windy conditions all the time here at home so I feel a little less confused on where to be in the lineup than maybe some of the guys from out of town,” Peters said. “It’s hard to hear with the wind and you have to kind of judge it yourself, but I knew it was a good score and stoked to get two really good waves out there. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow morning and getting some of the glassy conditions that have been coming through. I’m also psyched to be at home and sleep in my own bed and really get set for tomorrow.”

With another exciting day of high-performance surfing completed, the Shoe City Pro will crown its respective champions tomorrow. Look for live scoring at www.worldsurfleague.com and see who will win the inaugural Women’s title, and replace Kolohe Andino (USA) as men’s champion.

Huntington Beach Delivers on Opening Day of Shoe City Pro

The World Surf League (WSL) 2016 Qualifying Series (QS) season opened in great fashion at the Shoe City Pro with glassy, 5-to-8 foot conditions on the south side of Huntington Beach Pier. Reeling A-frame sets offered a morning spectacle for surfers and spectators alike, as well as plenty of scoring opportunity in which competitors were able to take full advantage — blistering through Round 1 in its entirety before finishing the day with heats 1 through 8 of Round 2.

Quinn McCrystal (USA) found that opportunity in both of his Round 1 and Round 2 heat wins. The 25-year-old earned the first heat win of 2016 and continued that form into Round 2, posting the day’s highest heat total, 14.80 out of a possible 20. McCrystal also posted the day’s highest single-wave score with an 8.67 out of a possible 10 during that performance and was excited to put his mental preparation to work.

“I’ve just been trying to visualize everything and I imagined a wave like that before even going out there,” McCrystal said. “What the section would like and how I’m going to react to it — so when that section popped up I really just opened up on the first turn, got two more turns that felt really good, then the end just squared up so nice and I was able to finish it. It’s great to have good heats and all but I want to make the next one so my mind is already into that next heat.”

Keeping his head in a competitive place, McCrystal will look to build off each win at this event and learn as much as he can through that experience — including what may have been considered an error that paid dividends in the long run.

“I always have that mindset of wanting to get the two best waves, doing some good maneuvers and just complete them,” McCrystal added. “It just changes on what the conditions are doing and if they’re different that’s what you base your strategy on and what you choose to do out there. I got one and I should’ve come in and ran down the beach but I didn’t because I was still outside, but it was a huge mistake that ended up costing me some time. However, that put me into position for my best wave so it worked out for the best.”

Malibu local Andrew Jacobson (USA) enjoyed success on the opening day of his QS campaign, earning an 8.00 en route to his Round 1, Heat 14 victory. Joining McCrystal as the only other excellent scoring wave of the day, Jacobson took to his backhand and unloaded on a multiple-maneuver wave. He will face off against a stacked Round 2 heat of Manuel Selman (CHL), Lucca Mesinas (PER) and Jeremy Carter (USA).

“When I first took off I almost thought it was a closeout, but knowing Huntington it was going to back off and luckily it did,” Jacobson said. “I just started with a big floater and then cut it back to stay with the wave and hit it again but then it had a nice end section to finish on. Going backside is easier to get more vertical since the waves have a good slope and you could really throw into it. But I think going right will be the gameplan, they are shaping up better and I’m able to attack it more backside. To start off the heat well felt really good, grabbing the six before that was great for my confidence so hopefully I can keep that going.”

Igniting his year as a Round 1 standout with a 13.50 heat total victory, Jake Kelley (USA) earned his way to Round 3 behind Derek Peters (USA) and dealt with both conditions opening day offered. Kelley stuck with a working formula upon his return to a fresh season and with good reason after a great start to the Shoe City Pro.

“I went into the first heat just trying to shake the jitters with it being the first contest of the year and just get the groove going for the rest of the contest,” Kelley said. “There was a lot of water moving and the wind picked up a ton this afternoon. I went to my car to go change and came back to some heavy winds onshore but it was still a lot of fun, there were waves so hopefully they keep coming. I’ve just learned to expect anything out of Huntington right now — it was glassy in the morning and then just went to really windy and harder to find waves but it’s great to have some waves on the first day.”

“I’m really stoked to get the whole year rolling and there’s been a lot of waves lately so hopefully that’s a good trend for the rest of this event,” Kelley added. “I didn’t make any changes over the break and still have the same equipment with Roberts boards – they’ve just been working so well for me.”

The women will begin their 2016 QS season tomorrow with an 8 a.m. start, followed by the completion of men’s Round 2 at 10:40am and then into Men’s Round 3 to finish the day.