hizunome bettero wins jacks pro

Hizunome Bettero Takes Down The Jack’s Surfboards Pro

After ten long years of chasing the Qualifying Series (QS) around the world, it was on the shores of Huntington Beach that Hizunome Bettero earned his first-ever win at the Jack’s Surfboards Pro QS1,500. It was an all-international Final affair that witnessed contest standout Arashi Kato earn runner-up — the Japanese surfer’s best result of his career as well. It was a marathon finals day that ran 17 heats, including the Final, with both Bettero and Kato surfing five heats to claim their honors over a stacked field of competitors.

2017 Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500 Champion Hizunome Bettero (BRA) (R) and runner-up Arashi Kato (JPN) (L).Inaugural 2017 Jack’s Surfboards Pro QS1,500 Champion Hizunome Bettero (R) and runner-up Arashi Kato (L). – WSL / Andrew Nichols

Bettero was a known threat from his debut Round Three heat, and continued to build that reputation in Round Four with a dominant display of power surfing. The Ubatuba, Brazil-native used his veteran experience to finally breakthrough as an event champion and did so in convincingly. Kato proved to be a formidable opponent and did not give up in the Final til the last horn sounded, but Bettero got the best of each exchange with powerful forehand carves and his signature aerial attack to emerge victorious.

“I have no power left in me after an amazing day and I’m just so stoked to get my first win after ten years of being on the QS,” Bettero said. “It’s the best feeling ever. Sometimes you think it will never come, but if you keep fighting for it and really believe in yourself, God will give you a blessed day. I’ve gotten seconds and thirds, but there is no feeling like winning a competition that you give your everything to. I can’t believe this day is here.”

Hizunome Bettero (BRA) winning his Round Four heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Hizunome Bettero – WSL / Nilton Baptista

The Brazilian trampled through the Jack’s Surfboards Pro QS1,500 and took out former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Keanu Asing (HAW) along the way in Round Five where he earned the highest single-scoring wave of a 9.43 (out of a possible 10) — though he earned the day’s highest heat total just prior in Round Four, a 16.93 (out of a possible 20).

The Brazilian had a taste of the CT nearly a decade ago at the Hang Loose Santa Catarina Pro and came away with an Equal 17th behind Freddy Patacchia (HAW). With a Top 50 finish last year, Bettero has a spot in the highest-rated QS events in the first half of the year and wants to find his way to the Dream Tour as more than just a wildcard. With this result, Bettero just jumped 105 spots up the rankings to be current No. 26.

Hizunome Bettero (BRA) at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Hizunome Bettero – WSL / Andrew Nichols

“I’m fully charging this year and trying to compete in all the QS10,000s that I can to give myself a shot at qualifying — I believe in myself,” Bettero added. “After this I’m feeling much more confident since I had two Round Two exits in Australia so I put my name in here and told myself that I have to do better than that. I know I can do better, but sometimes you deal with the ups and downs, and right now I’m feeling so blessed.”

Arashi Kato (JPN) winning his Round Four heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Arashi Kato posted an excellent in every heat except his Round Two opener and the Final against Bettero. – WSL / Nilton Baptista

Runner-up Arashi Kato began his campaign in Round Two of this event and began claiming scalps right away in Round Three — besting former CT competitors Brett Simpson and again in Round Four against Nate Yeomans. This marks Kato’s best finish on the QS thus far and now has steam heading back to his Chiba home in Japan.

“It feels so good to make a Final after dealing with injury last year and only being able to focus on the Japan events,” Kato said. “This year I have my focus on all of the QS and so stoked to have this opportunity to stay in the Top 100 for the re-seeding after the US Open. Today, surfing so many heats, I’m definitely tired, but that was great training for the year to come. I have so much confidence after beating guys like Brett Simpson from here at his homebreak so that’s an incredible feeling for me. With the QS6,000 at my break in Chiba, I’m just ready to go now and will put all my focus there.”

Dylan Goodale (HAW) earning runner-up in his Round Four heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Semifinalist Dylan Goodale – WSL / Nilton Baptista

Dylan Goodale and Bettero met three times in this event with the Brazilian coming out on top each bout despite Goodale’s best efforts. Goodale progressed through this event under the radar until their Round Four heat where he posted an excellent 8.33, but it was Bettero who found a way to come out on top in the end. However, the Hawaiian’s performance was one to take note toward future events and a challenge he’s up for if the opportunities arise.

“I was really hoping that Semifinal was the heat I’d finally beat [Bettero], but I just made one priority error where I should’ve waited and that was the heat,” Goodale said. “It was great to get that good start in Round Four, but [Bettero] beat me there and that was kind of the pre-cursor for the rest of the day. I’ll just keep doing my thing and trying to gain exposure while doing some more of these events. It’s hard to do more events with all the travel involved so it’ll be great to see more events in North America and Hawaii start to come up.”

Kilian Garland (USA) winning his Round Five heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Semifinalist Kilian Garland. – WSL / Nilton Baptista

Fellow semifinalist, and 2016 North America QS Regional Champion, Kilian Garland had his work cut out for him in a Round Five superheat featuring Kiron Jabour, Torrey Meister, and Nate Yeomans. After coming out with a win in that heat, Garland looked poised for a big result, but it wasn’t to be as he fell to the eventual runner-up, Kato. But, the Santa Barbara, California-native has a big year planned with his first chance to contest in at least one QS10,000 this season in Ballito, South Africa.

“This was such a great event, we had good waves the whole weekend and it’s great to see more events come up in the region to help us get more results,” Garland said. “Last year I progressed further as the season went on so I’m hoping to catch that kind of rhythm again heading into South Africa. I’ll just be training around the Central Coast until then since I’ve heard there’s some powerful waves around Ballito and I want to get there early for a few events before the QS10,000. I’m feeling even better than I did last year so I’m looking forward to hopefully earning even more results.”

WSL / Andrew Nichols

top wqs seeds apss

Top WQS Seeds Debut at Jack’s Surfboards Pro

Top WQS seeds debut at Jack’s Surfboards Pro as Huntington Beach continued to fire on all cylinders with more pumping waves that lasted throughout the entire day of competition. Three-to-five foot, clean waves graced the competitors with a chance to showcase their style and power — and produce near-perfection. Rounds Two and Three were completed in their entirety and the top seeds debuted in phenomenal fashion.

No. 1 seed Torrey Meister displayed his dominance with near-perfection and earned a 9.77 in the pristine conditions on offer. The Big Island, Hawaii-native followed up with another excellent 8.80 to combo the field. Meister came to Huntington Beach following the Australian Open in Manly Beach, NSW, Australia and nearly ended his season with a scary fall in his heat.

Torrey Meister (HAW) winning his Round Three heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500 with a near-perfect 9.77.Torrey Meister – WSL / Nilton Baptista

“It feels really good to be here with some great waves, it’s probably the best Huntington I’ve ever surfed,” Meister said. “There’s a lot of power out here though, some soft spots, but that’s just Huntington and you have to have a trusty board — this is the board I rode at the US Open and felt really confident in my equipment.”

“In Manly I was just doing a backside turn and caught a rail, but when I fell my head hit the sand and I felt my neck pop really hard. It was actually the hardest I’ve hit my head surfing. I almost blacked out a little bit, but we went on hold again so I ran into the medical tent and he said it wasn’t broken. I tried to surf the rest of the heat, but was pretty blown out and then ended up in a neckbrace for a few days — it wasn’t broken though so I’m good.”

Matt Passaquindici (USA) at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Matt Passaquindici – WSL / Andrew Nichols

Matt Passaquindici represented his native break of Huntington Beach well and blasted two excellent scores, an 8.67 and 8.37, to overcome a stacked heat including Hawaii’s Eli Olson. Passaquindici’s only other QS event this year was earlier at the Shoe City Pro QS1,000, due to bothersome injury, where he earned an Equal 13th. But, the explosive surfer looked poised for a bigger result here at the Jack’s Surfboards Pro QS1,500.

“I just feel super comfortable out here and going through the motions like I would in a freesurf,” Passaquindici said. “Luckily Eli [Olson] split the first wave with me to give me that 8.67 on the left and I think that just set up the heat for me. [Jack’s] has been supporting me since day one and I’d love to give it back to them with a win. I see myself in the Top 100 and giving myself a shot at qualifying for the tour someday, but I just took advantage of this semester to get some units done since I had an injury. I still have big goals for myself and we’ll see what happens.”

Jordy Collins (USA) winning his Round Three heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Jordy Collins – WSL / Nilton Baptista

Fellow Californian Jordy Collins came out victorious of an all goofyfooter match up after he went wave for wave against an in-form Manuel Selman, who posted a near-perfect 9.50, alongside Ryland Rubens and Jake Kelley. Collins has spent nearly his entire amateur career at Huntington Beach and showed that knowledge with an impressive showcase of forehand power by picking off two gems.

“I came down here and was pretty excited with everything that’s setup here, this is definitely one of the bigger 1,500s I’ve been to and the crowd on the beach motivates you to do that much better,” Collins said. “I know [Manuel Selman] and how hard he rips, and after I got that first 7 I started feeling a little comfortable — but then he got that 9.50 and made me realize you can’t be remotely comfortable out there. Even after I backed up my other score, I just knew one of those guys could blow up.

“I’ve always seen the guys who get to start in Round Three and skip a few rounds thinking how nice that must be, and now I get to do that. It’s really crazy and I’m stoked to start in the same round as them.”

Arashi Kato (JPN) winning his Round Three heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.

Arashi Kato smashed the last heat of the day with an impressive performance and earned an 8.93 and 8.17 to advance into finals day alongside runner-up Brett Simpson. – WSL / Andrew Nichols

Crosby Colapinto (USA) winning his Round Two heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Crosby Colapinto. – WSL / Nilton Baptista

But, it was Crosby Colapinto who continued the string of California wins, representing the surf-rich town of San Clemente, with an impressive victory over Nate Yeomans, Shuji Nishi, and an in-form Sebastian Williams. The 16-year-old has slowly begun making his way into the QS scene behind older brother Griffin and today was a huge step for the younger Colapinto.

“It definitely helps being a little bigger at a young age and surfing with older guys to work on my power, and my competitiveness,” Colapinto said. “We get really good waves at home so that helps a lot. I grew up surfing in my dad’s surf camp and he got me on a board when I was at least 3-years-old so that was really helpful as well. I’d like to continue school and get my high school diploma before chasing the QS with my dreams of qualifying for the Championship Tour.”

Patrick Gudauskas (USA) winning his Round Three heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Pat Gudauskas – WSL / Nilton Baptista

Some more big performances from top seeded surfers included Pat Gudauskas’s 15.27 heat total to start Round Three, and Keanu Asing’s impressive comeback after being charged with an interference right away and still winning with an 8.93 and 8.10 — his 8.10 was reduced by half.

On the international front, four other countries are well represented between Brazil, Japan, Mexico, and Chile with appearances on the final day of competition.

Kiron Jabour (HAW) winning his Round Three heat at the Jack's Surfboards Pro QS1,500.Kiron Jabour – WSL / Nilton Baptista

Tune in live tomorrow beginning at 8:00 a.m. PDT to see who takes the inaugural Jack’s Surfboards Pro QS1,500 crown.

WSL / Andrew Nichols