brett simpson air at huntington beach pier

Brett Simpson Headlines The 2018 Jack’s Surfboards Pro

The prestige of California’s Huntington Beach Pier speaks for itself, with competitions held on its shores each of the last six decades spanning back to the inaugural U.S. Championships in 1959. Last year’s inaugural Jack’s Surfboards Pro is back to help carry the torch March 23 – 25 as a men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1,500 event and will have a live webcast from start to finish.

For the men’s QS, this iconic stretch of break is becoming a second home — now with three events in two consecutive years held there. It’s a welcomed opportunity for those looking to keep the jersey on between major events, and can also provide a Top 10 keeper as a win, and help push new talents up the rankings early on.

Local boy Brett Simpson poses with a fan after his round two heat at the 2016 Vans US Open of Surfing, Huntington Beach, CaliforniaIt wouldn’t be a contest at HB without Brett Simpson.WSL / JACKSON VAN KIRK

One of Huntington’s most revered competitors, Brett Simpson, is gearing up to get the jersey back on after taking a brief hiatus. This marks the two-time Vans US Open of Surfing victor and former Championship Tour (CT) surfer’s, first event of 2018 with a shift of priorities away from the competitive scene.

“I’ve just been doing some stuff at home with Hurley and the local groms around the community,” Simpson said. “It’s super cool for me to see the youth get fired up, and give them some knowledge of what I have learned over the years of traveling and competing. Getting back on tour isn’t the end all for me. I’m going to be doing some events, I’m not going to lie I’d be fired up if I got back there — but it’s not everything anymore.”

Brett Simpson of the USA placed third in Heat 24 of Round Two at the VANS US Open of Surfing in 4 - 5 foot conditions at Huntington Beach, California, USA.Simpo’s air game is still one to take note of among the rising talent who continue pushing the bar.WSL / SEAN ROWLAND

“I get a lot of joy out of [helping the groms],” Simpson added. “I know when I was young I would always ask a bunch of questions and just try to soak up anything I could from pros that I would interact with. That stuff is priceless. That’s what I want to share with our youth around here and help them get better at surfing and be even better people.”

Though Simpson may be shying away from the QS’s full-time grind, his goals haven’t changed when it comes down to a contest being held in his backyard. The 33-year-old keeps his blades sharp in every type of wave the beachbreak brings and his competitive experience goes unmatched when compared to the surfers in attendance.

“Every time I surf an event at home I want to win,” Simpson said. “I feel like I should just with how much time I surf out there. It doesn’t always work out that way, though I’ve had two monumental wins that put me on the world stage and helped me have an amazing career! So another win would be another notch on the belt. It’s going to be fun competing against some of these younger guys and hopefully, have a few competitive battles to get the juices flowing.”

Jack’s Surfboards celebrated its shop’s doors being open for 60 years with this event last year and the outpour of positive feedback from surfers, and the community helped push for the event’s return. Jack’s Surfboards co-owner Jamal Abdelmuti and event director Scott Waring received praise on all fronts — dubbing the contest set up a “mini Vans US Open.”

Hizunome Bettero (BRA) earning his first-ever chair-up the beach on the QS at the Jack's Surfboards Pro.But, defending event winner Hizunome Bettero is back to reclaim his throne and kickstart his 2018 season.WSL / ANDREW NICHOLS

The 2018 edition’s list of competitors is one to be wary as it continues to draw in talent from around the globe — including defending winner, Brazilian Hizunome Bettero and his fellow countrymen, former CT competitor, Alex Ribeiro.

Beyond that, there is an array of talent ranging from North America’s QS veterans to emerging talents and even a few threats to the Top 10 of 2018 that include Volcom Pipe Pro victor Joshua Moniz.

The Jack’s Surfboards Pro will run at the Huntington Beach Pier, California, March 23 – 25 and will be webcast LIVE.


Story by Andrew Nichols/WSL