Jacks pro apss at huntington beach

Jack’s Surfboards Prepares for Inaugural Event at Huntington

The men’s Qualifying Series (QS) is seeing growth once again, with the addition of the Jack’s Pro QS1,500. In honor of their 60th Anniversary, Jack’s Surfboards will be stepping up as a major sponsor and taking over the Huntington Beach Pier March 31 – April 2 — complete with a live webcast.

For 36 years, Jack’s Surfboards co-owner Jamal Abdelmuti has been part of the retail empire that’s been a key part of the Huntington Beach community since 1957.

“We are beyond thrilled to be sponsoring a QS-level event and better yet to have the event in our own backyard,” Abdelmuti said. “We are excited to be able to give surfers another opportunity to earn those valuable QS points and we are counting down the days to the event. Our business would not be where it is today without the strong relationships we have built over many years and the support from the community.”

Jordy Collins earning runner-up in his Round Two heat at the APSS Shoe City Pro

Jordy Collins earning a solid runner-up behind Brett Simpson in Round Two of the Shoe City Pro at Huntington Beach. – WSL / Jackson Van Kirk

One of those up-and-coming surfers looking for valuable QS points is 18-year-old Jordy Collins. Collins began turning heads at last year’s Essential Costa Rica Open QS3,000 with a Quarterfinal result and is ready for his first year as a full-time QS competitor.

“QS events like this are super important just to stay in contest mode and keep you fresh,” Collins said. “It’s also nice to be competing somewhere I’ve competed my whole life, I’ve probably had more contests at Huntington than anywhere. Last year was a huge confidence booster for me especially after Costa Rica. I wasn’t even chasing the QS full-time and ended up getting some good points so it just made my dream of competing on the world tour a little bit more manageable.”

Jordy Collins will look to regroup for the next QS event after facing early elimination at Virginia Beach.

Jordy Collins – WSL / John W. Ferguson

“This year I want to qualify for the 10,000s so I can really start making a run at the tour next year,” Collins added. “It’s just going to take me grinding away at these lower level events all year long to accomplish it.”

Contest Director Scott Waring has played a vital role in making events happen for these competitors, putting on the Shoe City Pro Men’s and Women’s QS1,000 once again earlier this year. Waring’s taking that experience, and passion, into the inaugural Jack’s Pro QS1,000 to continue the building process with its team of owners.

“I’ve known Jamal [Abdelmuti], Bobby [Abdel] and Ron [Abdel] for 30 years and they have always supported the athletes and the sport,” Waring said. “Jack’s is huge in the surfing community because of this continuous support. These QS events are important because even more than points, young surfers need to learn from their peers. Looking up to the older local ripper and testing your skills against them builds confidence and experience. I want to work toward providing more opportunities at the QS level here at home.”

Keanu Igarashi winning his WSL debut Round 1 heat at the APSS Shoe City Pro.

Up-and-coming surfer Keanu Igarashi. – WSL / Andrew Nichols

No one knows the importance of inaugural events more than the WSL North America General Manager, Meg Bernardo, and Tour Manager, Brian Robbins. Bernardo and Robbins work alongside the contest directors in helping shape these events from the ground up to continue building the schedule in coming years for both the QS and Junior Tour.

“We know how important these regional events are for our surfers to gain points and experience within their home region,” Bernardo said. “It is our hope to keep improving on existing events and create new opportunities for competitors that will help them achieve their goals. We’re really excited to get the Jack’s Pro on the schedule to do just that and give some up-and-coming guys a shot at competing. A QS1,500 level contest really gives these competitors a chance to build their international seeding into next year and keep progressing.”

-WSL / Andrew Nichols

kanoa igarashi wins shoe city pro 2017

Kanoa Igarashi Opens Up 2017 with Another Shoe City Pro Title

Less than two years ago, Kanoa Igarashi was just beginning to climb the Qualifying Series ranks with his first-ever win at the Shoe City Pro. On Sunday, the full cycle was completed with a masterful second title as a hometown favorite in the 2017 edition of the Shoe City Pro QS1,000.

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

“It’s amazing when you set your eyes on something and get to accomplish it — this year couldn’t have started better. I’ve gotten to spend some time with my family and the people I love with a chance to do the contest so I’m feeling really good mentally and physically. Winning this contest the first time I was an underdog and got on a roll as a young kid not thinking I was going to win it. It’s crazy coming back two years later as a favorite with different kind of pressures, but getting that chair up the beach was like déjà vu.”

Kanoa Igarashi wins the 2017 apss shoe city pro

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

It was no easy road for Kanoa Igarashi who posted the event’s highest single-scoring wave of a 9.50 in the Semifinals over an in-form Ian Crane before moving into his final bout with event dark horse and giant killer, Takumi Nakamura. Although Kanoa’s win is just a stepping-stone for his 2017 season on the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT), the stacked field of QS warriors was more than enough to keep him on his toes.

“I know these guys are Top 100 surfers and they were going to come out hungry since it’s a regional event. It means a lot to them in that way which makes them even more dangerous, but at the end of the day I came to compete and give it my all. I’m just excited to come away with a win here and get everything started off right.”

Runner-up Takumi Nakamura couldn’t have dreamt a better start to his 2017 campaign — not losing a single heat until Round Five where he earned runner-up behind Brett Simpson. But the Japan native got his payback with a Semifinal win over Simpson before taking on Kanoa Igaraashi in the Final. Nakamura finished at No. 133 on the QS last year and will be looking to build a lot of confidence, and momentum, out of this placing to start the year.

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

“I’m so happy to have made that final after battling with one of the top seeds here, there’s no other way I would’ve liked to have done it. Matching up with Kanoa Igarashi in the Final was incredible and so stoked to have put up a fight against him. That was an incredible experience surfing against two CT guys back-to-back and helped get some confidence moving forward into the rest of the year.”

Nakamura’s excellent choice of waves eliminated the hometown crowd’s chance of witnessing two of their own go head-to-head as Brett Simpson’srun was ended in the Semifinals after a great event. The two traded three showdowns with Nakamura coming out 2-1. But Simpson’s outlook remains bright and light-hearted as he prepares to make his requalification hopes a reality by season’s end.

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

“It’s always a little frustrating to lose right before the Final, especially because I wanted to surf against Kanoa so bad — would’ve been super fun way to end this one. I felt good rhythm throughout this event and it was great to get some heat cardio in. You can freesurf all you want and feel good, but when you’re in a heat, your heart’s pounding the whole time and it takes all of your focus.

Ian Crane fell victim to Kanoa Igarashi’s sweep of the Shoe City Pro, but not before taking some big scalps of his own — including 2016 North America QS Champ Kilian Garland in Round 5. With the first event out of the way and an equal 3rd to boast, Crane now has his eyes set on a fully loaded spring to start the year.

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

“It was great to feel like I was being smart out there and to put that into a heat. Now I’ll get set for a trip up the coast with O’Neil and stoked on that to get my mind in the right space before heading over to the Volcom Pipe Pro. It’s good to get this first event in and test the waters to see what I’m doing right, and what I’m doing wrong. Definitely not happy I lost and I’m ready to go after another contest with some fire.”

-WSL / Andrew Nichols

Chelsea Tuach’s Back on Top with a Shoe City Pro 2017 Victory

Chelsea Tuach found her way back the the top of the podium after falling off the CT last season. The Bajan came into the Shoe City Pro QS1,000 looking to find her form again and did just that — posting the highest single-wave score of the women’s event with a 9.00 in the Quarterfinals. Tuach now preps for a massive year ahead of her with this nice win to build from.

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

“It feels so good to start off the year with a win after feeling a lot of nerves at the end of last year so this is amazing,” Tuach said. “It was great to surf my way through some rounds and I had a lot of confidence going into that final already having a few heats under my belt. I felt like I was in a good rhythm with a good game plan and it all fell into place, just like old times.”

“I’ll stay in California for awhile and get some training in while working on some boards with Matt Barron before heading over to Australia for those QS6,000’s,” Tuach continued. “I’ll be working on my technique more than anything — no heat strategy, nothing like that, just get my form really dialed in. I’m feeling fresh again for those events which feels great and can’t wait to get the year really off and running.”

Event wildcard Samantha Sibley took full advantage of the opportunity given to her all the way to the Final and finished runner-up. The 14-year-old kept her dream run alive with a massive performance in the Semifinals, topping Tuach, and then getting off to an early lead before the Bajan responded. Still just a Junior Tour competitor, Sibley will keep her main ambition there with plenty of time to grow.

Photo – Mike Moir

“I’m so stoked and had no expectations coming into this event — my goal was just to make it through my first heat, but to get runner-up is awesome,” Sibley said. “I was totally not expecting any of this to happen and can’t believe it right now. This event got such good waves with yesterday being perfect and today it was a bit more tricky, but still so fun.”

Last year’s runner-up, Tia Blanco, found herself in another Shoe City Pro Final but couldn’t keep pace with her early performances during the last heat of the event. Blanco’s aiming much higher than her Top 20 finish on the QS Rankings last year and knows this is just a step in the right direction.

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

“I think being selective throughout this event got me into that final, but I could’ve been more selective in that last heat. I’m really looking forward to Australia now and this was great practice for the upcoming bigger events.”

Kaliegh Gilchrist has transitioned from being a 2016 Gold Medalist at the Rio Games for Water Polo to a full-time QS competitor and started the year off right where she wanted to be — competing for a Shoe City Pro title. Despite falling shy of the win, Gilchrist’s ambitions are nothing short of what you would expect from an Olympian and prepares for a big 2017 after nearly six years away from competitive surfing.

Photo – Jackson Van Kirk

“It was grindy out there but couldn’t be more stoked with my first QS final — it’s exactly how I wanted to start the year even though the competitor in me is frustrated with a fourth-place finish. It lights a fire under me to just train harder and I’ve got a great crew around me with Simmo [Ryan Simmons] and DSC Training so this is the best opportunity I’ve been given.”

– WSL / Andrew Nichols

Storm clears, surf’s up as first pro event of year brings big names to Huntington Beach

The rain stopped, the skies cleared and the waves were pumping.

The kickoff to the competitive surf year didn’t disappoint Friday as athletes battled it out south of the Huntington Beach Pier at the Shoe City Pro, the first stop on the World Surf League qualifying series. Waves were in the 4- to 5-foot range to open the three-day event.

“We luck out every year,” said contest organizer Scott Waring, who said it was pouring rain on workers Thursday as they set up tents on the sand. “It was glassy through the day and sunny. It was awesome.”

The event isn’t a big one for points but draws some big names. Current World Tour competitor and Huntington Beach native Kanoa Igarashi hit the water Friday, warming up for his second year on tour to compete against the world’s best.

Expected to surf today is former World Tour surfer Brett Simpson, who at the same spot won U.S. Open of Surfing titles in 2009 and 2010.

In total, 96 men and 32 women are competing.

When the women hit the water today, Newport Beach’s Kaleigh Gilchrist, part of the gold medal U.S. water polo team at last year’s Olympics, will be competing with a renewed focus, trying to get into the 2020 Olympic Games – this time as a surfer.

Gilchrist, who grew up surfing competitively, won this event in 2014. While she’s done a few contests since bringing home the gold about five months ago, this event kicks off her 2017 campaign as a pro surfer.

“It’s kind of the best possible situation I have, with not too much pressure,” she said. “I’ve been training; it will be a good kick-starter for the first contest of the year.”

She watched Friday as close friend and fellow Newport surfer Victor Done won his heat. She resisted the temptation to surf herself out.

“I was kind of jealous. I’m trying to be conscious about my body and preparing for competitions – it looks so fun, but I knew I’d be exhausted for tomorrow,” she said.

 

-OC REGISTER

2017 Shoe City Pro QS1,000

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif./USA (Monday, December 19, 2016) – The World Surf League (WSL) is pleased to announce the Shoe City Pro Men’s and Women’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000 will begin the 2017 season at the iconic Huntington Beach Pier January 13 -15. Top seeded surfers are already confirmed and the fourth installment of this historically proud event has begun to take shape.

Last year’s runner-up and finishing at No. 56 on the QS in 2016, Nate Yeomans (USA) returns to the Shoe City Pro with some unfinished business. The San Clemente, Calif., native and former Championship Tour (CT) competitor knows the lineup of Huntington Beach all too well and will rely on that knowledge to kickoff 2017 with a good result.

“I’m really looking forward to this event and it’s awesome to start the year off with a local event,” Yeomans said. “Last year was nice to start the year off with a Final. It was bitter sweet, more sweet than bitter. I was in the Final with one of my best friends Pat [Gudauskas]. It was really rad, but of course you want to be the one that wins. I’ll be looking to redeem myself this year.”

Fellow former CT competitor Brett Simpson (USA) proved he’s still one of the world’s elite surfers after his wildcard performance at the Hurley Pro Trestles, eliminating 2016 WSL Champion John John Florence (HAW). After finishing No. 27 on the QS this season, Simpson is back to chase his ambitions of rejoining the Top 34. The Huntington Beach local surfs the pier nearly every day and will be a major threat to this event once more.

“I’m pumped up after a nice finish to the year,” Simpson said. “Besides not qualifying I felt healthy and in some good form so I’m really excited for this coming year. This comp was actually my first pro win, it was a Vans event then, but pretty sure same time and tradition so it always has a soft spot in my heart. Also competing at home in the winter is a change, and the waves have been pretty fun for this event so I’m excited for that.”

Meah Collins (USA) began what would be a momentous 2016 at the Shoe City Pro with a third-place finish and ultimately lead her to becoming the North America Women’s QS Regional Champion. The 17-year-old returns for a fresh season and another big year both in and out of surfing.

“I’m graduating in June and am finally going to be able to put 100 percent in my surfing so I’m excited to see how that affects my performance this year,” Collins said. “Being able to kickoff my year in my hometown at HB is such an advantage with all my family and friends support. I love the vibe with everyone on the Pier and the entire downtown HB set up.”

“I want to try to take advantage of my seeding from winning the North America title,” Collins added. “I’ve been surfing every day at home no matter what the conditions are.  I’m trying to keep an open mind, knowing that comps bring all kinds of conditions that I need to be ready for.”

Contest Director Scott Waring is elated to bring this contest back to life with its proud history. Waring has shown his dedication to surfing throughout the years and sees this as an opportunity to give back even more for the next generation.

“I feel that the Shoe City has a place for everyone’s dreams,” Waring said. “It’s where Kanoa Igarashi won his first-ever QS in 2014 and took the momentum to qualify into the big leagues. Kolohe Andino won in 2015 wanting to get tuned up and 2016 winner Pat Gudaskus did very well on the QS this season. I feel it’s very important to support both men and women’s QS events here at home for story’s like the past three winners and how it worked for them.”

The Shoe City Pro Men’s and Women’s QS1,000 event window begins January 13 – 15. For more information on the full 2017 World Surf League schedule, click here.

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.”

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.