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.
“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 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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