An incredible day of action unfolded Thursday at the World Surf League (WSL) Barbados Surf Pro Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000. Both men and women got back in the water and completed their respective Round Three bouts – and near-perfection ensued from the beginning. The majority of top seeds from both events showed their dominance and went to work on the two-to-four foot conditions at Drill Hall Beach in terrific fashion.
Evan Geiselman (USA) put on an immaculate display of surfing and earned the event’s best performance thus far with a near-perfect 9.87 (out of a possible 10) and 18.37 (out of a possible 20) heat total. The New Smyrna Beach, Florida-native blasted a tail-high rotation that had the beach cheering upon stomping the landing. Geiselmen came into this event with big aspirations, but relaxed mentality that seemed to pay off.
“In the beginning my tactic was just to start quick and get some waves under my belt, but if I’d known the heat was going to go like that I would’ve sat and waited for those bombs,” Geiselman said. “I felt comfortable in second after getting that 8.50 so I just wanted to let loose and got that last set at the end so it was fun. I’m looking forward to more waves like that and hopefully we keep getting them the rest of the event. The goal, like any event, but particularly these QS3,000’s, is to get a good result and I just want to keep getting heats in – you need all 3,000 points for a good keeper result at an event like this.”
Keanu Asing (HAW) started the day’s action with a brilliant performance of his own and earned a 9.00 en route to a debut win. The former Championship Tour (CT) competitor wants to get back there by season’s end, but must find a good result here to get back on track.
“The past few days have been a little smaller and gutless, but when we came here today it was actually in the form of a stronger wave so we were buzzing,” Asing said. “I was stoked to get on a few waves and really perform since that was only my third session out here. It was tough in the beginning just with no priority in the beginning as it goes, but putting the jersey on for the first time I was just trying to find my place in the lineup.”
“It’s funny because I grew up on the south side of Oahu surfing and we’re on the south side of the island here so for me it has that nice wind texture on the lip in the mornings,” Asing added. “It’s the island vibes here as well so it makes it feel like home. It’s key to kick things off good here and just press the restart button with finding my rhythm — having priority here unlike the Jack’s Pro event is huge and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”
Native Barbadian Josh Burke (BRB) showed that he’s ready to make his home crowd proud with a Round Three victory in one of the tightest match ups on offer today. Only 1.76 separated fourth from first as Burke won with a 15.76 heat total. Burke’s opening rides earned him the lead and he did not relinquish it for the remaining fifteen minutes. Though he’s off to a slow start in 2017, a QS3,000 in his backyard is an opportunity he won’t let pass him by.
“I was just breathing while waiting for waves after that quick start, it was super stressful in that stacked heat,” Burke said. “Pretty much all of us dropped sevens in our big opening exchange so that was nerve-racking. After that quick start I just waited for a wave that would better my scores, but I started feeling really comfortable out there just with my local knowledge playing a huge factor. I really want a result, and I really need a result so to get one here at home would be pretty amazing. It’s great to have this event going and hopefully we get all the local supporters down here for a big weekend.”
After the men’s action, the women’s Barbados Surf Pro QS3,000 got back underway in more fun conditions and massive performances from the top seeds followed.
Mikaela Greene (AUS) found near-perfection for a 9.50, the highest single-scoring wave, and added an 8.00 to secure the highest heat total of the women’s event thus far. Greene has been on the QS grind for a few years and awaits her big breakthrough win — though, the Australian doesn’t hold any pressure on herself moving forward here in Barbados.
“There’s some really fun waves out there and it’s just amazing they’re holding this competition here — you just have to keep your eyes open and take advantage,” Greene said. “It’s great to get a start like this, I’m basically just using these QS3,000’s as stepping stones so it’s great to get a little bit of experience under my belt. It helps get sorted for the QS6,000s and after a few third-place finishes in some QS1,000s at the start of the year, but I’ve had a couple rough heats in the higher-rated events. It’s all learning and I’m really excited to see how far I get in this one.”
The No. 1 seed Philippa Anderson (AUS) showed why she holds that position with a near-perfect 9.00 in her Round Three debut. Anderson has always been toward the top of the rankings, and nearly found herself in the qualification scenario — but is now in new territory with being the top seed here.
“It was super fun after waiting a few days to surf so it was great to get that out of the way,” Anderson said. “Everyday Paige [Hareb] and I would be out here early morning, do our routine, but then the guys would go so we’ve just had a good time playing tourist. It’s cool to be the top seed, but you have to look at it like any other event. There’s not a lot of pressure and I’m just trying enjoy it here. This is my first time here and it’s just amazing, even if I’d lost that first heat I would’ve loved this experience so it’s all uphill from here.”
Chelsea Tuach (BRB) rounded off a great day of competition with a win in Round Three, Heat 8. The Barbadian grew up on this wave and felt right in her element to secure a spot into Round Four. Last year’s CT rookie has a stacked field that include some of the women’s best QS surfers to deal with, but has her home crowd behind her every step of the way.
“The nerves have been building up so much just waiting to get in the water so it felt great to get in there and get on a couple,” Tuach said. “I feel really good, my boards feel great and it’s my homebreak — it just has a good, positive and inspiring energy around it with all my support on the beach. It was a bit surreal for me to see all the international competitors arriving in Barbados to compete here. It’s been something we’ve wanted for so long and it’s been going so smoothly. This is something that’s very inspiring to the Barbadians to see all these surfers come here and surf our break, we’re seeing the caliber we have to be at. I’m just really excited and can’t wait for the rest of the week to unfold.”
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