Cole Houshmand Wins Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Wind City Cabarete
Cole Houshmand (USA) emerged victorious at the World Surf League (WSL) Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Wind City Cabarete, a men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000, in pristine, three-to-five foot swell pulsing into Encuentro Beach.
Pictured: Cole Houshmand (USA) powered his way atop the podium in near-perfect fashion for his maiden QS victory. Credit: © WSL / Wolf Photographe
The San Clemente, California, competitor, Houshmand, overpowered his way into the Final against defending event winner, competing at his home break, Manuel Selman (CHL) where he went on to post near-perfection and claim a long-awaited QS victory.
A highly-anticipated, battle of top-tier competitors unfolded in the final between reigning event victor, Manuel Selman (CHL), and Cole Houshmand (USA) after both powered their way to the Final. One of North America’s rising stars, Houshmand, found a gem to unleash his powerful forehand attack on two critical sections to garner a near-perfect 9.50 (out of a possible 10) and force Selman into needing a Perfect 10 at the halfway mark.
But, Houshmand wasn’t done yet and, under priority, found another canvas to showcase his aerial potential, posting a 7.10 and leaving Dominican Republic’s representative in a 16.60 (out of a possible 20) combination situation.
Houshmand remained in control of the Final until the final horn, taking down his maiden QS victory in dominant form.
“I haven’t really processed it yet, it’s been a long time coming,” said Houshmand. “I haven’t won a contest in six years so this means a lot to me and this place will always hold a special place in my heart now. I’ve worked super hard for this and it just felt like this was the one, stoked how it played out. It was an amazing Final, I have the best support crew from my family to all the San Clemente boys, and I’m sure I’ll be processing this the next few days."
Houshmand started his Finals Day surge with a powerful showing against event threat, fellow goofyfoot, Tommy Coleman (USA), before an all-San Clemente, California, showdown unfolded in Semifinal, Heat 2 featuring Taj Lindblad and Houshmand.
This marks Houshmand third Final appearance as the 22-year-old earned his first-ever QS win, and an all-important 3,000 points to skyrocket into the Top 7 heading into the final event of the season.Manuel Selman kicked off his back-to-back, Finals Day campaign with one of the event’s premier clashes, facing an in-form Levi Slawson (USA) in Quarterfinal, Heat 1.
The dying minutes provided one last opportunity for Selman to capitalize on, getting a quick, deep barrel before unleashing his forehand attack to post an 8.33 and take control of the heat before moving onto a 2022 Semifinal rematch with Nolan Rapoza (USA). Selman’s forehand was relentless, picking off multiple rides to stay ahead of Rapoza before securing another, excellent 8.67 to solidify his Final’s appearance.
"After I made it through the Semifinals I felt like I already did my job," said Selman. "I'm incredibly proud of myself, back-to-back Finals is something I've never done in an event before. It's my second-ever Final in a QS so I'm super stoked and I'll take it, Cole was ripping the whole contest and I knew he was going to be the toughest guy to beat. I'm happy to have performed in front of the home crowd, my family and friends, and I'm looking forward to getting back to the North America region next season."
Pictured: (L to R) Nolan Rapoza (USA) matched his Semifinal result from 2022 and moved into striking distance of the Top 7. Taj Lindblad's (USA) incredible finish to the season thus far has yielded four-consecutive Finals Day appearances. Credit: © WSL / Obdulio Luna
Rapoza’s Semifinal appearance, following a runner-up in Morro Bay, helped push the Long Beach, California, competitor to number No. 16 on the North America rankings after overpowering emerging threat Wheeler Hasburgh (CAN) in their Quarterfinal bout.
Also, Lindblad’s incredible run to the Semifinals witnessed his fourth-consecutive Finals Day appearance starting at Pismo Beach and finds himself at No. 3 on the leaderboard. Now, Rapoza and Lindblad prepare for the final event of the year to capitalize on major points and try to secure a Challenger Series qualification spot.
The final event of the North America Qualifying Series 2022/23’ season and 2023 Pro Junior season await to decide the region's Challenger Series and World Junior Championships representatives at the Barbados Surf Pro QS 5,000 and Live Like Zander Junior Pro presented by Diamonds International In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia beginning March 27 – April 2.
Updated Top 10 North America Rankings:
1. Dimitri Poulos (USA)
2. Evan Geiselman (USA)
3. Taj Lindblad (USA)
4. Cole Houshmand (USA)
5. Jett Schilling (USA)
6. Jabe Swierkocki (USA)
7. Michael Dunphy (USA)
8. Crosby Colapinto (USA)
9. Levi Slawson (USA)
10. Cam Richards (USA)
1 – Cole Houshmand (USA) 16.60 1,000 points
2 – Manuel Selman (CHL) 10.06
Heat 1: Manuel Selman (CHL) 14.30 DEF. Nolan Rapoza (USA) 10.84
Heat 2: Cole Houshmand (USA) 11.93 DEF. Taj Lindblad (USA) 11.76
Heat 1: Manuel Selman (CHL) 15.33 DEF. Levi Slawson (USA) 14.00
Heat 2: Nolan Rapoza (USA) 10.37 DEF. Wheeler Hasburgh (CAN) 9.80
Heat 3: Taj Lindblad (USA) 12.47 DEF. Malakai Martinez (CRC) 11.73
Heat 4: Cole Houshmand (USA) 12.87 DEF. Tommy Coleman (USA) 10.73