Opening day of the World Surf League (WSL) Coastal Edge ECSC Pro produced by the Virginia Beach Jaycees, a Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, provided a marathon of action in two-to-three foot wind swell at Virginia Beach’s 1st Street Jetty. Men’s Round of 96 and Round of 64, Heats 1 – 8, ran in their entirety with the first batch of top-seeded competitors making prominent debuts.
Women’s competition was called OFF for the day.One of the sport’s notables and former Championship Tour (CT) elite, Kolohe Andino (USA), made a long-awaited return to Virginia Beach in commanding form.
The 2011 event victor found his form early and continued to build on his score line until the horn sounded.
Andino’s competitive drive remains well intact as he looks to rejoin the world’s best moving forward, and find his place atop the podium along the way.
Pictured: 2011 event victor and former Championship Tour (CT) star Kolohe Andino (USA) made his highly-anticipated return to Virginia Beach in commanding form. Credit: © WSL / Nichols
“A couple years ago we did the East Coast tour for our Reckless Isolation movie and each play we went to I could see myself wanting to spend a month here, a month here, so I've always just loved the East Coast,” said Andino. “It's got true surfing froth so it's great to be back. I was just a grom back in 2011, just 17 years old. I still feel the same. I still get nervous and excited to compete.”
Costa Rica's proven QS threat, Tomas King, brought his energy and focus back to Virginia Beach for a brilliant showing in his Round of 64 debut. King posted the day's best performance, including an excellent 8.25 (out of a possible 10) and 14.50 (out of a possible 20) heat total utilizing a combination of his forehand and backhand attack. The Costa Rican earned a Semifinal in 2022 and has ambitions set to go further, and build early success to capitalize on toward Challenger Series qualification.
"I've been working really hard the last couple years and I just missed out on the Challenger Series last year after having a bad run at the end of the season," said King. "I put too much pressure on myself after a good result here, and couldn't back it up, but that's in the past now. Now, I've learned a lot from my mistakes and work on everything else to go with it, but I love competing and looking forward to a big year."
2023 World Junior Championships runner-up, Levi Slawson (USA), narrowly missed the qualification line for the Challenger Series and is on a mission to rejoin the world's top contenders. The Encinitas, California, competitor posted an impressive 7.50 with his formidable approach to the smaller conditions. But, Slawson has his eyes set on more than just opening heat success.
"Anything after making that first heat and then anything after that is okay," said Slawson. "I'm stoked to be back in a jersey and just get back on track this year. I want to be in Finals Day for this event and Outer Banks, it's my goal is to get there and then try to finally win one of these QS events. I'm hoping we stay fortunate with this swell, I like this wind and I'm taking these events seriously. I've been watching the Challenger Series this year and a lot of the guys I compete against are close to qualifying, and I know my surfing's there so I want to show it."
Sebastian Williams (MEX) hasn’t competed in a WSL event since 2019, but the Mexican standout stayed busy with ISA and Pan American competitions. Williams brought that confidence back to the QS, accruing the Round of 96’s highest heat total of a 13.75 on his dominant forehand attack. The 23-year-old has a new mindset in his return and now looks to make strides toward that goal.
“I plan on doing as many competitions as I can after COVID hit and I had to stay at home, but it was really good to spend time there,” said Williams. “I've been staying busy with events for the ISA, Pan American Games, and the Central American Games. But, I haven't done the QS since 2019 and I have this focus now that this is the first step to the CT. Before, I was using it to gain experience, but now I see the steps and that's where my head is at.”
Also notching massive, Round of 64 wins, Tyler Gunter (USA), Cannon Carr (USA), Sam Reidy (CRI), Sage Guinaldo (USA), Tao Rodriguez (PAN), and Rafael Pereira (VEN) carry that momentum into the Round of 32. But, they await the likes of Round of 96 victors that include Cole Alves (HAW), Sebastian Mendes (USA), Luke Wyler (USA), Isauro Elizondo (PAN), Manuel Selman (CHL), and Remy Juboori (USA).
Event organizers will convene at 7:30 a.m. EDT for a possible 8:00 a.m. EDT start to men's Round of 64, Heat 9.
The Coastal Edge ECSC produced by Virginia Beach Jaycees will run on the best days of conditions beginning August 23 - 27.
Coastal Edge ECSC Pro Round of 96 Results:
HEAT 1: Henry Rothey (USA) 8.25 DEF. Wyatt Jeffers (USA) 2.35
HEAT 2: Rex Hennings (USA) 13.10 DEF. Chase Niemann (USA) 9.50, Alberto Muñoz (CRC) 7.35, Sterling Foster (USA) 7.10
HEAT 3: Beckham McCart (USA) 10.25 DEF. Timothy Fandey (USA) 9.85, Ben Altschuler (USA) 3.90
HEAT 4: Ocean Gittens (BRB) 10.50 DEF. Daniel Banfield (BRB) 6.60, Gabriel De Araujo (USA) 5.55, Ramon Santiago (PUR) 4.70
HEAT 5: Giorgio Gomez (COL) 11.00 DEF. Jason Torres (CRC) 9.45, Tucker Collins (USA) 7.65, Tab Textor (USA) 2.10
HEAT 6: Sage Guinaldo (USA) 10.55 DEF. Fletcher Whittle (USA) 9.90, James White (USA) 7.85, Juan Gerena Martinez (PUR) 6.80
HEAT 7: Tommaso Layson (BRB) 8.95 DEF. Dane Matson (USA) 8.90, Josh Spicer (USA) 4.25, Cory La Roe (USA) 0.65
HEAT 8: Rafael Pereira (VEN) 9.85 DEF. Ethan Foley (USA) 4.90, Mikey Serafin (USA) 2.15, Keegan Bengelsdorf (USA)
HEAT 9: Cole Alves (HAW) 10.50 DEF. Titus Kaimana Santucci (USA) 10.15, Teddy Wittemann (USA) 7.55, Kai Barton (USA) 6.85
HEAT 10: Sebastian Mendes (USA) 11.25 DEF. Beau Werger (USA) 7.90, Zander Bell (USA) 5.10, Triston Utz (USA) 2.75
HEAT 11: Luke Wyler (USA) 11.15 DEF. Gabriel Griffin (USA) 7.50, Jack Zoltan (USA) 7.45, Graham Altschuler (USA) 5.70
HEAT 12: Isauro Elizondo (PAN) 12.00 DEF. Luke Rebensdorf (USA) 8.35, Gavin Bren (USA) 6.90, Araon Alvarez Moreno (CRC) 4.75
HEAT 13: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.05 DEF. Cose Stoyanoff (USA) 7.15, Cristian Padilla (DOM) 5.90
HEAT 14: Manuel Selman (CHL) 10.65 DEF. Giancarlo Mendez (PUR) 8.25, Lucas Kaplan (USA) 2.35
HEAT 15: Sebastian Williams (MEX) 13.75 DEF. Kepa Mendia (USA) 7.85, Kaiden Cameron (USA) 7.10, Blaze Roche (USA) 6.80
HEAT 16: Remy Juboori (USA) 9.95 DEF. Romeo Stone (CRC) 7.55, Ross Adams (USA) 6.50, Thomas Meekins (USA) 4.65
Coastal Edge ECSC Pro Round of 64, Heats 1 - 8 Results:
HEAT 1: Sam Reidy (CRC) 10.10 DEF. Brad Ettinger (USA) 9.60, Chase Niemann (USA) 7.10, Henry Rothey (USA) 6.65
HEAT 2: Cannon Carr (USA) 10.10 DEF. Tosh Talbot (CRC) 8.90, Rex Hennings (USA) 6.90, Wyatt Jeffers (USA) 3.15
HEAT 3: Tomas King (CRC) 14.50 DEF. Will Deane (USA) 10.15, Beckham McCart (USA) 7.60, Daniel Banfield (BRB) 4.75
HEAT 4: Levi Slawson (USA) 14.25 DEF. Max Beach (USA) 9.05, Ocean Gittens (BRB) 6.40, Timothy Fandey (USA) 5.90
HEAT 5: Tyler Gunter (USA) 10.45 DEF. Giorgio Gomez (COL) 10.15, Hayden Rodgers (USA) 9.10, Fletcher Whittle (USA) 6.80
HEAT 6: Sage Guinaldo (USA) 12.40 DEF. Owen Moss (USA) 11.15, Parker Cohn (USA) 11.15, Jason Torres (CRC) 8.80
HEAT 7: Tao Rodriguez (PAN) 9.45 DEF. Tommaso Layson (BRB) 8.50, Reed Platenius (CAN) 7.40, Ethan Foley (USA) 4.55
HEAT 8: Rafael Pereira (VEN) 12.95 DEF. Dane Matson (USA) 10.15, Jabe Swierkocki (USA) 10.10, Parker Sawyer (USA) 4.75