The World Surf League (WSL) Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Wind City Cabarete, a men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000, fired into opening day action with pristine, four-to-seven foot swell pulsing into “The Left” of Encuentro Beach, Dominican Republic. Men’s Round of 104 and 96 ran in their entirety to set up the top-seeded, Round of 64 draw with a showcase of high-performance surfing on full display.
Pictured: Qualifying Series (QS) veteran David do Carmo (BRA) displayed his power in a big, debut win. Credit: © WSL / Wolfe Photography
Former Championship Tour (CT) wildcard and prominent North America threat, David do Carmo (BRA), debuted in decimating form with a day’s best 14.26 (out of a possible 20) heat total. Do Carmo’s forehand power on the rail was insurmountable against his competitors, leaving them needing a near-perfect score to catch him, as he looks to breakthrough to an all-important Finals Day here at Encuentro Beach.
“I can't believe I started with a good heat, my first heat here, and I just want surf,” said do Carmo. “I wasn't really worried about the scores I was going to get and just wanted to surf my best. Now, we have two big events left so I just want to do good and try to qualify [for the Challenger Series]. I know I'm far back and it's a really hard region, but that's all I have my focus on."
A promising start for Blayr Barton (USA) garnered two, vital heat wins with a 13.47, including a 7.67 (out of a possible 10), in his Round of 104 debut, before overpowering his Round of 96 affair. Barton’s recent success in Cocoa Beach, Florida, pushed to No. 15 on the North America rankings heading into the final two events and showed he’s up for the task at hand on his vicious forehand attack.
“I feel great and it feels good to surf some waves with some power,” said Barton. “Since I’m a goofy foot, this left is all I can ask for. The nerves are there but I just try to be as focused as possible. It’s my first real year on the QS and what I’m doing right now, I’m happy with it and I’ll just keep trying to do my best.”
Bryan Perez (SLV) returned to the jersey in solid form, earning a Round of 96, debut heat win in the beautiful conditions on offer to start opening day. Perez put his backhand on display after the world was introduced to his forehand potential among the world’s best in his home country of El Salvador, and didn’t disappoint. Though Perez comes into the event with no points of substance, with 8,000 points left on offer, the Central American has his goals set.
“The waves are firing right now, it’s a dream to surf a heat like this,” said Perez. “Especially backside for me is a little different, because I grew up in El Salvador with right points, but I like to go left too. I’m just focused on these two events, these are the best waves in this region and I’m looking forward to this one.”
Also thriving on opening day, Ryan Huckabee (USA) blasted his backhand attack for a 12.83 heat total to take a big, Round of 96 win alongside the likes of Keoni Lasa (EUK), Titus Santucci (USA), Kai Kushner (USA), Luke Guilnaldo (USA), Dwight Pastrana (PRI), Raiki Nishida (USA), Keanu Igarashi (USA), David O’Keefe (USA), Giancarlo Mendez (PRI), Anthony Filingim (CRI), Kyle Tester (USA), and Sam Reidy (CRC).
"I'm happy I found a rhythm out there toward the end and this wave can be a bit tricky even though it's pretty perfect," said Huckabee. "You have to be on the right waves here and I started figuring that out in that heat. I'm stoked to put some events together, but I haven't done well in any of the QS 3,000s yet so hopefully I can do it here."