top of page

Near-Perfection, Stunning Performances Conclude Round of 64 at Cabarete Pro

A wild day of conditions provided incredible performances at the World Surf League (WSL) Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Wind City Cabarete, a men’s Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000, to conclude the Round of 64.

Four-to-six foot, windblown swell was met by a display of power surfing from the remaining top seeds with near-perfection and multiple, excellent heat totals.

Now, the stage is set for weekend action to dwindle the field and see who rises to the occasion for critical points.

Pictured: Current North America No. 1 Dimitri Poulos (USA) locked into the event's best performance so far. Credit: © WSL / Wolfe Photography

Current North America No. 1 Dimitri Poulos (USA) delivered a stunning debut, posting an excellent, 16.50 (out of a possible 20) heat total with a decimating backhand attack. The Ventura, California, competitor earned a Quarterfinal result here at this event last year and will look for more of the same now that the event has been upgraded to a QS 3,000. But, the 20-year-old is looking to keep the noise out and his head down.

“I was pretty nervous going into it, just the standard first heat jitters and the waves are pretty difficult right now,” said Poulos. “Big, wind chop, kind of a little definition to it coming off the reef, but you can still get super worked. I’m trying to ignore [being first on the rankings], and at the end of the day I’m just trying to improve my contest surfing.”

Defending event victor Manuel Selman (CHL) represented for the local crowd once again with a defining, Round of 64 performance. A tough start for Selman turned excellent with a ferocious, forehand attack to earn an 8.17 (out of a possible 10) before finding a backup just moments later, unleashing a 16.00 heat total. Unfortunately, for the community of Cabarete, local competitor Gian Marco Oliva fell short of an advancing position as Selman remains the sole Dominican Republic representative.

“The storm is up, kind of repeating itself like last year on Finals Day, but there’s still a lot of potential out there,” said Selman. “I started out the with a fall and it was still early in the heat, but my strategy was to just keeping getting waves. The opportunities presented themselves and I think I capitalized so that strategy played in my favor.”

San Clemente, California’s, Kade Matson (USA) wasted no time finding his form and delivered an event-best, single-wave score of a 9.33 on a decimating, backhand turn.

Matson arrived in the Dominican Republic ranked No. 47 after dealing with injuries nearly all of 2022 and has returned to competition more determined than ever as he looks to improve upon his Quarterfinal result at this event last season.

“That was fun, but the waves were tricky and I just had that one section to give everything I had,” said Matson. “I was stoked to ride out and regroup. This is a QS 3,000 now and this wave suits my surfing so hopefully I can go far at this event. I missed Florida and saved myself for these last two, and I’m psyched for these last two events to try and get a result between here and Barbados to get into that Top 7.”

Central American competitors enjoyed a brilliant showing led by Mexico’s Alan Cleland and Costa Rica trio Malakai Martinez, Darshan Antequera, and Tomas King. Following Antequera’s performance, Martinez took on 2022 event runner-up Evan Geiselman (USA) and event wildcard, Cabarete’s own, Gian Marco Oliva after Antequera overcame North America threats Joshua Burke (BRB) and Owen Moss (USA). Martinez’s clutch surfing produced a solid 6.70 when he needed it most, pushing him to a heat win and Round of 32 berth.

Also heading into the Round of 32 with big heat wins, 2022 event Semifinalist Michael Dunphy (USA), Taro Watanabe (USA), and Cole Houshmand (USA) look for a big result to catapult them up the rankings.


bottom of page