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Zoe Benedetto and Kolohe Andino Win Coastal Edge ECSC Pro produced by Virginia Beach Jaycees

Zoe Benedetto (USA) and Kolohe Andino (USA) claimed victories at the World Surf League (WSL) Coastal Edge ECSC Pro produced by the Virginia Beach Jaycees, a Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, at Virginia Beach’s iconic 1st Street Jetty. Benedetto and Andino overpowered the tough, two-foot conditions to put their names alongside 61 years of East Coast Surfing Championships history and earned 1,000 points toward Challenger Series qualification.

Important, runner-up finishes for Talia Swindal (USA) and Levi Slawson (USA) witnessed Swindal's maiden QS Final and a second runner-up result for Slawson.

A slow start to the women’s Final turned into a back-and-forth battle between Benedetto and Swindal.

Swindal was able to respond to Benedetto’s early 6.17 (out of a possible 10) with a 5.00 of her own, before a key exchange that earned her a 6.33 and the lead. However, Benedetto’s formidable forehand pushed her right back into the lead heading into the back half of the Final.

With no waves of consequence coming through, Benedetto held her lead all the way to the end, earning a third-career QS victory.

Pictured: (L to R in jerseys) Runner-up Levi Slawson (USA), winner Zoe Benedetto (USA), winner Kolohe Andino (USA), and runner-up Talia Swindal (USA). Credit: © WSL / Nichols

“It feels super nice [to win], this one definitely hits good,” said Benedetto. “That Final was super fun and just wish we had more waves to surf, but Talia [Swindal] is one of my best friends so it was exciting to be back in the Final on the East Coast. That was my goal coming into this [East Coast leg] was to win both so one down, one to go. I’m happy right, I’m happy with my surfing and I’m looking forward to Outer Banks now.”

Benedetto’s run to the Final began with a dominant performance in the Semifinals over fellow Floridian Lanea Mons. The 18-year-old’s forehand led to an impressive 13.17 (out of a possible 20) heat total within the first 10 minutes of their battle, leaving Mons chasing an excellent 8.17. For Benedetto, this result moves her into No. 3 on the rankings as she looks to back herself up on the Challenger Series for 2024.A clash between veteran and emerging talents unraveled in the men’s Final between 2011 event victor, and former Championship Tour (CT) standout, Kolohe Andino (USA) and 2023 World Junior Championships runner-up Levi Slawson (USA). Slawson’s quick start earned him a slim advantage heading into the 20 minute mark, but Andino responded with an impressive air-reverse to garner a 7.17 and the lead. Andino then added to that with another 7.57, pushing Slawson’s requirement to a near-perfect score. But, Slawson wasn’t finished and earned an excellent 8.17 to give himself a chance heading into the final minutes.

A heat-changing exchange pushed Andino’s lead slightly higher, earning a 7.20, to put the pressure back on Slawson who was left chasing a 6.60 when time expired.

“Life’s a trip, I came here 12 years ago and it’s the only time I had been here,” said Andino. “I competed and I was just a wee pup filled with confidence, and felt unstoppable. I ended up winning and I thought I’d never be back and that I’d retire on Tour. But, I had an interesting year on the CT and Challenger Series, dealing with a lot of ups and downs. I got a wild hair and just wanted to come hang with the groms, compete, and see Michael [Dunphy]. And to win it on the 20th anniversary of my dad winning, it’s been a rad week.”

Andino’s charge to the Final started with an all-star clash featuring former event winner and Virginia Beach’s own, Michael Dunphy (USA), which lived up to the hype as the two traded off throughout their Semifinals. For Andino, this event caps off a brilliant run in Virginia Beach and is unbeaten at 1st Street Jetty after returning for the first time since his win in 2011.

A maiden QS Final for Talia Swindal (USA) pushes her into the Top 10 of the North America QS rankings after a career-defining event wrapped. The Malibu, California, competitor kicked off Finals Day with a commanding victory over fellow Californian Zoey Kaina. Now, Swindal looks to carry this momentum forward after readjusting her goals following a North America Pro Junior Regional title earlier this year.

“That was crazy and especially having one of my best friends in the Final, I was so stoked,” said Swindal. “It’s a big confidence boost. This event showed me that I can do this and I stayed calm all event. There were heats that I just knew I had to surf the way I surf and it would work out. So that felt good to just relax and open up on a few waves, and finally feel good at a QS event. I’m stoked for Outer Banks now and hopefully make it to another Final again and try to win that one."

2023 World Junior Championships runner-up Levi Slawson (USA) surged through competition with standout performances and continued that form into his Semifinal against an in-form Tao Rodriguez (PAN). Slawson’s excellent 8.00 separated the two in a stout battle as Slawson didn’t give up his lead following that score, adding a 7.33, to earn his spot into the Final. The Encinitas, California, competitor now looks for his maiden win in coming days at the WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico with more confidence.

“I was looking forward to surfing a Final against ‘Brother’ knowing that he could possibly be doing the whole QS this year,” said Slawson. “He was the guy to beat in this event and some people had me winning it so it was a good match up. That Final didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but I’m proud of my surfing and obviously Kolohe’s been on the Tour the last decade so that was a big moment for me. I have a few Finals on the QS level and I just want to crack that win, and we have Outer Banks this week so I’ll try to do it there.”

Notable Finishes for Mons, Kaina, Rodriguez, and Dunphy

Brilliant event runs from some of North America’s rising talents, Zoey Kaina (USA) and Lanea Mons (USA), earned them Semifinal appearances – a career-best for both. Kaina, 12, and Mons, 14, surged through competition with noteworthy performances throughout the opening rounds.

Also earning impressive Semifinal finishes, Tao Rodriguez (PAN) and Michael Dunphy (USA) proved to be formidable opponents from start to finish. Rodriguez matched his career-best result as the emerging Panamanian looks to carry that momentum into the Outer Banks. Virginia Beach’s own Dunphy nearly earned his way back into another Final in home waters before eventual winner Andino ended his dream run. Now, Dunphy prepares to defend his WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico event title.

The WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico will stream LIVE beginning August 30 – September 3 at Jennette’s Pier, Nags Head, Outer Banks.

Men’s Coastal Edge ECSC Pro Final Results:

1 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 14.77 1,000 points

2 – Levi Slawson (USA) 14.34 800 points

Women’s Coastal Edge ECSC Pro Final Results:

1 – Zoe Benedetto (USA) 12.80 1,000 points

2 – Talia Swindal (USA) 11.33 800 points

Women’s Coastal Edge ECSC Pro Semifinal Results:

HEAT 1: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 13.17 DEF. Lanea Mons (USA) 10.17

HEAT 2: Talia Swindal (USA) 14.33 DEF. Zoey Kaina (USA) 10.87

Men’s Coastal Edge ECSC Pro Semifinal Results:

HEAT 1: Levi Slawson (USA) 15.33 DEF. Tao Rodriguez (PAN) 11.16

HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 13.90 DEF. Michael Dunphy (USA) 13.16About the WSL

The World Surf League (WSL) is the global home of competitive surfing, crowning the undisputed World Champions since 1976 and showcasing the world’s best surfers on the world’s best waves. WSL is comprised of the Tours and Competition division, which oversees and operates more than 180 global competitions each year; WSL WaveCo, home of the world's largest high-performance, human-made wave; and WSL Studios, an independent producer of unscripted and scripted projects.


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