Returning to the water for Day 3 action, the Los Cabos Open of Surf Women's Qualifying Series (QS) took full advantage of another sizable morning at Zippers and completed their Round of 24. The latter morning hours saw a small drop in consistency through the low tide, but size remained on the sets as the Junior Women surfed their Round of 40. By day's end the Junior Men wrapped up their Round of 32 and Round of 16 to set up their Quarterfinals.
Malia Manuel (HAW) had another massive performance, putting up a 9.03 and 8.10 to to advance in first place along with defending champion Coco Ho (HAW). Manuel had her focus on dialing in her equipment, something that paid dividends. "My board felt really fast, which helped with the different sections you have to get to," Manuel said. "The waves in our heat were so perfect and I was glad to find the board that works."
As the Women enter Round 5 of competition, Manuel wants to keep her form with the end of the week approaching. "Every heat I'm just hoping there's a few good sets so we all have opportunities," she said. "All the waves are rippable, so it's a lot of luck and flow. It's such a great wave to have an event at and I'm just crossing my fingers we keep having contestable surf to finish off the week."
Continuing her high-performance surfing from yesterday's impressive showcase, Nikki Van Dijk (AUS) replaced the Women's highest single-wave score of a 9.17 with a 9.27, showing her patience in the water. "It's really fun, we just had to wait for them to come and I had to make sure that every wave I took was going to be a score," Van Dijk said. "We had a little bit of time without a wave breaking so I got off my board and started kicking a little because I started to get kind of cold - just have to keep taking it heat by heat."
Van Dijk had some relief after the waiting game in yesterday's heat and is set for her heat against the young threat of [Brisa Hennessy}(/athletes/3971/brisa-hennessy) (HAW). "I thought it was going to come down to only two waves again so that heat was really good," Van Dijk said. "I can't wait for the next round."
Isabella Nichols (AUS) pulled an upset over fellow top-seeded Australians with some impressive surfing of her own and is enjoying her time at Zippers. "It's seriously a pumping right-hander out there so I just went out there and had some fun," Nichols said. "Mexico is one of my favorite places -- we have some point breaks like this at home but I haven't really surfed anything like this before."
Nichols has put her time in here at the event site leading up to the contest and it's paid off, as she also won her Junior Women's heat later in the day. "We got here well before the contest started so we've had a few sessions," Nichols said. "I don't think anyone can feel uncomfortable out there because it's just perfect."
Capping off an incredible day of performing from the Australians was Stephanie Single (AUS) in her Junior Women's heat, earning the contest's highest heat total after an early exit in the Women's QS earlier in the week. "I didn't want to get knocked in the Round of 72 so I was really unhappy with that," Single said. "Going into the Juniors I just wanted to have fun and it worked pretty well. I'm usually really nervous but I was pretty carefree and my board felt amazing under my feet."
Single ripped through smaller conditions than her previous QS heat but still showcased her talents with some impressive surfing. "It's just completely different when you're confident," Single said. "It's still pretty fun but you just have to keep your speed up and keeping tagging it. You can't hit it really hard because you'll just get caught behind it."
After the Junior Women completed their Round of 40, the Junior Men paddled out and Noah Collins (USA) advanced from the Round of 32 today after his win yesterday. "It felt good once I got waves," Collins said. "It took a while but once they came I maximized on them. Normally I'll probably do well one day of the contest and the second day something doesn't click but today it was working."
Collins had his strategy in mind, pulling off a big win in his Round of 16 heat, waiting on the set waves to get his two excellent scores of an 8.87 and 8.83. "You had to have patience out there," Collins said. "The waves are going to come but you have to make sure you're not deep enough and in the right spot. Priority definitely helps."
Friday's 7:00 a.m. call will determine a possible 7:15 a.m. start for all divisions.