The first day of the World Surf League (WSL) Men's Qualification Series (QS) WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Hurley and Pacifico QS1000 got underway today, contesting Round 1 in it's entirely. Displaying some high-performance surfing in tricky, 1-3-foot, windblown conditions, some East Coast natives represented in great fashion for their home territory.
Asher Nolan (USA) found his form right away, sticking to a smart game plan that allowed him to find the best wave of Round 1 -- posting a massive 9.00, along with the highest heat total of 16.50. The Jacksonville Beach, FL local was thrilled to be in the right spot after watching what the conditions had to offer throughout the day.
"It worked out exactly how I wanted it to just staying patient and waiting for the best ones," Nolan said. "I paddled out to the south of the contest as everyone else went out at the pier and just sat wide waiting for that double up. I knew it was going to be such a good one that I was almost nervous because I didn't want to fall."
Putting on the jersey again after a summer's absence from competition, Nolan hasn't lost his flair and made a big statement today as one of the serious threats here at Jennette's Pier. Knowing there are still some kinks to work out, Nolan wants to improve even more.
"I haven't done a contest since March in Puerto Rico so I was a little nervous but after that nine I felt really good," Nolan said. "Definitely stoked on the back up even though I could've taken advantage of another wave that should've been a second nine, but I think I was just too antsy on it. I always love coming here to Outer Banks and I'm really excited to be here after missing ECSC last week."
Nearly matching Nolan's 9.00, Noah Collins (USA) lit up his backhand as well and earned an 8.50 midway through Heat 12 to take the win over Noa Mizuno (HAW). Battling through the building wind, Collins made a change of strategy that paid dividends for him in the end. Coming off a tough result from the Vans Pro Men's QS3000 last week, the California native has his mind set in the right direction.
"I was searching for such a long time," Collins said. "My plan was to wait on the inside and wait for those double ups but Noah got two on the outside so I had to move out there. The white wash pushed me into it and I just released on it - I was so stoked it came through. Whenever that wave comes and has that little right bowl to it you just have to be deeper than you think then just fire into the lip."
In the second heat of the day, former Championship Tour (CT) competitor Ben Bourgeois (USA) found an excellent wave with some scoring potential and blasted it for an 8.40. The competitors dealt with softer morning conditions with the higher tide but were still able to find diamonds in the rough, and Bourgeois found the early morning's crown jewel.
"I just got really lucky finding that righthander since there weren't too many out there," Bourgeois said. "It just bowled up enough to where I was able to go off the bottom and then hit the top -- I was stoked to get the score. The waves are really fun and I think it's only going to get better for the guys in this round with the tide going out."
Born in Ocean City, NJ and now a North Carolina resident, Bourgeois is accustom to these conditions but rarely makes the journey to Nags Head. Getting his strategy set, the Wrightsville Beach, NC local is considering a board change to coincide with the conditions on hand.
"I live just a couple of hours away so I made the trip up yesterday to get some waves in," Bourgeois said. "This is one of the first times I've really surfed Jennette's Pier in a long time. It's pretty soft out there right now so I may have to rethink my equipment. I'm just riding a standard shortboard right now and will probably get something that moves a little faster in the smaller conditions."
The next call will be made at 7:30 a.m. local time for a possible 8 a.m. Start as the top seeds could make their debuts in Round 2. Tune in live for what Day 2 may hold for the WRV OBX Pro presented by Hurley and Pacifico at www.wrvobxpro.com.