Certain moments stick out in a competitive surfer's mind. Big heat wins, buzzer-beaters, and most certainly the first taste of victory on the Qualifying Series. Kilian Garland got just that at the WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico Men's QS1,000 amid a talented field of competitors and fun conditions leading up to the final day of competition. Garland went flawless through this event, not dropping a single heat, en route to a big first-ever win.
"I've been coming to this event since it started and just kept trying to better my result each year so I'm really stoked to finally get a win," Garland said. "I'm fired up to get more contests under my belt now and keep making more heats. These QS1,000s are pretty tough with the amount of talented guys that come compete in them and today was no different. The waves dropped off a little bit from how fun it was yesterday but you couldn't count anyone out."
The Santa Barbara, Calif., native looked in-form throughout this entire event, not dropping a single heat en route to a massive Final performance -- putting Jordan Lawler in a combination situation, meaning he needed two new scores to overtake the lead. Garland finished with a Semifinal result last year and had the chance to take out the culprit, Asher Nolan, in the Quarterfinals before then taking out Kevin Schulz.
The win put Garland to the top of the North America QS ratings and will now have to defend that lead heading into the next event.
"I'll definitely be thinking about the Costa Rica event a lot more now since it's the only one left in our region this year," Garland added. "If I can hold onto this lead and get into the main events next year that would be amazing. These points are a big help in that regard and now I'll have a lot to compete for."
Runner-up Jordan Lawler had an incredible run at this event, getting through three rounds yesterday with solid numbers. The Australian took down East Coast legend [Gabe Kling](/athletes/600/gabe-kling in the Quarterfinals and the young Hawaiian talent Elijah Gates in a close Semifinal heat. Hailing from Sydney, it was Lawler's first time to this event and he walks away with 750 points -- and $1,500.
"This was such a fun event after finally getting the opportunity to come down and check it out," Lawler said. "Everyone kept telling me about all the good vibes and event that goes on and it's lived up to the word. It would've been nice to take that win, but it was tough out there and hats off to all the boys for a good one. This is just a stepping stone toward my ultimate dream of one day competing on the Championship Tour so it's something to enjoy, but I'm far from done."
Semifinalist Kevin Schulz notched his best QS performance yet with an impressive run at the WRV Outer Banks Pro. Making it through a tough Quarterfinal draw against Jason Torres, Schulz was left waiting for one last opportunity to strike in the Semifinals -- but would be left waiting. The San Clemente, Calif., surfer was still in good spirit following his close-call loss with a lot planned in coming months.
"I'm really happy we ran today with what the weekend looks like and stoked on making a Semifinal -- just got unlucky with no waves coming my way in those last minutes," Schulz said. "I knew going into that heat it was going to be a tough one with Kilian just looking really strong, but felt like I could've made it through if the opportunities came. Now I'll get to spend some time at home and prepare for the event in Costa Rica where I'll really be looking for a result to try and boost my ratings even further so I'm really excited for what's ahead."
Elijah Gates bettered his 2015 performance in terrific fashion with a Semifinal appearance at this year's event. The young Hawaiian only made it to Round 3 last year, as well as an early exit at the Vans Pro Men's QS3,000, and now has some momentum heading into a busy fall schedule.
"This event was a tough one looking back with a long day yesterday and I was hoping for some better waves today, but I'm stoked with this being the best East Coast trip I've had yet," Gates said. "Last night was cool to sit back and realize I made three heats yesterday. I thought I could do it, it would've been great to make the final of course, but this will help get me set for all the events this winter back home with the HIC Pro -- and maybe get into the QS3,000 in Costa Rica."