The Powerade Surf Open Acapulco Men's QS1,000 is off and running with plenty of action on hand for opening day -- and sizeable swell on to compliment such an occasion. Competitors were able to pick off the gems for excellent numbers, meaning an 8.00 or higher, as hefty closeouts came reeling through the lineup to disrupt their strategy.
Some familiar faces riddled the day with explosive performances as local talent emerged and provided a few upsets to shake things up.
The always-charismatic Carlos Munoz (CRI) is back on Mexican soil and blasted an incredible performance with the day's best single-wave score, 9.00 (out of a possible 10), and heat total of 16.50 (out of a possible 20). A tough start to 2017 seemed to be behind the Costa Rican who came out firing on all cylinders with near-flawless surfing in the trickier afternoon conditions.
"It's been awhile since I've made a heat after going to South Africa and earlier this year at Martinique so it feels really good to come here and just make that first heat," Munoz said. "I came to this contest for training before the US Open last year and wanted to do the same again. I just tried to find the little corners and do my best so it's exciting to make it through. This is definitely great for my confidence moving forward."
Stevie Pittman (USA) returned back to a QS jersey after recovering from knee surgery last year and did so in excellent form. The 17-year-old, North Carolina native went to work on the Playa Revolacadero lineup and posted an excellent 8.00 with his signature power-surfing to build a 15.40 heat total. The young competitor has a big year planned and wants to kick it off in the right direction with a result here.
"It feels good to be back on the QS after my knee surgery last April. It took about six months to heal and I haven't had any problems with it since," Pittman said. "It was a reoccurring injury so that surgery definitely helped. I've just been surfing and having fun, I know I'm good enough to be here it's just a matter of finding the right waves so hopefully I can keep that up. I'm looking forward to this year with the Hurley Pro trials and I'll be getting back into the Pro Junior events for US Open, maybe do a few more QS events, but I want to do well here first."
Oahu, Hawaii native Noah Beschen felt right at home behind a curtain of Pacific Ocean water dropping over him entirely to cap off his Round Two win with an excellent 8.17. Though still able to contest at the Pro Junior level, Beschen has turned his sights toward the big leagues and is putting in the work to get there.
"I just took off and didn't even think about a barrel, but then I was in the spot so I stayed still and got barrled for a bit," Beschen said. "This is a great spot to come to, especially being up in California, it's an easy flight and the wave has some punch to it -- it reminds me a little of home. My goal is to just get enough points to find my way into the Triple Crown and after coming here last year it's a little more familiar so I feel comfortable trying to get points. I'm still in the juniors, but I want to be on Tour and that's where I'm putting my focus."
Martin Olea began his Powerade Surf Open Acapulco campaign in Round One alongside his fellow countrymen and now finds himself in Round Three with two big heat wins. Born and raised in Barra de navidad Jalisco, Olea now resides in Cabo and finds himself in his first WSL event after earning some sponsorship funds.
"It feels really good and I just want to keep surfing my best," Olea said. "It's fun out there, but you just have to find the right spot and with the energy in the water you can feel that right place to sit. This is my first time here after not being able to do so with lack of money. The guys from Buell Wetsuits in Santa Cruz are behind me so I could get here so I'm putting everything into this event. I just want to go out and give it my all."
Event organizers will reconvene for tomorrow's 7:30 a.m. CDT call to determine a possible 8:00 a.m. CDT start.