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Excellence & Eliminations Build Drama During Day 2 of Vans Pro Presented by HIC

Near-Perfect Rides from Zietz, Valiere and McGillivray

Jett Schilling and Crosby Colapinto Team Up to Take Down Top-Seeds

 Former Vans Pro winner Evan Valiere (HAW) locked in position for a 9.57 backside barrel at Sunset Beach.
Credit: © WSL / Heff

Haleiwa, Oahu/HAWAII — (Tuesday, October 29, 2019) – The Vans Pro presented by HIC, a World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 event, saw more XL surf churn through the football field-sized stadium of Sunset Beach with wave face heights continuing to push fifteen-feet. Today’s conditions were considered a completely different sport than what the rest of the QS sees over the year, given the amount of physical exertion that the wave demands from athletes. Perseverance was key and most of the bright moments went hand in hand with hold downs, wipeouts and broken boards.

Athletes struggled to stay alive in the competition and earn qualification, points and prestige at one of the greatest stages in surfing as the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing season ignites. Championship Tour (CT) surfer and 2012 Vans Triple Crown Champion Sebastian Zietz (HAW) came out firing in Round 3 with a 9.0 (out of a possible 10) after drawing a high line into the barrel and grabbing rail for a stylish kickout. With impeccable positioning, Zietz joined the select few who earned near-perfect scores today.

Sebastian Zietz finds a gem on the inside bowl.
Credit: © WSL / Chlala

“I think blue (Jackson Butler) had priority, but he was a little deep,” said Zietz. “I took off and it was a no brainer to pull right in. It actually had a little bonus section so I just hid in there as long as I could. I came out and had so much speed I wanted to do a huge cutback, but I was just going way too fast and I was on top of the water so I did a grab rail high line. Stoked on the barrel, it’s pumping out there, it’s all you could really ask for at Sunset.”

Zietz recently returned home after the European leg of the CT and is happy to be back in Hawaii. “To be in warm water and beautiful waves and weather, close to family, it’s always nice to come back,” he continued. Part of an illustrious list of homegrown Hawaii Champions, Zietz’s career was elevated in 2012 during the Vans Triple Crown after he won the Hawaiian Pro and placed third at the Vans World Cup to then qualify for the 2013 CT.

Zietz advanced into Round 4 along with Te Kehukehu Butler (AUS), while former event winner Danny Fuller (HAW) had a shocker elimination along with Vans Pro rookie Jackson Butler (USA). Another upset came after one of the more suspenseful heats of the day with Finn McGill (HAW), Mikey O’Shaughnessy (HAW), Tristan Guilbaud (FRA) and Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) when a flurry of waves came in the final seconds of the heat.

 Finn McGill (HAW) demonstrates power beyond his years. 
Credit: © WSL / Heff

McGill dropped in on a mountain of whitewater on the buzzer, executed a critical first turn then pulled in for a small barrel cover to finish strong. Jorgann Couzinet (FRA) also had a last-minute ride as the lineup pulsed with energy, nabbing the highest single wave score of the heat, a 6.43. Despite the good result, Couzinet, who is currently ranked No. 7 on the QS, was knocked out of the competition after McGill secured the necessary score to move into first. Sunset standout Mikey O’Shaughnessy (HAW) earned second with a 5.83 and 3.00.

“Buzzer beater! I somehow got that wave,” said McGill. “I was just thinking ‘I had a great heat, but I wish I had one more shot’ and then they said ‘20 seconds left’ and I was like ‘there’s not another wave coming’ and then that wave popped up out of nowhere. I saw Mikey (O’Shaughnessy) and Tristan (Guilbaud) go for it and they both missed it. I turned around really late with two seconds left and I made it and there was a perfect turn section, so I just did a big turn and then I did another one and then kicked out and had so much adrenaline.”

McGill finds cover during his buzzer-beater wave in Round 3.
Credit: © WSL / Heff

Barrels became the ultimate prize as Sunset continued to deliver a variety of scoring opportunities; former Vans Pro winner Evan Valiere (HAW) left the crowd buzzing after a masterfully surfed wave on his backhand. Judges awarded an excellent 9.57 after he committed to a critical take-off and pulled in deep behind the section for a backside barrel.

“That was really exciting, there was nothing else I could really do except pull in,” said Valiere. “I was just trying to be as precise as I could in my positioning and I just barely got up to my feet. Just trying to rest today to make sure I don’t get stiff and keep a rhythm going. It’s hard to get a rhythm going here at Sunset.”

Evan Valiere, power meets power.
Credit: © WSL / Heff

South Africa’s Matt McGillivray kicked off Round 3 Heat 5 with a near-perfect 9.33 for a huge opening maneuver and two more critical power turns on a set wave. He backed this up with a 5.83 to advance in first while Sunset Champion Billy Kemper (HAW) remained close behind with a 14.73 to McGillivray’s 15.16. The South African will look to better last year’s result and move past the Quarterfinals to increase his No. 14 standing on the QS.

For the first time ever, CT competitor Griffin Colapinto (USA) and younger brother Crosby Colapinto (USA) competed against each other with an underdog finish that created another shocking upset. The siblings went against young gun Jett Schilling (USA) and WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional title contender Gavin Gillette (HAW) and it was the two youngest, Crosby, 18, and Schilling, 16, that advanced, respectively.

 Jet Schilling impresses on his debut at world-famous Sunset Beach.
Credit: © WSL / Chlala

“It’s the first time I’ve ever competed at Sunset and I knew it was going to be a super gnarly heat,” said Schilling. “I was hoping for a few more waves, but it still turned out great as I caught two good ones. I hang out with the Colapinto’s every day back home, so it was pretty surreal competing against both of them. I’m just so stoked to make it through!”

A San Clemente, California native, Schilling surfed well beyond his years today and earned the best wave of the heat, a 5.73 for a down-the-line backside snap followed by another strong turn. He is now onto Finals day and will surf against McGillivray, Jack Robinson (AUS) and Miguel Tudela (PER) in Round 4 Heat 3 once competition resumes.

 Surfline forecasts waves in the 8-12ft. range for Wednesday, October 30.
Credit: © WSL / Heff

Contest organizers are eyeing tomorrow, Wednesday, October 30, for a finals day which, if called ON, will begin at 8:00am HST. Up first in the water will be Round 3 Heat 15 featuring Josh Moniz (HAW), Alonso Correa (PER), Koa Smith (HAW) and Arashi Kato (JPN). An event winner will be determined along with the WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional Winner and nine coveted spots into the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing.

The Vans Pro will be broadcast LIVE on,, the free WSL app and on Spectrum Surf channels 20 and 1020HD across the state of Hawaii. The competition will run on the three biggest and best days of surf at Sunset Beach and crown an event winner along with the WSL Hawaii/Tahiti Nui Regional Winner. The Vans Pro is the official local qualifying event into the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, which takes place from November 13 – December 20, 2019, on the North Shore of Oahu.

The WSL encourages fans and visitors to enjoy the action from the comfort of home via WSL’s leading-edge global sports broadcast – which will include live surfing and scoring, colorful commentary, athlete insights and story-telling, community updates, swell forecasting, the awards presentation and more – to minimize impact to the Sunset Beach coastline.
About Vans
Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans® authentic collections are sold in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans® has over 2,000 retail locations globally including owned, concession and partnership doors. The Vans® brand promotes creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture and delivers progressive platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans.
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About the WSL 
The World Surf League (WSL), established in 1976, is the enablement platform for surfing and surfers worldwide. The WSL is dedicated to changing the world through the inspirational power of surfing by creating authentic events, experiences, and storytelling to inspire a growing, global community to live with purpose, originality, and stoke.

The WSL is a global organization, headquartered in Santa Monica and with regional offices in North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and EMEA. The WSL possesses a deep appreciation for the sport’s rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation, and performance at the highest levels.

The WSL is comprised of Tours & Events, celebrating the world’s best surfers across all disciplines and annually running more than 180 global contests and crowning the undisputed World Champions across all divisions; WSL WaveCo, where innovation meets experience; and WSL Studios, which offers best in class storytelling across competition, lifestyle, and conservation.

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