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Surfing: Glatzer and Pinkerton take spoils at Pismo Beach Open

Kirra Pinkerton celebrates
Kirra Pinkerton celebrates
Kirra Pinkerton celebrates her World Surf League victory in California. Picture: WSL

German star Leo Glatzer and American Kirra Pinkerton have been crowned the Pismo Beach Open Qualifying Series champions after the World Surf League event wrapped up in California.

A great run of swell delivered one last day to finish competition with three-to-five foot waves for competitors to showcase their innovative and powerful surfing. Glatzer’s remarkable run capped off his first-career QS victory by topping event standout and North America No. 2 Kevin Schulz (USA) after Pinkerton took down fellow Pro Junior talent Samantha Sibley (USA) in dramatic fashion.

Costa Rica, native Glatzer was hoisted up the sands of Pismo Beach as a QS victor for the first time in his young career after taking down Schulz – one of the top event threats and newest competitive threat on the QS level. The 21-year-old’s remarkable, last-minute aerial antics earned him an excellent 8.70 (out of a possible 10) to steal the win from Schulz with a 16.03 (out of a possible 20) heat total.


“It’s an amazing feeling to take out an event with this level of competition and I had a great support group this whole time,” Glatzer said. “The waves were so good the whole contest and it’s one of the best QS events I’ve ever surfed. It’s funny because the boys were saying this place doesn’t really get that good, but then seeing it I just thought it was amazing out here and it felt like home. I’ve been doing QS events for three years already and finally got a win. They say you have to get on the grind and at some point it’ll hit but recently it just keeps hitting.”

Glatzer’s road to the Final was no easy task taking down an in-form Schulz after overcoming QS veteran Michael Dunphy (USA) in a hard-fought Quarter final before taking down the explosive, Encinitas, California, talent Taylor Clark (USA). The German representative, by parent’s heritage, posted a Perfect 10 last week in Costa Rica and that confidence helped push him here at Pismo Beach with everyone at home watching. Now, with a win under his belt, Glatzer is hoping for more in the future.

“My brother sent me a message with everyone at home watching online with about twenty of them in the living room which felt so nice,” Glatzer said. “I knew Kevin’s (Schulz) airs were insane today and I thought that if I get one of these sections I’ll have to do something much bigger that that. I landed in the flats and felt my back just bend so I’m sure after all the excitement calms down I’ll feel that later for sure (laughs). But, I’ll really enjoy this win and soak it in as much as I can since it doesn’t happen often in this sport before getting ready for the next one.”

Youngster Pinkerton showcases talents

The Women’s Pismo Beach Open Final offered another glimpse into what’s to come from some of North America’s top, upcoming talents once more. Sixteen-year-old Pinkerton is on an all-time run in 2018 with her first Regional Pro Junior Title already under her belt and now has a maiden QS victory to boast. The San Clemente, California, native continues to look dominant over her fellow North America standouts such as Semifinalist Alyssa Spencer (USA) and eventual runner-up Sibley. Pinkerton needed a 6.67 as the clock neared its 30-minute heat end and her decimating backhand delivered one last time to earn a 7.00 and her third WSL chair-up the beach this season after notching two Pro Junior wins.

“It means the world to me to win this event,” Pinkerton said.

“It gives me more confidence going into the rest of the QS events and I can tell myself that I’ve won one of these before and I can do this again.

“The waves were really fun, but it was a little sketchy just waiting for a long time for waves. Then Sam got a good one before we started getting some solid waves coming through for the rest of that heat which helped.

“We’re going to keep battling it out until the end and I know that we’re going to have more of those events together. Sam wants it just as much as I do so I can say it felt pretty good to get the win back over her, and I know she’s going to want take the win back in the next event.”

Pinkerton took down event dark horse Mathea Demplfe-Olin (CAN) in dominant fashion before moving into a tight Final bout. Now, Pinkerton prepares for the Live Like Zander Junior Pro to defend her win from last season that sent her on an amazing run in 2018.

For Schulz, a runner-up result was just what he needed to push the North America Regional Title to the last event. Lucca Mesinas’ (PER) elimination on Saturday opened the door for Schulz to chase him down and an incredible finals day performance fell just short of his second win of the season, but 750 points put him at 3,150 on the year.

The 22-year-old blasted the day’s highest single-wave score of a 9.53 in his Semifinal heat over Jake Marshall (USA) after already earning near-perfection against fellow San Clemente surfer and former Championship Tour (CT) surfer Nathan Yeomans (USA).

“That was legit air show all day and I feel good even though I didn’t get the win, but it feels good to get second in any event no matter what,” Schulz said.

“The heat with Nate (Yeomans) was grear He’s been my idol since I was a grom and we’re good friends now so I knew that was going to be a tough heat. Then it was Jake (Marshall) and he opened with a 9 so I knew I had to do something big, but a huge section came and I just threw the hail-mary.

“Coming into the Final I knew it’d be an air show because I know Leon (Glatzer) can throw some punts and falling on my first wave was probably the difference.

“It sounds like I’ve kept the dream alive for the North America title heading to Barbados so I’m super excited about that.

“I haven’t looked at what I need to do there just yet, but I’ll hopefully just do what I did here.”

Following her RVCA Pro Junior win at Newport Beach, California, over Pinkerton, Sibley now has back-to-back WSL Final appearances and continues to show her potential unfolding. The 15-year-old took down 2017 North America Pro Junior Champ Spencer with an excellent 8.17 after a slow start and didn’t let that lead diminish. But, the San Clemente competitor is just getting started and left with her head high, ready for the next event.

“I was just hoping to get an opportunity to get a long left and tee off a few turns and unfortunately I never got a good backup,” Sibley said.

“I’m really excited for Kirra (Pinkerton) and just stoked to have another Final with her. Now I’m just ready for the next QS and hopefully take a win. That first heat against Alyssa (Spencer) I got that really good wave that gave me an opportunity for the 8-pointer and after that wave I felt really confident going into the Final. I went into that Final with no nerves and just wanting to have fun so I still had a great time, and I’m really stoked with how I did at this contest overall.”

The next men’s North America QS event will be the Thomo QS 1,000 in Memory of Bill Thomson at Soup Bowl, Bathsheba, Barbados from November 6 – 10.

The women’s North America QS season concludes with this event and Caroline Marks (USA) is the 2018 QS Regional Champion once more, now going back-to-back with an incredible season.

Men’s Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 Final Results:
1 – Leon Glatzer (DEU) 16.03 1,000 points
2 – Kevin Schulz (USA) 14.87 750 points

Women’s Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 Final Results:
1 – Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 11.50 1,000 points
2 – Samantha Sibley (USA) 11.17 750 points

Men’s Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Kevin Schulz (USA) 17.96 def. Jake Marshall (USA) 16.87
SF 2: Leon Glatzer (DEU) 12.77 def. Taylor Clark (USA) 12.24

Women’s Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Samantha Sibley (USA) 13.04 def. Alyssa Spencer (USA) 12.26
SF 2: Kirra Pinkerton (USA) 15.66 def. Mathea Dempfle-Olin (CAN) 9.64

Men’s Pismo Beach Open QS 1,000 Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Jake Marshall (USA) 14.90 def. Kade Matson (USA) 13.64
QF 2: Kevin Schulz (USA) 16.67 def. Nate Yeomans (USA) 13.33
QF 3: Taylor Clark (USA) 11.83 def. Matt Passaquindici (USA) 11.50
QF 4: Leon Glatzer (DEU) 15.07 def. Michael Dunphy (USA) 13.74

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