The FireWire E-Pro USA presented by Futures started with a bang and Round 1 clips set up twelve surfers with a direct passage to Round 3. But, the six surfers left behind had to vie for the top two positions once more in a redemption Round 2 elimination heat to determine who joined Round 1 victors and runner-up finishers.
East Coast representatives thrived under the pressure. New Jersey’s Rob Kelly submitted a Houdini act worthy clip after disappearing behind a local beach break curtain and reemerging as the wave spit behind him. Kelly’s barrel and a Newport Beach, California, 56th St. Jetty submission from Tyler Gunter earned the top votes from judges and fans over Brent Reily’s backhand attack at Warm Waters.
An up close and personal vicious one-turn wave from Caleb Crozier wasn’t enough in Round 2 to overcome the likes of Ben Benson’s variety at Lower Trestles and Michael Dunphy’s stunner from an undisclosed location. Dunphy came in as a last-minute entry and is looking to play spoiler as one of the event’s top competitors with multiple World Surf League Qualifying Series wins to his name.
Round 3 voting will begin Monday, March 15, at 12 p.m. PST for the FireWire E-Pro USA presented by Futures and tune in for the Live Talk Powered by Futures with Round 1 winner and San Clemente, California’s, own Cole Houshmand at 1:30pm PST.