Stab Magazine | QS: Where Would You Rather?

QS: Where Would You Rather?

Israel, Australia, Hawaii, or Florida? The choice is yours!

style // Jan 24, 2018
Words by Stab
Reading Time: 5 minutes

At this very moment, there are exactly four QS events happening around the world. More specifically, these comps are taking place in Israel, Australia, Hawaii, and Florida — four places with less in common than Mike Tyson and pronunciation of the letter ‘S’. Being the first four events of the QS season, you can imagine most QS grinders would be keen to get in a jersey and start the year with a bang.

But the big question is: which event should you go to?

In order to tackle this query, we must consider a few keys concepts: There are the point spreads (is it a 1,000, 1,500, or 3,000 event?), there’s the quality of the field (the better the surfers enrolled, the more difficult the competition), there’s geographic proximity (closely tied with price), there’s the overall funness of the locale (what’s there to do outside the jersey?), and of course, there’s wave quality.  

Let’s break down the QS’s opening-week comps and decide!

Seat Pro Netanya: Israel 

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 9.28.08 PM

Welcome to the holiest event on the QS schedule. Photo: WSL

As the highest rated event of the bunch, one might assume the Seat Pro is where you’d find the majority of CT hopefuls. But because of Israel’s geographic remoteness from most international surfing hubs, this is not necessarily the case. As a result, the event’s first round looked fairly easy, with tons of single-digit heat totals from guys named Meshulam, Shahaf, and Zahut, but as the contest raged on some greater talents came to fore. A few of the marquee names included Pupo, Huscenot, and Aranburu — all men who have coated their tongues in the CT’s nectar at one point in time. 

I don’t know much about Israel other than we (Americans) are their allies and they (Israelis) are fighting an ageless war against Palestine for a small parcel of “holy land”. To me war is very scary and religion is very stupid, so this is a bit of a drawback, but I doubt the fight stretches its grubby claws into the coastal enclaves of Netanya/Tel-Aviv, so maybe it’s a non-concern. Wave-wise, photos from the event make it look like a perfectly fun beachie in the chest-high range — good for airs, wraps, Q-snaps and so forth. And if you do happen to lose early, I hear the night life is legendary.

Israel overall ratings:
Points available: 3,000
Competitor talent level (lower is better): 7
Wave quality: 5
Geographic proximity to west coast USA (inversely proportional to price): 3
Overall fun-factor: 8


Carve Pro Maroubra: Australia

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 9.29.06 PM

Mitch Parko makes the case for Sydney. Photo: WSL

Nestled in Sydney’s nether region is the rough-and-tumble town of Maroubra, home to the Abberton bros and their crew of fight-happy chargers known as the ‘Bra Boys. While the ‘Bra Boys were made famous for their exploits at Cape Solander (or ‘Ours’), a shallow-water tube on the opposite side of Botany Bay, photos from the Carve Pro reveal a desperately fun-looking beachie right on Maroubra’s main playa. 

Due to its 1,000-point rating, this event failed to pull in many big names from the international QS field. It’s a mostly Aussie affair, with the most notable prospects coming in the form of young stunners Mitch Parko and Cooper Chapman, along with ex-CT stalwarts Blake Thornton and Nathan Hedge — the latter of which would be in my top 5 of Guys You Don’t Want In Your Heat. That Hedgy is goddamn animal.

With warm water, a solid swell on tap, and Australia’s cultural/financial/party center of Sydney within easy striking distance, the Carve Pro would be a stellar event choice in my opinion. It’s also the first comp of Australia’s early-season QS leg, which would be a great way for any low-ranked QSer to start their season.

Australia overall ratings:
Points available: 1,000
Competitor talent level (lower is better): 5
Wave quality: 6
Geographic proximity to west coast USA (inversely proportional to price): 5
Overall fun-factor: 8


Sunset Open: Hawaii, USA

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 9.30.23 PM

Did you forget about Kalani David? Bad move. Photo: WSL

While most of the mainstream surfing media and high-profile pros have left Oahu behind, North Shore locals are just settling into their true winter season. The Sunset Pro is a QS 1,000 and the first of two early-year events (also including the Volcom Pipe Pro) in Hawaii, which are typically dominated by a talented local crew. And while these aren’t guys you’re likely to find on the CT anytime soon, they know better than anyone how to surf a tricky spot like Sunset Beach. Some of the top names include Sunny Garcia, Makua Rothman, Josh and Seth Moniz, Kalani David and Ian Walsh. 

The event’s opening rounds saw smallish, tricky Sunset conditions, but a quick look at the forecast shows a fun-sized WNW swell with easterly trades filling in soon. Which is to say, it’s likely they’ll finish the event in exceptionally fun surf. And while you’re waiting to occupy the lycra, there are a myriad of world-class waves to explore within biking distance of the event. These include but are not limited to: Freddy Land, Rubber Duckies, and Monster Mush. Oh, and the food trucks are to die for. 

Hawaii overall ratings:
Points available: 1,000
Competitor talent level (lower is better): 6
Wave quality: 6
Geographic proximity to west coast USA (inversely proportional to price): 8
Overall fun-factor: 8


Florida Pro: Florida, USA

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 9.31.31 PM

Ryan Huckabee swabs this face with a Q-chip. Photo: WSL

So Sebastian Inlet fell of your bucket list in the late 90’s. I don’t blame you. Ever since the expansion of the pier and subsequent loss of Sebastian’s infamous ‘First Peak’, the Inlet has lost its natural appeal. But this place still holds a lot of surfing history, and the Florida Pro is a touching homage to the training grounds of surfers named Hobgood, Andersen, and Slater. As a 1,500 event, it’s also got a bit of QS clout behind it. 

Despite the windy shit-waves, the field for this comp is surprisingly fierce, with all of the east coast’s best and a few Californian big-wigs making their way down to the event. A few notable competitors include: Evan Geiselman, Michael Dunphy, and Cam Richards, along with ex-CTers Gabe Kling and Chris Ward. It must also be said that beyond the comp, unless you’re a big fan of fishing or fishing, there’s not much to do in this part of the the Sunshine State.  

Florida overall ratings:
Points available: 1,500
Competitor talent level (lower is better): 6
Wave quality: 2
Geographic proximity to west coast USA (inversely proportional to price): 8
Overall fun-factor: 3 

Taking everything into consideration, I’ve concluded the Australian event would be best suited to my specific wants as a theoretical QS competitor. But what about you, dear friends? Where would you choose to compete, and maybe thrive, but probably get trampled by the QS’s extensive talent pool?


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