Kade Matson, Matheus Navarro and Caitlin Simmers Victorious In Cocoa Beach

By  //  March 17, 2019

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seventh annual event

Matheus Navarro (BRA), Caitlin Simmers (Oceanside, Calif.), and Kade Matson (San Clemente, Calif.) were crowned the World Surf League (WSL) men’s Qualifying Series (QS) Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500, Junior Pro and Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro victors, respectively. (WSL Image)

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Matheus Navarro (BRA), Caitlin Simmers (Oceanside, Calif.), and Kade Matson (San Clemente, Calif.) were crowned the World Surf League (WSL) men’s Qualifying Series (QS) Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500, Junior Pro and Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro victors, respectively.

The three event winners showcased their ability to adapt when one-to-two foot surf pushed into Alan Shepard Park and separated themselves from the contingent on hand.

This marks the seventh annual event featuring Pro Juniors since the Beach N’ Boards Fest inception, as well as its fourth annual QS event.

The men’s QS 1,500 victory belongs to Brazil’s Navarro after over seven years of competition on the QS level and finally claiming his maiden win.

Key Takeaways

– Navarro Claims First-Ever QS Victory Over Stevie Pittman
– Simmers Starts Pro Junior Season Off In Dominant Form For First WSL Win
– Matson Steals The Show To Claim Maiden WSL Victory

The 23-year-old had to take on an in-form Stevie Pittman (Kitty Hawk, N.C.) and came out of the gates firing with an excellent, meaning an 8.00 (out of a possible 10) or higher, 8.77 to start strong.

Pittman kept pace with the Brazilian after a mid-heat exchange between the two favored Pittman, who earned an 8.00 of his own, before opportunities became scarce and eventually crowned Navarro the winner.

“This is maybe the best day of my life, all thanks to God first,” Navarro said.

“I’m back on the QS this year after staying in Brazil for two years since I lost my sponsor (and couldn’t travel to compete). Now that I have two more helping support me, I’m back to my real life. I don’t have words for this moment.”

The men’s QS 1,500 victory belongs to Brazil’s Navarro after over seven years of competition on the QS level and finally claiming his maiden win. (WSL Image)

Navarro started finals day strong, defeating Roi Kanazawa (JPN) in the Quarterfinals convincingly before a scrapping heat with Crosby Colapinto (San Clemente, Calif.) — who finished both the Pro Junior and QS with a Semifinal result. Now, the Brazilian looks to the horizon to continue his incredible form.

“I’m so happy with my performance in these waves, they are just like back home and this is every day in Brazil so I felt ready,” Navarro added. “Now I go into Huntington with a lot of confidence after getting some good scores today, it’s an incredible feeling. Hopefully I can get a result there as well and see what happens this year.”

Pittman posted multiple excellent scores, including an 8.00 in the Semifinals. (WSL Image)

This marks Pittman’s third Final after earning appearances at last year’s Thomo QS 1,000 and 2017’s WRV Outer Banks Pro, but still awaits his breakthrough win.

The 18-year-old put on a solid display of surfing throughout this event, particularly on finals day after taking down event standout Jett Schilling (San Clemente, Calif.) — who earned his spot into both QS and Junior finals days — in the Quarterfinals and Robbie McCormick (Flagler Beach, Fla.) in a Semifinal battle.

Pittman posted multiple excellent scores, including an 8.00 in the Semifinals, and now takes that momentum into the Jack’s Surfboards Pro.

“This is my third runner-up in three years so I’m a little bummed, but I had a good event and surfed well which feels good,” Pittman said. “I’ll just have to hope for better luck next time. I just want to surf. It’s always been what I wanted to do and I’m excited to put my best foot forward. Now I’ll look to hopefully win an event, it’s definitely on my list of goals.”

Caitlyn Simmers starts the North America Pro Junior season off in phenomenal form with her first WSL win in only two events she’s contested. (WSL Image)

Simmers starts the North America Pro Junior season off in phenomenal form with her first WSL win in only two events she’s contested. The 13-year-old powered through the Quarterfinals, attacking the tough conditions on offer to post some of the day’s highest scores en route to the Final — including her 15.90 (out of a possible 20) heat total in Quarterfinal Heat 3.

Palm City, Florida’s, own Zoe Benedetto looked to give Simmers a run with a 6.20 of her own, but couldn’t find the back up needed as Bree Smith (Merritt Island, Fla.) and Ella McCaffray (Cardiff, Calif.) both needed near-excellent scores to catch Simmers.

The Oceanside, California, native now looks for possibly chasing a full year of events after getting her first experience last season in heavy, six-to-eight foot conditions at the Los Cabos Open of Surf. After proving herself there, Simmers now shows her ability in small waves to match.

“I’m really happy to win this event and I’m just looking to have fun while doing more contests this year,” Simmers said. “All the top girls were in Australia so I feel like we got a window to get a chance to show what we can do. It’s pretty cool to capitalize on that opportunity. Hopefully I can get into all the events this year and try to do them.”

The men’s Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro featured all of this year’s top-seeded competitors and Matson stole the show in a hefty Final affair to earn his maiden Pro Junior victory. The 16-year-old took on fellow San Clemente native Schilling, Pascuales, Mexico’s, Alan Cleland and Vero Beach, Florida’s own Tommy Coleman.

Kade Matson’s long-awaited and well-deserved hoist up the beach. (WSL Image)

But, Matson nearly left them all in a combination situation right away after earning an 8.00 and 6.07 within the first minutes as he showcased his powerful forehand attack in the small conditions. While Schilling held the men’s junior highest single-wave, a 9.00, and heat total of a 17.90 in the Semifinals, it was Matson who demonstrated that strategy was key which culminated in his first WSL win.

“It feels so good after getting a few bittersweet runner-ups and getting this win is extra special,” Matson said. “This is everything now. Starting off the year big to get it going and now hopefully I can just carry the momentum. It’s good for my confidence knowing this isn’t my strong suit and I’m stoked to get it here because I’m not known for surfing well in small waves. The last few heats I wanted to get the heat going right away since it was tough out here and anything can happen.”

Cleland and Benedetto’s runner-up in the respecitve men and women’s Pro Junior also start them in a WSL Junior Championship position that they will look to hold onto after a brilliant run through the event this weekend.

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Notable finishes also include Schilling and Coleman finishing third and fourth, respectively, in the men’s junior event to give them a shot toward WJC qualifying — only taking the Top 3 this season.

Also, Smith and McCaffray finished third and fourth in the women’s junior and keeps them in contention early on toward finishing in the coveted Top 2 placings.

The next men’s QS event will be the Jack’s Surfboards Pro QS 1,500 in Huntington Beach, California, beginning March 22 – 24.

The next North America men and women’s Pro Junior event will be the Vans US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach, California, beginning July  28 – August 7.

Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500 Final Results:
1 – Matheus Navarro (BRA) 15.64    1,000 points
2 – Stevie Pittman (USA) 13.90         750 points

Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Matheus Navarro (BRA) 10.25 def. Crosby Colapinto (USA) 9.30
SF 2: Stevie Pittman (USA) 14.75 def. Robbie McCormick (USA) 11.50

Ron Jon Quiksilver Pro QS 1,500 Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Crosby Colapinto (USA) 13.65 def. Jake Kelley (USA) 4.75
QF 2: Matheus Navarro (BRA) 14.40 def. Roi Kanazawa (JPN) 10.35
QF 3: Robbie McCormick (USA) 12.40 def. Noah Schweizer (USA) 12.30
QF 4: Stevie Pittman (USA) 11.10 def. Jett Schilling (USA) 9.20

Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro Final Results:
1 – Kade Matson (USA) 14.07          1,000 points
– Alan Cleland (MEX) 11.70           750 points
3 – Jett Schilling (USA) 11.54            560 points
4 – Tommy Coleman (USA) 9.66      525 points

Ron Jon Quiksilver Junior Pro QS 1,500 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Jett Schilling (USA) 17.50, Alan Cleland (MEX) 12.15, Crosby Colapinto (USA) 10.45, Blayr Barton (USA) 10.00
SF 2: Kade Matson (USA) 12.00, Tommy Coleman (USA) 10.40, Taro Watanabe (USA) 9.10, William Hedleston (USA) 8.70

Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro Final Results:
1 – Caitlin Summers (USA) 12.50    1,000 points
– Zoe Benedetto (USA) 11.23       750 points
3 – Bree Smith (USA) 9.73                560 points
4 – Ella McCaffray (USA) 8.03          525 points

Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro QS 1,500 Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 11.75, Bree Smith (USA) 8.50, Tiare Thompson (USA) 8.30, Makena Burke (USA) 7.75
SF 2: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 14.00, Ella McCaffray (USA) 11.00, Ava McGowan (USA) 8.65, Paulina Summers (CRI) 5.45

Ron Jon Roxy Junior Pro QS 1,500 Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Tiare Thompson (USA) 10.90, Makena Burke (USA) 9.85, Morgan Iglay (USA) 4.95, Coral Schuster (USA) 4.40
QF 2: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 14.10, Bree Smith (USA) 12.70, Audrey Presti (DEU) 5.95, Taylor Green (USA) 2.30
QF 3: Caitlin Simmers (USA) 15.90, Paulina Summers (CRI) 9.85, Sawyer Lindblad (USA) 9.00, Megan Smith (USA) 3.30
QF 4: Ava McGowan (USA) 10.60, Ella McCaffray (USA) 9.25, Rachel Wilson (USA) 7.05, Charlotte Lange (USA) 5.50

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