Bella Kenworthy, Jett Schilling, and Reed Platenius Win Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro, Pro Junior in Cocoa Beach
By Space Coast Daily // March 12, 2023
Held at Shepard Park in Cocoa Beach
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – Bella Kenworthy (USA), Jett Schilling (USA), and Reed Platenius (CAN) claimed respective victories at the World Surf League (WSL) Ron Jon Quiksilver and ROXY Pro, a men’s and women’s Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, and Pro Junior.
Conditions delivered once more in two-to-four foot swell that provided a Finals Day spectacle as all three victors turned in some of the event’s best performances throughout their charge to the podium.
Former event victor Evan Geiselman (USA) clashed with 2022 runner-up Jett Schilling (USA) as Geiselman looked to hold the title on East Coast soil.
After a solid, 6.17 start, from Geiselman, Schilling’s forehand attack earned him a 7.33 and a slim lead before picking apart a Cocoa Beach gem, taking flight to earn a near-perfect 9.17 heading into the 15-minute mark. But, Schilling wasn’t to be denied a win two years in a row and upped the ante with a brilliant combination of forehand surfing to earn an excellent 8.33 and put Geiselman in a 17.50, combination situation as time expired.
“Last year I got second and I was bummed, but still stoked to make the Final, and then got second in the Pro Junior this year so there was no way I was getting second in the again,” said Schilling.
“I just went all out and Evan [Geiselman] is definitely a guru out here and knows this lineup so i just had to go all out. It feels good, confidence is definitely up now and I’m just stoked and ready.”
Schilling’s Final Day form started in the Semifinals, earning a near-perfect 9.00 against fellow San Clemente, California, competitor Crosby Colapinto (USA) before another near-perfect Final performance. Now, Schilling, sitting at No. 2 on the rankings, and the men’s QS head for Dominican Republic for one of the last two events of 2022/23’.
A showcase of North America’s rising talents clashed in the women’s QS Final with Bella Kenworthy (USA) facing off with recent SLO CAL Open at Morro Bay runner-up Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN). Kenworthy kicked off her fourth QS Final appearance of 2022/23’ with an early, 10.56 (out of a possible 20) heat total, lead, but Dempfle-Olin answered back in a solid exchange as she took the lead for only a moment before Kenworthy’s 6.83 (out of a possible 10) dropped to regain it right back.
“It feels good to finally get a win after four Finals and I’m super happy,” said Kenworthy. “I was just trying to focus and not meltdown in the Final and I’m excited to prepare for Barbados now. It felt really good to be dropping high scores through this event and I’m ready for the next one.”
Kenworthy’s impressive Finals Day run began with a dismantling, 15.00 heat total performance over Costa Rica’s in-form Rubiana Brownell (CRC). With her victory, Kenworthy extends her No. 2 rank heading into the final event of 2022/23′, the Barbados Surf Pro QS 5,000 presented by Diamonds International.
A heavily-contested women’s Pro Junior Final witnessed an in-form Kenworthy face off against maiden, WSL Pro Junior Final appearances from Candelaria Resano (NIC), Kylie Pulcini (USA), and Talia Swindal (USA). Kenworthy continued her incredible form, opening the heat with an excellent 8.33 and carried the lead heading into the halfway mark with a 12.66 heat total as Pulcini held firm in second-place. Swindal’s forehand attack edged her into the runner-up position heading into the dying minutes as Pulcini and Resano’s final efforts weren’t enough, and Kenworthy earned her first-ever WSL chair-up the beach in victory.
Swindal now moves to No. 1 in the rankings with Kenworthy right behind her, and Resano moving to No. 3 ahead of their last opportunity to claim a World Junior Championships spot.
A nearly all-San Clemente men’s Pro Junior Final featured Schilling, Taj Lindblad, and Luke Wyler up against Canada’s Reed Platenius in a showdown of next generation Challenger Series hopefuls. Schilling’s combination of aerial assault and power surfing earned him a 6.67 to start the heat before Platenius took control heading into the back half of the affair and added a brilliant, 7.67 on his aggressive forehand to extend his lead.
The ocean didn’t cooperate with Schilling, Lindblad, or Wyler to respond as Platenius sealed his maiden WSL victory in great fashion, now moving to No. 1, as he heads into the Live Like Zander Junior Pro In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia looking to seal his place into the World Junior Championships.
“This means everything, I didn’t make a single heat in last year’s Pro Junior events so to get a second and now a first is incredible,” said Platenius. “I’ve watched Jett [Schilling] and Taj [Lindblad] win these things, and Luke [Wyler] is a really good friend so to share a Final with them was really special. I’m so thankful and it doesn’t even feel real yet, but I’ll head to Barbados looking to have fun and try to back this up.”
The North America Qualifying Series now prepares for the Cabarete Pro presented by Surf and Windy City Cabarete, a men’s QS 3,000, beginning March 15 – 19.
The North America Pro Junior season will conclude at the Live Like Zander Junior Pro presented by Diamonds International In Loving Memory of Zander Venezia, beginning March 27 – April 2.