On Sunday, Sanoa Demfple-Olin (CAN) and Levi Slawson (USA) emerged victorious at the World Surf League (WSL) WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico, a Qualifying Series (QS) 1,000, in ideal, four-to-six foot conditions. Jennette’s Pier provided a pristine platform for Finals Day action with Slawson and Olin both making remarkable comeback wins and earning points toward 2024 Challenger Series qualification. The incredible day of competition wrapped up the East Coast leg in historic fashion with Zoe Benedetto (USA) and Kolohe Andino (USA) accruing runner-up finishes, as well as Sam Reidy (CRC), Cannon Carr (USA), Noah Klapp (DEU), and Lanea Mons (DEU) earning clutch Final appearances.
The men’s Final featured event standouts Kolohe Andino (USA), Levi Slawson (USA), Sam Reidy (CRC), and Cannon Carr (USA) battling it out for the 2023 event win. Andino started the heat right away, boosting a massive aerial assault to accrue a near-perfect 9.00. Costa Rica’s Reidy found a 7.33 to put himself into the heat alongside Slawson and Carr, but Andino responded with more aerial antics to earn a 7.43 and push himself into a commanding wave. But, the former CT star, Andino, wasn’t finished and found yet another Jennette’s Pier for another near-perfect 9.27.
Slawson utilized his priority brilliantly, finding a major turn before soaring a full, backhand rotation to earn a near-perfect 9.77. The Encinitas, Caifornia, competitor then needed an 8.50 to take the lead. And, in the dying minutes, Slawson acquired a higher priority over Andino and took to the air to earn an 8.57 and his first-career QS win.
“I can’t even put it into words, the last 15-minutes of this has just been mind-blowing to me,” said Slawson. “I’ve put so much work in for this first win and watch so many people win that I’m usually competing against. I’ve never had a win like this before so doing it against [Kolohe Andino], we had a Final a week ago and he got me there, but I just never gave up and had complete belief in myself.”
Slawson’s brilliant finals day run witnessed multiple near-perfect scores, including a 9.77 in the Semifinals to earn his place into the Final, and earning a win in both the Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Now, the 20-year-old prepares for the rest of the 2023/2024 season knowing there’s big events waiting.
The women’s Final showdown featured some of North America’s top-tier emerging threats including 2022 event finalists Zoe Benedetto (USA) andNoah Klapp (DEU) alongside 14-year-old Lanea Mons (USA) and proven Canadian talent Sanoa Dempfle-Olin. 2019 event winner Benedetto wasted no time putting up a score of meaning with a 7.00 as Klapp narrowly bested the Floridian with a 7.57. But, Benedetto answered back immediately with an excellent 8.17 to stake her claim atop her opponents.
Dempfle-Olin wasn’t done yet and added a 6.93 to her score line before heading into the dying moments where she accrued an excellent 8.27 to steal the victory from Benedetto as the final horn sounded, boasting her maiden QS victory.
“I’m so happy, it feels amazing,” said Dempfle-Olin. “I had a slow start to the heat and I really put my head down and fought back at the end which feels great to come from behind at the end of the heat. I’m so grateful for my friends and family, and proud of myself. We got super lucky with waves and definitely had to stay calm, but it was a long day and I’m happy to get a win.”
After taking down the Coastal Edge ECSC Pro, Kolohe Andino (USA) had his sights on an East Coast sweep and it nearly came to fruition. The former CT standout put on a showcase throughout the week in pumping conditions, earning a heat win all the way up until the Final with dynamic displays in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals. Now, the soon-to-be father of two will enjoy the time between events and prepare for what the year has in store.
“It’s the end of the year for me, I’ll probably not compete the rest of the year and it’s good just to know I still have it in me to make some heats,” said Andino. “I had a really strange year and honestly if it wasn’t for God I wouldn’t be here. I had a lot of fun and I know I can make some heats and I’m excited to get back on Tour next year. Sometimes you make no mistakes and have a good heat, and the other guy can still get it, but it was fun and stoked to make it into another Final.”
Former event victor and 2022 finalist, Zoe Benedetto (USA), also looked well on her way to sweeping the East Coast leg before last-minute antics from Dempfle-Olin overtook her. The Floridian showed what she’s capable in pumping swell, earning multiple excellent scores throughout the event and the result pushes her to No. 2 on the regional rankings. The 18-year-old has her eyes set on much bigger goals and now moves forward with confidence into the upcoming Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro in Oceanside, California.
“This two week span has been super positive and it’s definitely helped me just get back in the groove of contest surfing, congrats to Sanoa that’s super sick,” said Benedetto. “It’s always nice to be on the East Coast and get some good results. Couple of really close calls which always sucks but it just makes me want to work harder. It was pumping today and I’ve never surfed it this good in a heat. Super Girl is a challenge I haven’t really conquered yet so I’m looking forward to that opportunity.”
The next stop on the North America Qualifying Series (QS) will be the Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro powered by CELSIUS beginning September 22 – 24 at Oceanside, California.
Men’s WRV Outer Banks Pro Final Results:
1 – Levi Slawson (USA) 18.34 1,000 points
2 – Kolohe Andino (USA) 18.27 800 points
3 – Sam Reidy (CRC) 13.30 650 points
4 – Cannon Carr (USA) 2.30 600 points
Women’s WRV Outer Banks Pro Final Results:
1 – Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN) 15.20 1,000 points
2 – Zoe Benedetto (USA) 15.17 800 points
3 – Noah Klapp (DEU) 14.74 650 points
4 – Lanea Mons (USA) 12.37 600 points
Men’s WRV Outer Banks Pro Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Kolohe Andino (USA) 17.43 DEF. Sam Reidy (CRC) 16.00, Anthony Fillingim (CRC) 13.17, Luke Guinaldo (USA) 12.73
HEAT 2: Levi Slawson (USA) 15.77 DEF. Cannon Carr (USA) 15.73, Tyler Gunter (USA) 15.63, Jhony Corzo (MEX) 14.30
Women’s WRV Outer Banks Pro Semifinal Results:
HEAT 1: Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN) 16.00 DEF. Zoe Benedetto (USA) 13.46, Remy Todd (USA) 7.76, Mia Moore (USA) 6.70
HEAT 2: Noah Klapp (DEU) 15.77 DEF. Lanea Mons (USA) 14.70, Talia Swindal (USA) 10.07, Zoey Kaina (USA) 9.46
Men’s WRV Outer Banks Pro Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Sam Reidy (CRC) 14.75 DEF. Anthony Fillingim (CRC) 13.10, Ryan Huckabee (USA) 12.35, Wheeler Hasburgh (CAN) 11.90
HEAT 2: Kolohe Andino (USA) 17.20 DEF. Luke Guinaldo (USA) 15.60, Kai Barton (USA) 9.35, Rex Hennings (USA) 8.45
HEAT 3: Jhony Corzo (MEX) 15.00 DEF. Tyler Gunter (USA) 14.70, Michael Dunphy (USA) 11.60, Hayden Rodgers (USA) 6.00
HEAT 4: Levi Slawson (USA) 14.95 DEF. Cannon Carr (USA) 14.10, Dane Matson (USA) 13.65, Carl Burger (USA) 11.90
Women’s WRV Outer Banks Pro Quarterfinal Results:
HEAT 1: Zoe Benedetto (USA) 14.85 DEF. Remy Todd (USA) 11.75, Keanna Miller (USA) 11.10, Esme Brigham (USA) 6.85
HEAT 2: Sanoa Dempfle-Olin (CAN) 15.50 DEF. Mia Moore (USA) 10.90, Brynley Beckman (USA) 8.60, Daya McCart (USA) 7.10
HEAT 3: Noah Klapp (DEU) 17.65 DEF. Zoey Kaina (USA) 12.85, Sara Freyre (USA) 11.80, Kylie Pulcini (USA) 8.85
HEAT 4: Talia Swindal (USA) 15.40 DEF. Lanea Mons (USA) 13.35, Bailey Turner (USA) 9.30, Mya Kuzmovich (PUR) 7.80
Additional images courtesy of Lisa Brickhouse-Davis who was onsite Wednesday can be found in the gallery below: