Alyssa Spencer, Michael Dunphy victorious at WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico

Michael Dunphy (L) and Alyssa Spencer (R) both added second WRV Outer Banks Pro pres. by Pacifico wins to their names. [WSL/Elizabeth Fowler]

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Alyssa Spencer and Michael Dunphy emerged with stunning victories at the WRV Outer Banks Pro presented by Pacifico QS 1000. Both overpowered their respective fields, posting some of the event’s highest numbers throughout the week and on Finals Day to take home their second-career WRV Outer Banks Pro wins in tough conditions. Four-competitor heats ran through until the Finals due to conditions and contest time, but it laid down the groundwork for fireworks to ensure in testy surf.

A remarkable East Coast performance from Spencer earned her back-to-back wins from Virginia Beach to Nags Head, both in flawless form. The 19-year-old had to take on a familiar rival, Sawyer Lindblad, in a rematch from Virginia Beach alongside 2019 event winner Zoe Benedetto, and in-form Noah Klapp. Spencer’s backhand attack was undeniable once again, earning a convincing 12.83 (out of a possible 20) to overpower her opponents with her opponents just lacking a valuable second opportunity to try and match Spencer’s form.

“My goal was to win both of the events coming here and I’m so happy to have done it,” said Spencer. “My goal is to qualify and hopefully I can take this confidence into the Challenger Series and get a win in the second half of the year.”

The Californian backed up her 2021 victory and garnered a flawless run through the East Coast leg. [WSL/Elizabeth Fowler]
This win keeps Spencer at No. 2 on the North America rankings and now sits just 140 points behind the consistency of Lindblad and claims an outstanding, ninth WSL win on the East Coast. Now, Spencer prepares for the Nissan Super Girl Pro QS 3000 in Oceanside before returning to the Challenger Series in hopes of moving into the Top 5, where she currently sits at No. 11.

Eight years in the making, after earning runner-up in 2021, Dunphy earned his second QS win on the shores of Nags Head. [WSL/Elizabeth Fowler]
An illustrious QS career for Dunphy just added another high note with his second WRV Outer Banks Pro victory, last winning in 2014, after a runner-up finish in 2021 to fellow finalist Taro Watanabe. The 32-year-old had to deal with defending event winner Watanabe, event standout Josh Burke, and fellow Virginia Beach competitor Blayr Barton in an absolute battle. Multiple lead changes early in the affair eventually return Dunphy to the top after he posted his brilliant 7.83 (out of a possible 10) on multiple backhand attacks.

Despite valiant efforts from his opponents that left them short of taking the lead, Dunphy returned to the sand victorious for the second time in 2022.

Michael Dunphy (USA)
Dunphy’s dynamic backhand led the way to a big win near home. – [WSL/Andrew Nichols]
“These events close to home are close to my heart,” said Dunphy. “You get the local support and the waves weren’t the best this year so I had to wash off the (frustration) of the waves not being good, and just remember that a win’s a win. Anytime you can get a win whether it’s pumping or small, it just feels so good to get one.”

Dunphy’s road to the Final was no easy task, having to overcome a stout Semifinal affair featuring Burke, fellow East Coast talents Cam Richards and Bo Raynor before his momentum-carrying victory. Now, Dunphy prepares for the Challenger Series set in Portugal beginning October 1 – 9.

Sawyer Lindblad (USA)
Lindblad’s signature backhand attack led her to back-to-back Finals on the East Coast. [WSL/Andrew Nichols]
A bittersweet runner-up for Lindblad keeps her atop the North America rankings after stunning performances on Finals Day, including a day’s best 14.84 heat total in the Semifinals over Klapp, Florida’s upstart Lanea Mons, and California’s newcomer Talia Swindal. But, the 17-year-old was all smiles coming out of the water as she looks to continue her tear through North America at the upcoming Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro beginning September 16 – 18.

“I’m stoked to start this year off with all Finals even though a win here would’ve been awesome after getting second in Virginia Beach,” said Lindblad. “I’m excited for the next event closer to home and the rest of the year. I want to keep this consistency and work that much harder for another win.”

Blayr Barton (USA)
Virginia Beach’s own Barton was relentless throughout the week and into Finals Day with impeccable timing and power. [WSL/Elizabeth Fowler]
This marks Barton’s career-best result after having to fight his way to the Final starting in a stout Quarterfinal featuring event threats Alan Cleland, former North America No. 1 Tyler Gunter, and Dylan Hord. But, his performance in the Semifinals was the more notable, taking down Cleland and in-form Dimitri Poulos while advancing behind Watanabe. This is just the start for the 17-year-old and his ambitions are set at a high standard.

“I really didn’t think I was going to make it this far,” said Barton. “To surf out there with Dunphy is special. We’re both from Virginia Beach and it means a lot to be in that Final with him. I’m starting to get everything dialed in and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the year. The events in Dominican Republic and Barbados are two I have my eyes on so hopefully I can get it done there as well.”

The North America Qualifying Series season returns to action at the Nissan Super Girl Surf Pro QS 3000 beginning September 16 – 18 at Oceanside, California.